How to choose prints to add to your wardrobe

I am a total sucker for print! Why? It adds personality to my wardrobe and can trick the eye making parts of my body appear larger or smaller! Many women I’ve spoken to like the idea of print, but don’t know how to choose ones that are right for them. Or, where they have managed to pluck up the courage to buy printed items, they never wear them.

Prints can be tricky, but there are standard prints that never date like animal print (oooh leopard is my favourite), polka dots (also another favourite) and stripes. If you’re not sure but want to try prints, these prints are fool-proof and a great place to start!

For those of you who want to experiment with other prints, my guide to prints is right here!


There are four things to consider when shopping for prints:

  • Print size
  • Colour
  • Personality
  • Personal style


A good test for scale is to know your pantyhose size. Sounds odd, but it works! This will help you evaluate whether a print is too big or too small for you.

If a print is too big for your scale, it will overwhelm your frame and make you look out of proportion. If the print is too small for your scale, it will make you appear larger than you are.

According to panty hose size, these are the print sizes you should be wearing:

  • Small, you look best in petite prints
  • Medium, you look best in a medium print size. However, you are able to move into the bolder end of the small scale.
  • Large, you look best in a medium to large print size.
  • > Large, you look best in a medium to large print size. Extra large prints will make you look larger.

These maxi dresses have different print scales. The the, black and white maxi has a medium scale, the second maxi has a delicate scale print, the maxi with the colour fading has small to medium scale print and the yellow maxi with the large white flowers has a large scale.



Make sure that the colours in the pattern only include colours that compliment you. Wearing the right colours highlight your facial features and give you a natural glow. Remember that colours that match your hair colour will be complimentary too, even if they aren’t in your recommended colours.

Women with strong contrast colouring (very dark hair and pale skin or vice versa) can pull off slightly larger prints than the panty hose test suggests. On the other hand, women with a lower contrast (dark hair and dark skin or light hair and light skin) may have to go with prints that are slightly more delicate than the pantyhose test suggests.

Here some examples of print and colour done right!


Also make sure that the colours in the pattern match with what you already have in your wardrobe.  This will allow more versatility and give you more outfit options.


Apart from the like scale and colour rules, your personality also plays a role.

If you’re out going and love being in the spotlight, your personality will allow you to make prints work that are louder than your recommended scale and colour.

If the opposite is true and you’re more reserved and love being behind-the-scenes, you may prefer to wear a more subtle print than your recommended scale and colour.


Although the scale and colour rules are guidelines, it really comes down to your personal style and what you feel comfortable in.

If your colour and scale suggests that you should wear large prints in bold colours but you have a classic style. By all means stick to prints that are made up of your neutral colours and are slightly smaller in scale.

If your colour and scale suggests that you should wear small prints in pale colours but you have a trendy and bold style, go for bolder prints that are made up of multiple colours and are slightly larger in scale.

Before picking a print, use these guidelines, try it on and see how you feel in it. It’s the only way you can know for sure.

Remember a bold print does not have to be a large print in loud colours. It could be animal print like Cameron Diaz and Halle Berry are wearing. Also, a subtle print doesn’t have to be dull, it can be colourful like the floral trouser Jessica Karen Szohr is wearing or Miranda Kerr’s dress with the small floral motifs.


The ultimate test when buying prints:

  • It must look good on you of course
  • You must love it and want to wear it
  • You must be able to pair it with items you already own and get four new looks

Happy print shopping!

If the prints are still not working for you, try adding colour to your wardrobe or even just trying a new lipstick shade!

I hope you found this post helpful! Please leave your comment below 🙂

Until next time, stay stylish!



P.S. Did you find this post helpful? Join the Buttonmefancy family and receive these style tips straight to your inbox!

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