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clothes-hanging-on-rack-closeup prints

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to pile on the prints! In India, we are fortunate to have access to both our glorious textile heritage (hand-crafted prints) as well as to international fashion labels and trends. The trick is to know how to mix both without looking like the Mad Hatter from our favorite childhood story ‘Alice in Wonderland’!

What prints can you mix?

Practically anything luckily for us! Rule 1 when it comes to mixing prints however is to follow your instincts. Try pairing a monochrome gingham crop top with multi-hued floral palazzos. Add a floppy straw hat for a chic summer ensemble. If this looks bizarre to you – then don’t!
chic hat look

You must be comfortable in your clothes to be able to pull off a look with confidence. In that case opt for a clash of prints in the same color combination. Wear a one-shoulder blouse in white with small red polka-dots and an A-line skirt with large red roses. So chic!

What colors can you combine?

Once again, feel free to combine colors your heart desires! If you don’t want to experiment too much though we suggest that your try monochrome bottoms and multi-colored tops. This is a classic color juxtaposition that we guarantee you cannot go wrong with.

So, this means you can wear a quirky Masaba off-shoulder top in rani pink with a pair of block-printed culottes in black and white. Or a vibrant checked pattu sari with a black and white blouse. You could also opt for neutral colors like navy blue or beige with a subtle self-print (in a shade lighter or darker) with a flashy multi-colored print.

How many pieces of clothing/prints can you mix?

This is tricky, because fashion is intensely personal and depends mostly on how comfortable the wearer feels in an outfit and where she or he is going! But the rule of thumb is that it is best not to mix more than two prints. This does not mean that you cannot add an extra layer to your outfit. It just means that if you add three different prints at one go, it would be extremely distracting.
casual-fashion-look-spring-jeans-brightSo, feel free to add a multi-colored shibori scarf to your white kurta and orange and white dhoti pants. Or a multi-colored checked cape over a plain black crop top and geometric printed jeans.

Can men mix prints?

Yes! Anything that women can do…men can try! Even if they may not be able to do it better. Jokes apart, men must try clashing prints to alleviate the monotony of their daily formal wear. You could opt for geometric prints with stripes and shapes in neutral colors such as black, white, grey, navy and olive green to mix to start with.
man-printed shirt

Ethnic print party

A simple, everyday way to pile on the prints is to clash your sari to your blouse. Since most saris come with ready-made blouses that match the sari color or the pallav/pallu, invest in a funky printed crop top.
saari image prints

If the sari is already a concept-sari and an amalgamation of prints and textures then don’t add a printed blouse. Choose a sari in muted hues to pair with a vibrant blouse or the other way around. Choose a printed kurta in shades of dark green and focus on green by teaming it with printed green palazzos.

Invite your accessories to the print party

Another trick that stylists use to add panache to a look is to pair a lovely printed dress with a pair of statement heels in a print. Look to celebrity fashion blogs for inspiration. Actor Parineeti Chopra recently wore an off-shoulder boho blouse with a printed floral headband! You could also invest in a floral print bag for the summer and team it with an ikat jumpsuit for brunch.

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Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!