How To Wear Bold Floral Prints

By Marisa Swanson

Spring 2012 is awash in botanical prints. Unlike the small ditsy prints of the 70s, this season's designers are going for big, bold color. (Ditsy doesn't mean a print meant for the I.Q. challenged, it's a term to describe small delicate random prints on fabrics. Flowers are the most common, but there are geometric ditsies too.) Unique to so many trends that come and go, the big flower print is being embraced by hot young designers and classic veterans alike. Everyone from Peter Som to Oscar de la Renta is throwing down their iteration of adorned tropical paradise. While this expands the looks to pick from and offers versatility, it can also lead to confusion. How do you do it? Never fear, TFS is here to give you inspiration.

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  • Oscar de la Renta: In Focus

    This ladylike shift is perfect for the office. Notice how the floral pattern of the dress is in the center, avoiding the pitfall of a too-busy look. Keep your eyes open for centered bold flowers surround by crisp, clean white.

    Oscar de la Renta
  • Prabal Gurung: Embellish Your Stems

    If you want an eye-catching ensemble, pick up a pair of bold floral pants. Be sure to don heels to lengthen the look of your legs (the big pattern can shorten their appearance) and break up the top half with a solid colored top. White works, but pulling one of the colors from the pants and wearing it up top will too. Notice how the jacket matches and complements the teal in the pants, which draws the eye upward.

    Zoe Saldana
  • Altuzzura: Two-For

    Notice how this look pairs the neon trend with the bold flower trend. Conventional fashion wisdom says not to mix up two big trends, but in this case, the solid top breaks up the flowers on the bottom and complements their bright colors. Use this as inspiration for Sunday brunch or Saturday afternoon flea market shopping.

    Altuzzura: Two-For
  • Blugirl: Max Out

    A solid colored maxi is the perfect way to tone down a bold flower print top. Tuck it in to show off your waist and add a belt for further emphasis. Enough said.

    Blugirl: Max Out
  • Blugirl: Head-To-Toe

    It's tricky to pull off any bold print from top to bottom, least of all one that includes brightly colored flowers. Take a cue from Blugirl and break up the garden that is your form with a cardigan, belt and/or statement necklace.

    Blugirl: Head-To-Toe
  • Matthew Williamson: Delicate Femme

    A bold floral doesn't necessarily mean you have to go for something loud, proud and conspicuous. This look from Matthew Williamson is light, airy, and feminine. Chiffon is the perfect fabric to pull off something diaphanous and nymph-like. Looking for an edge? Go ahead and add a pair of biker boots or a moto jacket into the mix. A spike bracelet is a more subtle way to toughen up sweet flowers.

    Matthew Williamson: Delicate Femme

images: IMAXtree