PATTERN PLAY | 12 Ways to Play with Prints This Spring

via H&M

Much like art, our taste in prints says a lot about who we are. On first impression, I'd say someone in florals is a girly-girl, a woman who loves stripes probably wishes she lived in Paris, and a lady who likes leopard is, according to my husband, on the cusp of becoming a cougar. He totally does not get it. A boho batik tells me she probably loves to travel and a loud '70s print says she's fun-loving and doesn't take herself too seriously. 

But our choice in prints is a far more nuanced affair than you'd think. Take florals - from tiny ditsy florals to exotic tropicals to splashy impressionistic buds, the print options are endless. And then there's the all-important way you wear your florals - head-to-toe like a boss, subtle and discreet as a clutch, worn prim and proper with a pencil skirt with heels, or in a dress paired unexpectedly with edgy black booties.  

When it comes to fashion, it just doesn't get more personal than prints, from the ones you choose to the way you choose to wear them. Luckily, spring brings with it an endless array of pretty options to please us all. 

Want some inspiration before you shop? Check out these 12 fun ways to work prints into your wardrobe this spring. Happy March!

PRINT WIN #1 | GO NAUTICAL

WHY WE LOVE IT | Whether you're ready to set sail on your own private yacht, or most likely not, spring is the perfect time to sail the high seas. From classic navy & white stripes to subtle nautical motifs, there are loads of ways to float your boat this season. 

HOW TO OWN IT | Forget full sailor suits or head-to-toe navy gear - when it comes to nautical prints, a little goes a very long way. A striped shirt can be worn any number of ways: under a blazer, with a midi skirt, with distressed jeans or even with pastel shorts. Try adding a bright statement necklace to break up the stripes. Meanwhile, a pair of anchor-detailed flats will add a playful pop to an all-solid outfit. 

OUR PICKS | Stripe Boatneck Tee, $19.99, GAPNautical Flats, $39.99, Spring

 

PRINT WIN #2 | WOW WITH YOUR WALLET

WHY WE LOVE IT | Black wallets should be outlawed, unless you like to play a daily game of hide-and-seek, of course. A statement wallet is a stylish, inexpensive way to protect your essentials, and you'll be happy every single time you pull it out. 

HOW TO OWN IT | For the conservative dresser, prints can feel ultra-intimidating. Ease into it with this floral wallet - a perfect way to inject some fun into your look, even if only the grocery store checkout girl gets to check it out. 

OUR PICK | Floral Wallet, $30, ALDO

PRINT WIN #3 | GO MATCHY-MATCHY

WHY WE LOVE IT | For those of us who love to make a statement, there's no better way than to find a print you love and wear it all over. 

HOW TO OWN IT | Love the idea of matchy-matchy prints but don't want to look like you forgot to get dressed? Statement earrings, a pair of sleek heels and a bold lip will ensure that you look pulled-together, not ready for a pajama party. 

OUR PICK | Patterned Silk Trousers, $69.95 and Patterned Blouse, $79.95, both H&M

PRINT WIN #4 | DIVE IN

WHY WE LOVE IT | Pools, docks and balmy beaches call for celebratory swimwear, especially for those of us who only get to enjoy a few months of Canadian heat. And you've got to admit - this floral print is way more fun than a boring old solid. 
HOW TO OWN IT | A printed bikini top and bottom look adorable worn together, of course, but have you tried this trick? If you want to draw attention to your top half, pair your printed top with a pair of dark, solid bottoms that tie in with a colour in the print. Flip it around if you prefer to flaunt your bootie.  
 

OUR PICK | Bikini Top, $17.95, and Bottoms, $14.95, both H&M

PRINT WIN #5 | TRY DRAPEY PRINTED PANTS

WHY WE LOVE THEM | Printed skinnies are super tricky to pull off, unless you're 7 or have supermodel legs. This season, opt for relaxed printed pants that will make an impact and actually flatter your figure. 

HOW TO OWN THEM | The beauty of these printed joggers is that you can dress them up or down. Wear them for day with a pair of flat sandals and a tee. For after dark, add a pair of strappy heeled sandals, a silk tank and statement earrings. 

