Commandress Style Rules are a quick way to understand the basics of any style topic. As with any skill, once you’ve mastered the basic rules you will be better prepared to develop your own approach – and style.
If you’re a regular Commandress reader, you already know that one of my favorite topics is how to wear Floral Prints to work.
My interest in floral prints stems in part from my belief that every woman should be able to thrive in a professional workplace while wearing clothes that make her feel powerful and attractive.
On the one hand, this belief requires focused attention to the details that can make the difference between looking sophisticated and looking girlish; I don’t want any woman’s accomplishments to be undercut by her appearance.
On the other hand, this belief also requires some education and lobbying on behalf of a woman’s right to succeed professionally and wear pretty clothes. It’s not all about floral prints, of course, but my shorthand for my viewpoint is “Pro-Floral.”
It’s difficult to think of a print that is regarded as more “feminine” than a floral print.
In the most conservative workplaces, floral prints are the exclusive domain of women – with very few exceptions. Sure, you’ll spot the occasional man wearing a floral tie – but that’s about it.
But it is wrong to let floral prints be marginalized as displaying a lack of seriousness or competence just because they are feminine.
That kind of thinking could lead to other – and much more significant – problems in a workplace.
Of course, not every woman wants to wear floral prints to work – if at all.
But any professional woman who wants to wear floral prints should feel confident about doing so – even at a professional office – as long as she follows a few rules.
How to Wear Floral Prints to Work
(1) A little floral at the office goes a long way. Wear one floral print at a time.
(2) Keep your look sleek and sophisticated when wearing floral prints to work. Avoid girlish details like ruffles, bows, decorative edging and lace.
(3) A floral statement piece (or any statement piece, for that matter) should be paired with an otherwise understated outfit. For example,wear a bold floral pump with a simple neutral dress, a classic handbag and understated jewelry.
(4) Likewise, an understated and conservative outfit can look smashing with a bold floral accent. For example, wear a floral print top with classic and neutral suiting in black, navy or grey.
(5) Look for floral prints with dark and rich colors, which look more professional than light colors. Bright colors look energetic and can be worn as an accent. Avoid neon, which is trendy and too casual for the office.
(6) In general, floral prints with a black or navy background look more sophisticated and professional than floral prints with a light background.
(7) Beware of girlish pastel prints at the office. Either avoid them altogether or think carefully about how to wear a pastel floral print to work. For example, you could pair a pastel floral shirt with a dark skirt, a dark cardigan and understated accessories.
(8) Likewise, either avoid or think carefully about wearing any floral print that would make an adorable dress for a little girl. For example, I love Liberty of London prints, but I would look for a darker floral that would pair well with dark separates – like this Liberty Perfect Shirt from J.Crew.
(9) Look for modern floral prints, which include abstract florals, watercolor florals and mirror print florals with symmetrical motifs (which happen to be trendy right now).
(10) A floral top is one of the easiest items to pull off as part of a professional outfit. You can pair a floral top with a blazer or cardigan.
(11) Accessories are another good way to incorporate floral prints into your professional wardrobe. Options include scarfs, belts (example above) and shoes (example above).
(12) Bold floral blazers are trendy right now. Look for blazers with dark modern floral prints. Pair a floral blazer with a neutral dress or understated separates.
(13) Floral dresses can be appropriate for a conservative workplace. Look for a sleek and conservative silhouette paired with a dark modern floral print (for example, the Erdem dress featured at the beginning of this post). You can also tone down a floral dress for the office with a neutral jacket or blazer.
(14) A floral pencil skirt is another option for a conservative workplace (for example, the Vince Camuto Spring Gardens Pencil Skirt shown above). Add an understated top/shell and a solid neutral blazer to make the look more conservative.
(15) Floral pants are trendy right now, but they typically have a casual, weekend vibe – which makes them inappropriate for most professional workplaces. Save floral pants for your time off.
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If you would like to see more floral print clothes and accessories that have been featured on Commandress, please click on the tag for Floral Prints.
Looking for even more ideas? Please check out my Pinterest board about How to Wear Floral Prints to Work.