Print Dresses

Six Ways to Style a Print Dress: What to Wear With Your Patterned Piece

You may think the classic black dress is the only staple you need in your closet since it's versatile, and you can pair it with just about anything. While this is absolutely true, you don't need to stick with solid colors for a dress that can do anything and go anywhere. Print dresses are fun, unique and so much more — plus they can go with almost anything you have in your closet, just like your black dress!

With a simple change of your jacket or the addition of a belt, you can take a print dress from casual to professional and more. When you know how to style a print dress, you unlock endless combinations. Here's a look at how to wear a print dress with any combination of other clothing and accessories.

How to Style a Print Dress

Whether or not you have the perfect piece already, you'll want to know how to wear a print dress. There are so many options that satisfy any style and almost any outfit need.

Before you learn how to style a patterned dress, you should know what prints are out there. Print dresses come in a variety of patterns, from feminine to bold. You've probably seen dresses in designs like:

  • Stripes
  • Dots
  • Floral
  • Abstract
  • Graphic
  • Animal

The patterns themselves appear in a range of dress styles and lengths. Not ready to take on a bright and bold pattern? Look for a pattern that is more subdued. A subtle design can help you ease into the world of print dresses.

While there are a variety of ways to wear a print dress, we've gathered six ways to style a print dress with certain items of clothing and accessories. Use these pieces by themselves or in combination with each other to suit your unique style.

1. Outerwear

Outerwear will help you transition your print dress through the seasons or from daytime to evening wear. We like these options for pairing with a print dress:

  1. Denim jackets: Vintage, casual and so much more — a denim jacket is a great staple piece that you can easily pair with a print dress of almost any pattern. Outerwear can also help tone down a pattern by breaking it up if you aren't comfortable with a daring look just yet.
  2. Cardigans: Get cozy and comfortable with a cardigan layered over your print dress. Choose heavier pieces for fall or lighter, shorter sleeve cardigans for spring. Play with different cardigan lengths that complement the length and waistline of your dress.
  3. Leather jackets: Create an edgy contrast with floral prints and other feminine patterns by pairing your print dress with a leather jacket. Like a cardigan, a leather jacket can come in different lengths, with a cropped option often going well with any dress.
  4. Sweaters: If you like the look of cardigans, you may also like complementing your print dress with a sweater. Layer a button-up option or slip on a sweater with coordinating colors for a look that makes you feel great and gets you ready for fall.
  5. Blazers: For a professional look, top a print dress with a blazer in a matching color. Pair this outfit with our other tips below to add even more style to your business wear.

Play around with different outerwear already in your closet or expand your options. For those just starting in the print dress world, you may feel more comfortable in neutral and solid color outerwear. But if you prefer a bold look, try out bright colors or even more patterns for your daring days. If your prints are similar, choose patterns in different colors so they stand out. With different patterns, choose similar color palettes, so you don't overwhelm your outfit.

2. Other Clothes for Layering

You can put a jacket on over your dress, but if you want an even more interesting look, consider layering other clothing items with your print dress. You could create an adventurous outfit with suit pants or similar fitted bottoms under a dress with a dramatically cut skirt, but it's more common to pair a top with your dress.

Some tops you may already have in your closet will layer fashionably and comfortably with certain patterned dresses. Consider shirts like:

  • Button-ups
  • Turtlenecks
  • T-shirts
  • Collared shirts

Put a white t-shirt on under a slip-style dress for a vintage-inspired outfit, or use a turtleneck to stay warm during fall or winter. Pair a print dress with a collared shirt for a look perfect for work or something more whimsical depending on the collar. Layering clothes is a great way to make your outfit more comfortable for you and functional for the weather. On warm days, use a combination of lightweight fabrics if you love the layered look.

3. Jewelry

If you've already been adding pops of color or an elegant touch to your outfits with jewelry, you can do the same with print dresses. While the colors in the print of your dress help determine what jewelry you should wear, the style of your dress is just as important. Some common combinations of jewelry and dress styles include:

  1. Halter dresses: Dresses with feature necklines such as a halter don't need a necklace. Opt for bracelets, earrings or rings instead to let the stunning neckline of your print dress take the spotlight. When choosing earrings to go with a halter dress, choose studs or other delicate pieces since attention will already be closer to your neck and face with a halter.
  2. Sweetheart neckline: A classic sweetheart dress goes best with shorter necklaces. Statement pieces are a traditional pairing, but consider the pattern on your dress before choosing a daring necklace. Wear jewelry with simple colors that go with a featured shade of your dress's pattern.
  3. Crew neck: A higher neckline allows for longer necklaces. You can even play with layering subtle pieces over your print crew neck dress for more eye-catching sparkle. Be sure the pieces you choose have the perfect balance between standing out from your dress and blending in so much that you can't even see the jewelry.
  4. One-shoulder dresses: With an eye-catching neckline, one-shoulder dresses don't require necklaces. Try stacking bracelets or wearing a larger cuff to help balance your look.
  5. Strapless: Break out your statement earrings when you've got a strapless dress. You could also try out shorter statement necklaces if you're wearing a dress with a micro-pattern.

Want your dress to be the stand-out part of your look? Go for delicate jewelry — thinner necklace chains, stud earrings or small-banded bracelets enhance your outfit without drawing attention away from your print dress. If you're comfortable with larger, bolder jewelry, go all out and pair pieces that bring out specific colors of your print dress.

