4 Rules for Wearing Prints in the Office

Pulling off prints is tricky business both in and out of the office. While they’re creative and can showcase your personality, they can affect how people view you as a professional. Remember, an ensemble that looks too loud will hurt your reputation. So keep on reading for the 4 rules to make sure your prints look polished enough for work.

  1. Go for smaller prints and classic patterns.

button down shirt with striped pencil skirt striped blazer with black outfit polka dots blouse with pencil skirt gingham print dress

classic office dress with sling shoes

Smaller prints and classic patterns like stripes, gingham, plaid, polka dots, and such tend to look more chic because they don’t overwhelm the eye. Like fashion blogger Mary Orton, you may spice up your classic button-down blouse with a striped pencil skirt, or a polka dots blouse teamed with a plain black skirt. On a smaller scale, patterns read as thoughtful details rather than pronounced statements. That’s why fashion blogger Jennifer Selmanovic looked chic and appropriate in her checked office dress. Take note that prominent patterns even in neutral colors can come off as loud, abrasive, and cheap compared to their smaller versions. So better skip those graphic prints, novelty patterns, and quirky prints if you’re working in a conservative environment.

  1. Go easy on your print colors.

floral print skirt with nude blouse sophisticated outfit with denim jacket printed skirt with chunky sweater necklace with nautical-chic outfit

Even you’re wearing classic prints like stripes, checks, and polka dots, if their colors are blinding, it won’t look decent. If you want to go for colored prints, go to classic shades or even jewel tone palette that looks elegant. If you’re working in a creative workplace, floral patterns can be acceptable but keep your top muted like Nicole Warne did. To further balance a loud pattern, choose neutral, solid colors and think of everything else as the frame for the garment you want to showcase. Remember that choosing dark hues that contrast with your print makes most designs pop, so you may go for lighter hues to create lower contrasts.

  1. Make careful pairings and skip pattern mixing.

checkered blazer with trousers and cobalt blue bag printed skirt with fitted top plaid suit with pink pussy bow shirt plaid outfit with classic pumps

Going for matching sets of suits can be the safest option to look polished in a creative workplace. Though print mixing is allowed on some offices, it doesn’t look as professional as wearing printed pieces with plain ensembles. If you’re opting for quirky details like flowers, cats, or hearts, be mindful of what you’re wearing them with as whimsical patterns can be appropriately balanced with more conservative pieces.

  1. Watch your feet.

gray ruffled dress with neon yellow pumps floral print skirt with white top and cobalt blue ballet flats floral print shoes with casual outfit blue skirt with white top

Footwear is usually where prints go from fun to costume-y. If you have an exceptionally playful work environment, perhaps you can get away with bright blue ballet flats with colorful floral print skirt and plain top like fashion blogger Mary Orton did. If you’re in a creative workplace like fashion blogger Lara Caspari, bright yellow pumps and a ruffled dress can be acceptable. But for everyone else, simple and elegant shoes anchor an otherwise loud look. Indeed, looking stylish and professional at your workplace can be done by choosing your prints discreetly.

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