Three things to consider when choosing prints and patterns

When I ask my clients what their dressing or styling challenges are, this one comes up often.

Wearing, choosing and styling prints and patterns can be a challenge for many. Like most things, it’s all about learning how to make it work for you.

There’s often a reason (or many) that you put something on and take it off again – something about it isn’t working and doesn’t suit you.

The trick is to be able to identify what those reasons are! When you do, you’ll be able to make the decision about either leaving it and not wear it, or know how to wear it so that it does then work for you and suit you.

Here’s three things to consider when choosing prints and patterns:


There’s a reason that colour analysis consultations are my most popular service!

Being able to identify that the shade of colour isn’t right is easier to do when you know what your best shades of colour are and how best to wear them.

When it comes to pattern and print, the main or dominant colour in the pattern is what to focus on. This will have the most effect as to whether it compliments you or not.

For example, in this first dress, the main colour is green and in the second dress, the bulk is purple. Both colour tones compliment me well and suit my features. They harmonise with my characteristics and don’t cast any shadows or overwhelm me.

If they were in a shade of colour which didn’t suit me, then they would cast shadows against my features, stand out and overwhelm me and make me look tired, older or unwell. (and nobody wants that right?)

green flowered dress  striped dress









The second aspect to consider is your individual style. Even if you can’t identify or articulate it, you’ve still got style! It has nothing to do with fashion. Or age, or size come to that.

If something feels too ‘fussy’, it flaps about, feels uncomfortable or doesn’t feel ‘you’ then it doesn’t sound like it’s suited to your personality type. However you try, it just won’t work (and that’s ok). Picking, prodding and pulling at things which aren’t working for you won’t make you feel good so consider what items you feel your most comfortable and happiest in.

Identifying your personality is the key to wearing pattern in my view. In the case of the flowered dress mentioned above – it was actually an unusual choice for me. I often find floral patterns are all a bit too much, fussy and ditsy for me. Due to the style of the pattern, the colours and the size of the print, this particular dress (from Rae at Next) has worked so much better for me and my style. In terms of pounds per wear, I’m less than £3 already!


Most people who come to see me have an idea of their basic body shape. What they struggle with is knowing how to dress their specific body.

Being able to identify specific cuts, designs, fabrics and styles which flatter your shape and proportions is the key to being able to dress with confidence. Knowing that what you’re choosing and wearing not only fits, but it flatters you.

It has nothing to do with size!

Your underlying shape and body lines will also determine whether a specific pattern or print will flatter you or draw attention to bits you’d rather people not focus on!

Consider the size of a pattern. Is it too big for you? Too small? Does it appear to ‘warp’ when you wear it, or does it look like it was made for you?


In my experience, these are the three things to consider when it comes to choosing and wearing patterns with success and confidence.

All these areas are discussed during a consultation so that you’ll learn and understand how to dress to suit you so you can look and feel good in what you wear.

You’ll find more information below:

Colour analysis

style & image consultation 

transformation package (colour, style and makeup lesson)

7-step online programme

Appointments are available virtually and in the studio in Wakefield.


The three prints that don’t date

Do you struggle to wear prints and patterns or do you just LOVE them?
I often find that one of the challenges with prints is choosing something which you like (and likes you equally) and then, how to wear it. It’s something which I’m asked frequently.
There are lots of patterns and prints and it’s ok to say that you don’t like it, even if it is ‘fashionable’ or ‘on trend’. Don’t worry about it, choose what you’re comfortable with as when you do, you’re more likely to wear it.
Here, I’m going to name three prints that won’t date so that if you are going to venture into the world of prints and patterns, you can feel confident that what you invest in, can be worn time and time again. That’s £s per wear.

The stripe

The most popular I’d say of all patterns and something which many clients bring into the studio. The Breton stripe, is possibly the most well known but officially speaking, to be a true Breton, it should have 21 stripes, each representing a Napoleon victory because sailors were wearing stripes way back in 1858 (apparently the distinctive print made it easier to spot wayward sailors who had fallen over-board – who knew?)
Bar far the most popular retailer of the Breton top is Boden as featured in this image.
Boden top
Stripes can be used as a method of balancing out your figure. Triangles (pear shapes) can use stripes across their top half in order to visibly balance out so their shoulders look more in line with their hips. You can see this in the pic above how the shoulder area appears wider and at the same time, lifts the eye away from the hips.
Vertical stripes are excellent for lengthening the torso, so if you’re after a few extra inches without the heels, try this which is an easier fix.

Polka dots and spots

Oasis polka dot dress
Another pattern which always seems to be ‘on trend’. It doesn’t have to be black and white or navy and white remember! Use colour where you can as seen in Oasis.
If you have a larger frame, be sure to choose larger prints such as super sized polka dots. And for petites, tiny little spots will work well.
They are surprisingly easy to mix with other prints. Go for a preppy look by adding stripes or try a floral print of similar scale and colour for an interesting combination.

Animal Print

Not only for Bet Lynch! Animal print remains around but does seem to get reinvented each season to switch it up. If it’s a little bold or too out there for you, try to keep the pattern to just one item. It could be a pair of shoes, a top, scarf, coat or bag. Check out my brogues here. Bought a few years ago now from Clarks and still worn today.
Animal print brogues
Last year we saw more coloured animal print patterns emerge making it more versatile. Warmer skin tones will suit the more traditional brown leopard print but if you’re cooler with pinkier skin tones, try for other colours as there really are more versions out there. If you purchased anything last year when the trend really peaked, be sure to dig it out!
Of course, there are other patterns but these are my top three. Go on and check inside your wardrobe and see if you have them!