When you're staring aimlessly at your jewelry box at a loss for how to pair pieces with your print dress, think about the theme and tone of your outfit. Vintage vibes in a dress pair with era-inspired accessories, while abstract, geometric patterns go with modern jewelry. It may take some trial and error to figure out the mood of your pattern dress, but once you get it, you can create even more fashionable outfit combinations.

Need a bit of a more straightforward process for choosing jewelry to wear with print dresses? Base your choices on the shapes featured in the pattern. Geometric or chevron designs go well with triangular jewelrysince the pattern has similar shapes. Softer patterns like floral designs and rounded abstract shapes go well with rounded jewelry. Getting to know the details of your print dress will help you add other accessories to your outfit.

4. Other Accessories

While statement earrings or an elegant necklace can do wonders for an outfit, there are plenty of other accessories out there. Like other outfit add-ons, these accessories open a closet door of possibilities for your print dresses:

  1. Hats: Keep away the summer sun with a hat that pairs perfectly with your print dress. A woven hat and a floral sundress make a great pair when you're headed outdoors.
  2. Scarves: Scarves can take the place of jewelry when you use them in an outfit since they will attract attention away from other items. Accessorize with a lightweight scarf for warmer months or something thicker during winter and fall. Play with colors and patterns until you find a cozy and fashionable match.
  3. Handbags: Is there anything better than a functional accessory? Choose a purse that complements your patterned dress for everyday use or go with a clutch for evening events.
  4. Belts: A belt can cinch the waist of looser-fitting dresses. Pair one with a t-shirt dress, for example, to give your outfit some shape or glam up a simple pattern dress with a statement belt. Mix fabrics and colors for an extra pop.
  5. Sunglasses: Perfect for days spent mostly outdoors, a popping pair of sunglasses can add something extra to your outfit. Slide on a colorful pair of shades to bring out the colors in your floral dress or other prints.

Check out what you already have in your closet. Use your accessories to create new combinations of outfits or search for the perfect accessory to match one of your favorite print dresses.

5. Shoes

Don't worry — we didn't forget about shoes! When it comes to styling a print dress, your footwear can set the tone for the whole outfit. You may not expect a patterned dress to go with every shoe in your closet, but you'd be surprised at the range of styles you can pair with a print dress. These options create different looks for different occasions:

  • Metallic for a modern look
  • Heels for formal occasions
  • Bright colors for something fun
  • Ankle boots for an edgy twist
  • White sneakers for a comfy and casual outfit
  • The same color or pattern as the dress for a classy feel

As you choose the perfect pair of shoes to go with your print dress, feel free to play around with color. Nude or black shoes match practically any print. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, take a closer look at your pattern. Draw inspiration from accent colors or the main shade of your dress print when selecting your footwear. You can then match whatever color shoes you wear with your handbag for a chic look.

6. Stand Alone

Depending on where you're wearing your dress, you probably can't go barefoot. But going with a subtle sandal or nude color shoe and no other accessories makes your print dress the star of your outfit. Wearing your print dress with only necessary items is great for:

  1. Bold prints: Many patterns are eye-catching. While that's great for an adventurous outfit, sometimes you don't want to overwhelm your look. You could choose micro patterns or neutral colors, but sometimes a dress with a louder print appeals to you. Let those dresses stand alone so you don't risk clashing with other pieces.
  2. Casual occasions: If you don't have a formal or business event to attend, throwing on a dress for a casual day out is a comfortable and straightforward option. Sure, you could pair your print dress with everyday jewelry and accessories, but you will make this effortless outfit even more effortless by letting your dress be the only component.
  3. Getting comfortable: For those who haven't slipped into a patterned dress before, it can be a bit daunting to try something new. Don't overwhelm yourself or your outfit by trying to match other accessories and layers of clothing over your print dress. Keep it simple until you get a feel for this new and exciting style.

No matter how you wear your print dress, have fun with it! Patterns are a great way to express yourself and your style, whether or not you match accessories to your dress. Play around until you find what's best for your taste and your life.

What to Remember When Styling a Print Dress

Feeling a bit intimidated when it comes to knowing how to style a print dress? No need to worry! If you aren't ready to dive into accessories and other clothing items, we've got some general tips on how to wear a print dress that can help you approach this aspect of the fashion world. When you're deciding how to style your patterned dress, keep these aspects in mind:

  • Weather
  • Occasion
  • Venue
  • Dress length
  • Dress neckline
  • Sleeve length and style
  • The pattern itself
  • Fabric material and texture

Season, event and location affect what style of dress you should wear and what you should wear with your dress — for instance, don't wear a tank dress in the winter or a sweater dress in summer. Creating outfits can get a bit more complicated as you add accessories and other clothing items, but consider the type of occasion and the style of your dress to help narrow down what you should and shouldn't wear with your print dress.

If you are just starting out, go for prints that go with almost anything. One of the most versatile patterns is a micro print. The color comes into play as well — you can wear a dress with a black and white pattern or other neutral tones for a variety of occasions and with many different accessories. Then, once you get familiar with styling simpler patterns and colors, you can try out flashier hues and bold designs!

Find Boutique Print Dresses for Women

Now that you know how to style a print dress, you're ready to pick out the perfect dress for you. Find comfortable, cute and fashionable print dresses with us at My Sister's Closet. Our collection features trendy clothing at affordable prices — perfect if you're looking to add options to your closet or get the perfect print dress. Looking for items to pair with a print dress? Check out our clothing selection and browse our accessories to build your unique outfit!