Sunday, 7 July 2013

How to Wear a Printed Suit - 7 Looks for 7 Days (And A Spare!)

As much as I love pushing boundaries and combining unexpected elements when it comes to style, I've always had a soft spot for matchy-matchy separates (or, as we now fashionably refer to them, co-ords). They just can't be matched (sorry) for a hit of old-school polish, but they also provide the perfect base for a spot of mix-and-match out-of-school fun.

So, in honour of the How You're Wearing It challenge just launched by Sam Muses and F&F, I thought I'd show you how I've been styling my F&F striped shorts (and matching blazer). Don't forget - I'm waiting to see how you're styling up your favourite F&F items... which obvs don't have to be striped, but if you do happen to have a fab new idea for styling up a stripy suit or separate, you can now buy these shorts for the frankly insane price of £7 in the sale, and a matching blazer (not quite identical to mine, but equally gorgeous) for a pretty jammy £15 - in fact, it's pretty much stripe heaven over there right now!

These styling principles would work equally well for trouser and skirt suits, though, and for other prints besides monochrome stripes, with a few exceptions/adjustments (which, if anyone has a floral trouser suit going spare, I'd be more than happy to demonstrate!).

N.B. For completeness, I've included the kimono vs. tailoring, florals vs. stripes combo originally featured in this post, where you can go to see more. You can check out more kimono looks here.

Bowl Me Over

Shorts c/o F&F (Available Here), Blazer, Shoes and Hat: All Primark, Top: Forever 21, Sunglasses: Accessorize + DIY (See This Post)

Teaming a no-fuss top and flats with statement accessories in the same colour palette for a quirky smart-casual look which would take you pretty much anywhere... If you're tummy-shy, you could easily swap the crop top for a loosely tucked-in vest.

Do the Treble

Shorts and Blazer: As Above, Shoes and Collar Tips: Both Primark

If you buy a printed suit, you have to try it out with a top in a similar print, even if you're not quite brave enough to leave the house! Subtle differences in colour and style are actually good, rendering the look more "effortlessly chic" and less "magic eye", and a simple accessory or two can help to break up the web of print. Anyway, it definitely adds some fun to the classic suit + shirt boardroom combo, no? Perfect if you need to work some subtle hypnosis on someone in the office! I'd love to try this out with floral prints too...

Rock Out

Shorts and Blazer: As Above, T-Shirt: Primark, Shoes: Boohoo

A classic high-low tailoring + rock tee combo elevated towards the "high" end of the spectrum by gorgeous heels... Brought down to earth by flat brogues, offbeat sunnies and a statement hat, a la Bowl Me Over, above, this would also make a great laid-back hipster look.

Too Cool for School

Shorts and Blazer: As Above, Hat and Trainers: Both Primark, Top: Topshop, Rucksack: Peacocks

By the time I'd decided that a lifetime of genuine geekery (yep, I have spent many a glorious 10 hour day hunched over an academic journal, and actually miss not having exams to take anymore) should allow me to take full advantage of any associated sartorial benefits, no matter how overcrowded the bandwagon had become - Topshop had reduced their iconic GEEK tee to £5 - result! It's the perfect base for a dress-down look here, since the monochrome hues mesh perfectly with my suit's colour palette, and the varsity style renders trainers permissible.

Pep Rally

Shorts and Blazer: As Above, Top: New Look, Shoes: Boohoo, Sunglasses: Primark + DIY (See This Post)

Ah, this takes me back to the good old days, when no How To Wear post was complete without a peplum of some kind... A great alternative to a crop top for occasions requiring more formal attire/eating! This would make a lovely holiday look, perhaps with comfier wedges or flatforms for daytripping, and high-heeled lovelies like these swapped in for dinner and drinks...


Shorts and Blazer: As Above, Top and Necklace: Both Primark, Wedges: Peacocks

Although I love an all-mono combo, block brights look stunning juxtaposed against prints - if in doubt, stick to simple cuts, no more than a couple of different shades, and maybe one statement accessory to lift and focus the look.


Shorts and Blazer: As Above, Top and Shoes: Both Primark

Another "must-try" if you're going for mono - clashing with a contrasting black and white print. Elegant, intriguing, and rendering any additional adornment unnecessary. You can experiment with shapes and prints - shirts, crop tops, houndstooth, polka dot... but I love the structured, feminine feel of the peplum silhouette combined with florals in this instance - a great contrast to the more androgynous feel of the triple-stripe shirt combo featured earlier. 

Have you gone crazy for co-ords yet? How are you wearing yours?

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  1. I like stripes too. Have a great day.

    1. I can't get enough of them ;)

  2. Thanks for the comment on my blog, I am actually involved with it all as well so can't enter yours I'm afraid as I am running one off my blog too which will be live on Friday. Be intrigued to see your winner too so will defo be checking back. Love how you have given loads of options with this shorts suit. :)

    1. Ah I see, no worries - looking forward to seeing how yours turns out too! :)

  3. Nicely done! I really like Pep Rally and Monomania.