OUR PICK | Printed Tencel Joggers, $69.95, GAP

PRINT WIN #6 | BRING BACK GINGHAM

WHY WE LOVE IT | This season, designers like Altuzarra, Michael Kors and Oscar de la Renta all picked gingham as their print of choice. While the picnic-ready print's been around for years, it feels brand new again this spring. 

HOW TO OWN IT | You can never go wrong with a classic tan trench, but sometimes it's fun to stand out in a crowd. This gingham trench is totally on trend and will become your stylish spring mainstay once you pack away your parka. 

OUR PICK | Mid-Length Gingham Trench, $575, Coach

PRINT WIN #7 | TRY A JUMPSUIT

WHY WE LOVE IT | A solid black or navy jumpsuit is a good way to win the fashion game but when done the right way, a printed romper is fashion gold. 

HOW TO OWN IT | You'll find jumpsuits in loads of prints this season, both strapless and long-sleeved, short-shorted and full-length, to suit every body. Whichever style you choose, keep your shoes, jewelry and handbag sleek to look your age. Okay, fine, a few years younger never hurt. 

OUR PICKS | Floral Jumpsuit, $49.95, Dynamite; Wrap Front Romper, $64, American Eagle

PRINT WIN #8 | GET GRAPHIC

WHY WE LOVE IT | Prints don't have to be loud - simply look to this stunning black & white python print for proof. If you love leopard in the winter, then consider this your go-with-everything spring/summer alternative. 

HOW TO OWN IT | From neutrals to brights, a black & white animal print adds dimension and texture to your look. For style risk-takers, don't be afraid to mix this print with another graphic option - say black & white stripes or even a bright floral.  

OUR PICKS | Leather Crossbody Tote, $130, GAP; Leather Buckle Sandals, $54.95, GAP

PRINT WIN #9 | DRESS UP

WHY WE LOVE IT | There's no easier way to explore pretty prints than with an easy, breezy summer dress. Since florals and bright yellow are both big trends this spring, consider this frock a 2-birds-1-stone style solution. 

HOW TO OWN IT | You can have too much of a good thing, but in this case, too much is never enough. Take this printed dress to the next level by adding a cobalt blue, bright pink or turquoise extra in the form of a clutch, necklace or heels. If you'd rather play with makeup, try a bright orangey-red or vivid matte pink lipstick. 

OUR PICK | Printed Boatneck Dress, $74.95, GAP

PRINT WIN #10 | PRETTY UP IN FLORALS

WHY WE LOVE IT | From work to weekend, a floral tank will lend a feminine touch to your wardrobe all week long. 

HOW TO OWN IT | We can think of dozens of ways to wear this tank but here are just a handful to try out now: under a navy suit, with a pair of white jeans, tucked in under a flowy white skirt, with a pair of dark flared denim trousers, a skinny belt and wooden platform heels, or even with a pair of pastel shorts. 

OUR PICK | Floral Tunic Tank, $29.95, Dynamite

PRINT WIN #11 | TRY TROPICAL

WHY WE LOVE IT | Tropical prints tell the world that you either a) don't take yourself too seriously or b) are really, really craving a getaway. We don't blame you for either. 

HOW TO OWN IT | A kitschy tropical print looks perfect with distressed jeans or a white sundress but who says you can't mix prints, even ones as loud as this? An easy striped black & white tee worn with black shorts, or an easy striped dress (see below) would look perfectly at home with these tropical platform sneakers. 

OUR PICKS | Printed Crew Sweatshirt, $45, Aerie; Tropical Platform Sneakers, $29.95, H&M

PRINT WIN #12 | STRIPE IT RICH

WHY WE LOVE IT | Vertical stripes will help you look longer and leaner, especially when done up in a pretty leg-baring summer dress. 

HOW TO OWN IT | Dress up a striped dress with neutral strappy heels, or down with black gladiator sandals or tennis shoes. Gold jewelry will make the whole look feel luxe. 

OUR PICK | Shirt Dress with Zip, $39.95, Dynamite