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BellaOnline's Women's Fashion Editor

How to Wear Fashion Prints Year after Year

Break out of solids and into fabulous prints! While solid colored garments are an essential part of your closet, having a mix of beautiful printed fabric can really diversify your wardrobe and help you get more out of your solid clothing. Some of my friends struggle with prints because they aren't sure if the trend will go out of style quickly or they're afraid of looking older. With the right touches, prints can work really well for you and can be very wearable next season and beyond.

The Floral Print - If you're already dismissing the floral print as "old lady", think again. Flower patterns are very feminine and classic. The trick with floral themed fabrics is to choose a more current style. Take for instance the high low dress (where the front of the dress is shorter than the back). This is a very popular trend right now and lots of designers are making this style in floral prints. When choosing floral themed clothing, stay with smaller floral prints rather that something larger like the Hawaiian shirt style so that you can get more wear out of it. You can also avoid a head to toe flower look by breaking it up with a solid colored garment or accessory like a blazer, jacket, pant or belt.

The Animal Print - This one is iffy for a lot of people simply because animal prints do tend to go in and out quickly. However, they can be wearable if the print is just right. As with the floral print you'll want to avoid the head to toe animal look but a few well-chosen animal print pieces can go a long way. Think along the lines of a nice leopard print or snake print shoe, coat or purse or any one piece in your outfit. Also, prints change over time so you'll want to go with a minimal animal print like a thinner black and white zebra stripe or darker leopard print. Since sheer is in right now a sheer animal print paired with a solid colored cami or tank top can work very well this season.

The Polka Dot - Polka dots are classic and fashionable just about any time of the year. They rarely go out of style but the type and size may change from time to time. But really, you can't go wrong with a few cool pieces of polka dotted garments. Smaller polka dots are great for every day as well as uneven polka dots where there are no clear lines or uniform sizes. A smaller polka dot dress and a feminine polka dot top can take you from year to year with no problems at all. Don't forget to mix it in with a bit of solids and incorporate the season's trends and colors into your look. You can also vary your look by wearing a frilly polka dot blouse with a great pair of jeans and heels to make it more casual, or dress it up with a cardigan or blazer and a string of pearls.

The Stripe - Stripes offer a never-ending variety of fabulous looks and most people already wear them with no problem at all. No matter the season you can wear large stripes, small stripes and uneven stripes without being reprimanded by the fashion police. This season, try a wide striped sweater dress with a comfortable pair of boots or a thin striped tunic with skinny jeans and a great pair of flats. You can also incorporate color blocking into your stripes by investing in some tops or dresses with very broad stripes of varying colors and a mixture of vertical and horizontal in any one garment. Avoid the prisoner look by staying away from horizontally striped pants! Instead, try a tasteful, muted stripe pattern in trousers.

The Abstract or Geometric Print - These prints involve something unique like uneven lines and geometric shapes. The chevron print is still very popular in not just black and white but also a rainbow of other colors, sometimes more than two. These patterns work very well for dresses and in many instances help with a thinner appearance. For a long, lean look, avoid horizontal patterns and stick with diagonal, chevron or mixed direction prints. Just about any garment goes in this department. Pants, jackets, dresses and tops - there are no exceptions. For these trendier types of patterns, sticking with a dress or blouse is best because you can always wear it again another season by pairing it with other pieces of clothing when the trend starts to fade.

With some clever pieces in your closet, you can wear your prints over and over again. You can create a style all your own, borrow ideas from fashion experts and find ways to wear it next season or even next year. Embrace the beauty of prints and be unafraid by adding fun prints to your wardrobe!

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