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Trends – How To Wear Print

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Take a look around your leading high street fashion stores or have a quick peek online at some of the best e-commerce retailers and chances are you will see rails and web pages strewn with clothes awash in prints in all shapes and sizes. Print is simply everywhere at the moment.

From the latest Burberry collection, the Kenzo eye (following sharply on the heels of their celebrated tiger prints) to men of the moment Agi & Sam producing a collection for Topman, the fashion world is dripping in print. And where the high-end fashion labels lead, you can be assured the rest of the fashion pack will follow.

You will see print on sweaters and shirts, it’s all over t-shirts and even trousers – to a lesser extent – are adorned in an array of prints in a spectrum of colourways. Accessories aren’t to be ignored either – boxer shorts, socks, backpacks, belts, caps and shoes can all be found covered in prints both crazy and subtle in nature leaving the men’s fashion market under no doubt that print is very much part of the style zeitgeist.

print 001

Yet for all the prints currently being banded about in the world of both high-end and high-street fashion, this trend of trends still causes men to come out in a cold sweat. Talk of print often causes men to run to the safe haven of navy, causing panic and aghast looks that say ‘how on earth am I meant to wear that?”

Our aversion towards print comes in the form of not knowing how to wear it, leaving us men, so used to playing it safe, fearing the new and thus continuing along the fashion path we have forever tread. We aren’t afraid of print per se, it’s more a case of not knowing how to wear it rather than simply not wanting to.

print 002

For all its outlandish, some might say garish connotations, print, as designers, high street stores and e-tailers are demonstrating, is very much part of current trends and shows little sign of abating if the new A/W’14 collections are anything to go by so instead of shunning print, now is the time to man up and embrace this fashion forward trend because let’s face it, it isn’t going away any time soon.

Here are just a few suggestions to get you on the right path.

The Print:

print 003

People tend to think of print as loud, garish colours and shapes splashed across a t-shirt in a pattern not even the keenest magic-eye aficionado could conjure an image from (nor do you do have to wear an Hawaiian shirt to be classed as wearing print.)

The truth is, print comes in many guises, from animal prints, check and camouflage prints, geometric and floral prints there is a cacophony of images and shapes falling under the banner of print and at least one of them will be suitable for you.

printed cotton teezombie worn teestaple city shirt

aztec printed vestlondon leopard shortscamo leopard sweater

Keep It Simple:

print 004

One of the main misconceptions with print is it can be overbearing and doesn’t work well with the other clothes you may already have. This however could not be further from the truth. No one is expecting you to either look like a model or be seen sauntering down the high street covered head-to-toe in a myriad of prints and colours – although that’s not to say you shouldn’t if you feel confident doing so  – there are ways to keep it subtle.

If you are new to the print game, do not overburden an outfit with too much print. For example, if you are wearing a printed t-shirt, sweater or shirt, team it up with a pair of plain jeans, chinos or suit trousers and vice versa if you happen to be brave enough to don a pair of printed trousers.

linen blend shirtdyeprint denim jeansfranks swim shorts

zigzag raglan teecontrast panel cappaisley polo shirt

Colour:

In much the same manner as the print itself, men often find themselves lost in a stormy sea of colour. You do not however need to wear bright colours to be seen as wearing print. Black and white, navy and pastel tones of sky blue and yellow can all help to build a colour palette that isn’t too much of a menace on the eyes of passerby’s.

However, for the more adventurous men amongst you, do not afraid to be bold in your choice of colour, in fact the brighter the better – luminous colours and you have gone too far though. The summer may seem a long way off but now is the time to start thinking about the clothes you will be wearing when the sun does rise from her winter slumber and you will want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to colour and print.

panelled blend shirtwhite grid teesaint laurent shirt

mens grid shirtcamouflage bomber jacketprinted cotton blazer

Conclusion: This article may stretch to almost a thousand words but I have barely touched the tip of the print prism – I have hardly mentioned the plethora of print accessories that are currently flooding the market with shoes, bags, belts etc another article altogether.

What does become clear through this plethora of shapes and colour is the importance print currently plays at both ends of the style spectrum. Be it avant garde designers such as J.W Anderson or street style kids looking for the latest craze, there is no escaping the importance print plays in their thoughts.

Forget about thinking of print as some kind of extreme form of dress and embrace a trend that has been riding high for the past few seasons and continues to be an integral part of designers thoughts and ideas heading towards the summer and beyond.

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Robbie Canale
Robbie Canale

Robbie Canale is a freelance writer and stylist with a passion for football and fashion, two genres he knows should never go together! He has contributed to publications including Harper's Bazaar Arabia, GQ Dubai and Pickles football magazine.

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