How to Style Patterns on Dark Skinned Women

by Chio Zoe

February 9, 2018

How to Style Patterns on Dark Skinned Women

Start simple! Dark skin is beautiful, but sometimes it can be tricky to find what to wear. And on color as vibrant as dark skin, wearing patterns can be even trickier. You don’t want to end up looking like a confetti party. If you are on this page, it’s possible you have trouble finding the right prints, colors and styles to wear. The key is to go for as little color variation or clothing variation as possible. Below are some steps you can take to ensure you get the right design for you.

Background Color for Patterned Clothes

This step is the foundation for almost all successful pattern stories, or at least a good guiding hand to ensure that you don’t miss out on what could have otherwise been a great outfit. Since my focus is on dark skin, I’m going to talk about background colors that are suitable for this skin type, but it does not exclude other skin tones from following this suggestion. Stick to soft colors! You might be thinking, don’t bright vibrant colors look good on dark skin? The answer is yes, but don’t forget that too much of a thing is never good. You are already going to have to deal with varying patterns that scream vibrant, why deal with that problem on the base. When I say soft colors, I mean pastels. These are colors with low saturation. For clarity sake, clothes in pastels appear ‘washed out’, but this doesn’t mean they look or are faded. Now you know those solid colors you’ve found to favor you? Try them in pastels when looking for patterned clothes. If you don’t know what solid colors favor you, never fear. As long as you focus on pastels, the weight of finding the right color for you is greatly lifted. I’ve found beige, peach, green and blue to be excellent pastels for base colors.

floral on pastel

Floral Pattern on Dark Skin

Now that you have a good foundation or background color for your clothes, the next thing you might be thinking is “Time for some patterns!” yes it is. If you’ve paid attention to designs before, you know that there are various kinds. From animal prints to boxes to doodles to abstracts to stripes, and the list goes on and on. Today I’m going to be focusing solely on floral. Why? Because floral is beautiful and most important of all, it’s easy. There are many prints out there and it can become quite overwhelming, trying to decide among them. For someone just beginning to wade in the waters of patterns, starting with flowers is a good idea. It also isn’t a bad choice for someone who can’t decide on the next print to buy. Flowers, being a natural and multi-shaped element, easily can go from a solid to abstract form on clothes, and what’s more, they look splendid with soft colors. Pastels allow flowers to stand out in their vibrant form, giving a good balance between soft and sharp. It also allows dark skinned people or anyone else who enjoys bright colors play with a variety of it.

Floral Pattern on Dresses

Now you’re getting the idea, but what next? Maybe you saw a pair of shorts that fit all I’ve described so far and you want to get them. Don’t. While the shorts might be the right one for you, have you thought of what you are going to pair them with? It’s better to be safe than scary. Instead of looking hard for something to go with those pair of shorts, why don’t we keep it easy? Stick to dresses. Dresses come in various lengths and styles. They can go from casual to class to let’s go party! They are also very easy to accessorize. The problem of poor pairing is completely eliminated. Also they are easy to find. So as a beginner in this strange world of patterns and prints, starting with a dress is the best choice, bonus if you can keep it simple. You don’t want something extremely busy on the top. A strapless or spaghetti strap is nice, but f you want more cover, a short sleeve is also great. When it comes to the length of the dress, go with whatever you prefer or according to the occasion.

Small versus Large Pattern

Now let’s focus a little bit more on the detail of the floral print. If you are on this page, you are probably also looking at pictures of floral print dresses, which is great. But you might be seeing different print sizes, small and large. I encourage you to go wild here. Different pattern sizes give a different feel and as long as you have the foundation down, that might not be a problem. However, if you are overwhelmed with the variety, go for smaller prints. They add to the softness of the dress, giving it a clean finish. Be careful not to go for small prints too closely packed; it tends to hide the base from view resorting back to an overwhelming vibrant look. If you do prefer the large floral patterns, focus on patterns spread wide apart, or concentrated at the bottom of the dress. they also give a clean finish without making the dress seem ‘too much’.

Finish your Look

Now that you have found your look, dress it up with a bold purse, wide hoop earrings and strappy heels, or dress it down with a solid colored purse, a pair of flat sandals and you can forfeit the jewelry entirely. You are ready to step out of your house and into the spotlight. With these pairings, you’ll find that you begin to be more comfortable with the art of patterns and with a little more help; you’ll be ready to explore other options.

floral party dress

flower print picnic dress

gold hoop earrings

This ‘how to’ on patterns for dark skinned women was derived from personal experience and observation as a dark skinned, fashion lover and in no way is intended to limit or control your creativity and fashion choices. Fashion is all about finding your own voice, but a little insight from others doesn’t hurt. Feel free to explore the depths of your style!

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