Wardrobe Architect, Week 7: Prints vs. Solids

Hi, my name is Becky, and I’m a printoholic.

At least, that’s how I usually think of myself. When it comes to shopping, both for fabrics and when I’m at the thrift store, the print is what generally draws my eye first. I have to make a much more conscious effort to think of wardrobe staples in solids, and get way more excited about sewing the prints. I dream of someday having the guts and print-mixing savvy of people like Oona, because then I can wear more prints at once! So this exercise was an interesting one for me.

If you take a look at my closet, yes, there’s solids. The most prominent ones at the moment are my jackets. But there’s quite a few prints hanging out there, too. Sarai’s suggested homework was to pull out my 10-20 most worn items and see what’s prints vs what’s solids, but I didn’t feel that would give an accurate assessment of my particular tastes. Especially this time of year, when I rely so heavily on pants and layering pieces, and pretty much all of my jackets/sweaters and all of the Thurlows I made recently are solids. So I did things a little differently…

I went through my closet and took a look at 3 different categories of things–tops, skirts and dresses. (I left out pants, jackets and sweaters, since as I said, they’re all pretty much solid at this point, aside from a few subtle stripes in purchased pants and one Anthropologie cardigan.) I further divided tops into things I’m more likely to wear when it’s warmer vs cooler, because I suspected that my print preferences could change with the seasons. So here’s what I found–I even made pie charts, just because I could!

This one surprised me, actually. I wasn’t expecting so many of my warmer tops to be solid. But I guess it makes a little sense, because I’m also more likely to wear print skirts in the warmer weather, and I generally wear a solid top with those. (For the record, this did not include graphic t-shirts, camisoles, or other knit basic tank tops.)

This one was a little more balanced out overall, though there were also more things that I wasn’t sure how to categorize.

I’m not really surprised that nearly half of my skirts were solid. “Other” tended to lean more towards novelty prints here.

I didn’t count more formal-type dresses in here, or that would have upped the solid count. As it was, I tend to think of dresses more as a one-and-done wardrobe option, which is why prints so solidly dominate here.

To take a closer look at what I actually own, I pulled out several typical print garments for me, depending on the season.

 The majority of things in both rows are things I’ve made, but there are a few purchased things in there as well.

I also took a look at what’s actually in my stash right now and easily accessible. (So not things that I already have bagged up for specific projects, and not things that are more of a texture-print.)

A few stripes, a few paisleys, lots of big graphic floral-type things, though I honestly have to say that the one I’m most excited about using is that Japanese teacup print in the center top row!

So, to summarize:

  • “Floral prints”, for me, tend to be more stylized or even geometric in nature. They also more often lean towards a medium-to-large scale. It’s also pretty common for them to actually be leaves.
  • A lot of my “other” fell under the categories of paisley, or a hand-dyed look, or more pictoral prints, like the day 13 skirt here. I do love a good novelty print, but in practice, am more likely to use them as bags. (Or jacket linings.) However, some of my florals could also be considered a novelty print. Lonsdale dress, I’m looking at you. 
  • I like swirly prints, apparently. A lot of them have curving lines.
  • Yes, my taste in prints are somewhat seasonal! I’m much more likely to wear stripes or plaid in the colder months, for instance. And florals when it’s warmer. How novel.
  • For the most part, things like dots and animal prints, which were two of the examples given in the post, didn’t even rank. I think I have two dotted prints total, and you see them both in this post.
  • Overall, it looks like the way I should rank my taste in prints is the following:
    • 1. stylized/bold florals
    •  2. Abstract/geometric, often with a swirly motif
    • 3. Stripes or plaid
    • 4. Novelty prints

So I made this, using prints I already have, either in my finished clothes or in my stash. Photoshop is magic.


7 thoughts on “Wardrobe Architect, Week 7: Prints vs. Solids

  1. Printaholics of the world unite! I am especially taken with your blue chinese cup stash fabric, it's so gorgeous. You have inspired me to do a study of my own stash, although I have long feared I have bird print “issues”!


  2. I love your pie charts – what a great way to analyze your “wardrobe data”! I have to admit, I've gotten a little intimidated by how detailed the whole Wardrobe Architect project has become – I get nervous when I have to think about such subjective things (I have a tendency to get lost in all the decisions!) – but your concrete approach has inspired me to try again. Great post!


  3. I'm glad that I was able to help! I figured I could go with the thought of the homework being a guideline, not a rule, in order to get the most accurate assessment. 🙂


  4. I think of you as a print person, and many of your me-mades resemble water to me, in colour and print. I really don't have the time to do all exercises thoroughly, but I have pinned down which prints I like, I just need to put it on paper (or rather, blog)


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