With better weather comes bolder looks. While the fall and winter are great for breaking out your more classic styles, summer is all about experimenting. When you aren’t wearing multiple layers, you need to be able to make a statement with just a few key pieces — and that’s where bold print comes in.
We’ve laid out a few of our favorites and also how to incorporate them into your current wardrobe.
Table of Contents
Our Print Picks
No, wearing a pinstripe button-down doesn’t count as a bold print. The classic vertical stripe has a whole new life this summer with a scaled-up width. The larger stripes have a geometric effect that instantly makes a bold statement.
Try a dual-striped style in an unexpected colorway or a tri-striped style with differing scales. Both will add a little more visual interest.
Since this style is so classic, it can be a less intimidating way to get into going bold. If your style leans towards the preppy, there isn’t an easier pattern to add. We recommend trying it on a pair of shorts or swim trunks.
If you want something with a little extra edge this summer, reach for a splattered print. The smaller the splatters, the more it looks like a fun polka dot. The paint-splashed pattern has an intrinsically messy and artistic look. This will add some instant street-style to your getup. Even if that isn’t your usual style, keeping the color palette simple makes it easy to adopt.
This pattern can be a little bit more difficult to find, but it also hasn’t been overdone. Keep your eyes peeled for pieces in this off-beat style.
This isn’t anything like the tie-dye you used to make at camp. For a relaxed and retro addition to your summer wardrobe, seek out pieces in tonal tie-dyes. This saturated print has an instantly worn look. It will look like you pulled it straight from a thrift store.
Even though this style is a little more laid back than it’s brighter counterparts, the overdyed effect adds depth to whatever piece you’re wearing.
With how pervasive this print has become, we couldn’t possibly write about bold prints for summer without including the classic Hawaiian print.
Revamped button-downs can be found by the rack in nearly every menswear store — you’re bound to find something that works for your style.
Try a monochrome palm frond for something that’s bold but not too bold or an embroidered print for something tropical with a bit of texture. If you dare to wear a traditional Hawaiian print, make sure to keep the rest of your getup clean and simple.
For the truly bold among us, patchwork pieces take multiple prints and put them into one garment. In this case, someone with good taste (hopefully) has done the work of pattern matching, so all you have to do is put it on.
This style definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Look for patchwork pieces that use a similar color scheme as a uniting factor if you aren’t exactly confident in discerning if the prints work together or not.
How to Wear Them
Match them with neutrals
Since the focus should be on the bold print you’ve chosen, we suggest mostly solids for the other pieces of your getup. If you opt for a style with more reserved colors like black, white or navy, matching that more conservative palette is an easy way to look put together without looking boring.
Crisp white pieces, like your favorite short-sleeve button-down or a new pair of canvas sneakers, will match the bright tones of the summer without clashing with the color of the prints.
Choose a common thread
When you’re working with colorful pieces, look for a tertiary color in that pattern that’s easy to match. Whether that’s a navy or another easy-to-match tone, choose something that won’t make your outfit difficult to look at. Steer clear of anything that’ll come off as too bright.
Pastels are perfect for summer and add color without appearing overwhelming.
Incorporate with accessories
If you want to try out bold prints without going all in with a garment that will attract a ton of attention, look for smaller accessories that carry the same prints we mentioned above. Some easy-to-find options include socks, hat, or anything else you wear on the daily. You can try out the trend without making the same kind of investment.
The Bolder, the Better
You have the whole year to stick to the basics you know and love — let summer be the time of the year you go bold. Whether it’s a button-down or a pair of swim trunks, spend the season in something unexpected.
Put your usual style of vacation-mode and prep for all the compliments that are coming your way.
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