Pretty in prints

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RETRO REVIVAL. Head-to-toe graphic prints in Prada’s Fall/Winter
2012 runway

We’ve seen its loose counterpart on the Spring/Summer runways—the pajama pants made of cotton or silk. The trend was a little tricky to adopt; careless styling would only make one look sloppy and frumpy.

Now the look has morphed into dressier versions: tailored and cropped (length hits right at the ankles), and made of sassy spins—brocade, texturized, tribal-inspired, digital patterns, animal prints, cute polka and feminine floral prints.

Take it from Miuccia Prada. While everyone was in glitzy gowns at the “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” gala exhibition at the Met last May, Prada opted for sleek, tailored trousers—this, from a lady  known to be married to her skirts).

Similarly, Prada’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection was dominated by printed pants, rendered in bold geometric prints. She went extreme with prints from top to bottom on the signature pantsuits.

RETRO REVIVAL. Head-to-toe graphic prints in Prada’s Fall/Winter
2012 runway

Printed trousers with matching tops can also be seen this season in the collections of Rag & Bone, Miu Miu, Etro, Roberto Cavalli, Rochas, Louis Vuitton and Derek Lam. The colors are vibrant—ox blood red, royal blue, emerald green and purple.

Sartorially significant ladies have been donning printed pants as well. Miranda Kerr was snapped by the Australian blogger Fab Sugar (www.fabsugar.com.au) wearing her cigarette petal-printed pants for two days in the streets of New York. Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls donned graphic-printed pants at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, while actress Chloë Sevigny was captured by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot in Miu Miu’s Autumn/Winter 2012 advertising campaign sporting a pair of printed pants while sipping tea.

Tips and tricks

Here’s how best to wear printed trousers:

1. Since your printed pants scream for attention, pair them with neutral colors and basics. For the pants to serve as the focal point, keep everything else simple.

GEOMETRICprinted pantsuits were the highlight of Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2012 runway collection.

2. Make the look sultry for the evening by pairing the pants with a sheer blouse.

3. You can go print on print, but make sure the prints are complimentary in color scheme or they come from the same color family. Also, avoid textured tops or busy prints—unless you want visual chaos.

4. Wear heels to lengthen your silhouette. It can easily transform your look from day to evening. When wearing flats, fold the ends of your pants and turn them into cropped pants to balance your proportions.

5. Since printed pants have the same comfort as your trusty pair of jeans, style them as you would your jeans. Throw on a basic T-shirt or slouchy V-neck, roll up your button-down sleeves and pair with a jacket, a structured office blazer cardigan or a tank.

6. Rule of thumb for prints: small prints for petite frames, larger prints for taller or bigger frames.

FASHION retailer Zara also carries printed pants.

7. Play with proportions. When pants are tight, wear something loose for the top. Or, balance loose pants with a fitted or structured top.

8. Invest in a color or print you can easily work into your wardrobe, so you get more mileage from the printed pants.

9. When wearing clashing prints—for instance, floral pants and a striped top—make sure they are of the same color scheme.

10. Use accessories sparingly. Edit, edit, edit. Wear a statement ring, or a statement neckpiece or bangles, but never all at the same time.

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