When the warm weather arrives, the summer prints appear: seersucker, critter prints, madras and florals. But sadly, some of you are wearing these prints in ways that are neither flattering or stylish.
For the men, pairing your anchor-printed critter pants with your seersucker blazer, your madras bow tie, your boat shoes and a pocket square looks more like a bad costume than work attire. And when I see a woman in a pink seersucker skirt with embroidered pineapples on it (like I did last Tuesday), I wonder what made her think that that was a good idea. The trick with these prints is to wade into the pool without drowning yourself in it.
Seersucker. As we’ll talk about in the afternoon post, seersucker looks best when worn sparingly. A seersucker pencil skirt with a chambray shirt or chiffon blouse embraces the summer print without drowning in it. Seersucker slacks with a tee and a cardigan or a seersucker blazer with navy and white separates would both be office appropriate. But wearing seersucker both top and bottom is overwhelming on even the preppiest of people.
Basically, if you’re wearing seersucker, you shouldn’t be wearing it top and bottom. And you definitely shouldn’t be wearing a three-piece seersucker suit.
Critter Prints. I deplore critter prints. In fact, just last week, I was entering the building and visibly cringed when I saw a young woman in a dragonfly embroidered miniskirt walking beside a man with sailboats stitched onto his trousers. They looked like they’d been shopping in the children’s section at J.CREW.
Once you graduate sixth grade, your clothes should be blissfully free of embroidered decorative print. It’s not preppy, it’s juvenile. And if I can’t stop you, I’d at least caution you to steer clear of the crabby critter pants. I’d hate for your attire to lead to confusion about your STD status.
Madras. While I wouldn’t wear it myself, unlike critter pants, madras doesn’t make my retinas bleed. Much.
This brightly-colored plaid is purely casual, outdoor, non-office wear. It is best worn at the beach, the pool or the golf course. I would also accept it’s presence at a backyard BBQ or casual outdoor event.
You might even be able to wear a madras shirt with navy slacks on casual Friday, but beyond that, madras is not work attire. So leave your patchwork plaid blazer at home, you’re scaring the tourists.
Florals. If you’re looking for a timeless, classic, summer print, then you’re in search of florals. Whether you like a big print or a small print, a floral pattern will never go out of style. However, you should use good judgement when purchasing florals.
I find that it’s best to stick to florals in a green, blue, purple, red or pink print. They look best on tan, navy, white or pastel fields. Basically, if flowers don’t grow naturally in that color, skip it. And when you try on the item, be sure to consider whether you are wearing the floral print or whether it is wearing you.
The Banned List. There are many other summer prints besides the ones mentioned above: bamboo prints, palm leaves, basically anything by Tommy Bahama. These garish monstrosities are permanently on the banned list. As are Hawaiian prints and anything with birds, fish or any other of God’s creatures.
The summer is a time for vibrant colors and bold prints, however, there’s a fine, but distinct, line between bold and gawdy. So unless you want your clothes screaming louder than a newborn with colic, I suggest you wear prints in moderation. In other words, choose, but choose wisely.