How to wear printed pants without looking like a Deadhead

Wenn.comLet’s talk printed pants. Not to be confused with patterned denim (cousin of colored jeans, skinny jeans’ more outgoing sister), printed pants are a bit harder to pull off without looking like a retired hippie (not that there’s anything wrong with that). No, I’m talking about amorphous silks and cavernous cotton-blends. These are art teacher pants that I used to giggle over; but, like my feelings on most other trends I’ve prematurely added to my Do Not Wear list, I’m having change of heart. Here’s why.

With a little height, they flow surprisingly well.

Miranda Kerr floats on out of her chauffeured black SUV into LAX wearing Joie ikat-print pants. Potentially, these could be the ikat-print pants of a tea leaf-reading composter (again, not that there’s anything wrong with that) but when styled with a slim black blazer, Christian Louboutin platforms, a flimsy white tee, the cobalt YSL East West bag, chic Stella McCartney sunglasses and a sleek ponytail, they take on a decidedly cooler vibe. Sensing a theme? Contrast styling (polished vs. wild) is a win-win.

Sleek blacks and nudes are the perfect palette.JCalderon/Splash News

Rosie Huntington-Whitley wore these crazy Hawaiian Reformation palazzo pants and the thing in my brain that’s mandated Skinny Pants Only since 7th grade shifted; from her shampoo-commercial hair and flushed baby-smooth skin, to her cropped spandex top, diamond pendant necklace and easy nude sandals, this look is tops. There’s a lesson here: tame your psycho printed pants with sleek and minimal accessories and basics.

With a little gold, they become glamorous!

Nick Harvey/WireImageIf you focus only on Poppy Delevigne’s ankle-tie, side-slit pants you’ll agree that they most closely resemble part of a yoga teacher’s souvenir haul from a transcendent Indian retreat vacation. Upon widening your focus, however, you’ll note that her soft blonde hair, poppy-colored lips, cropped gold-accented jacket and peep-toe black pumps (with matching black pedicure!) give this look a sexy, sophisticated, ultra-glamorous feel.

Try this if you dare, but remember the winning equation: wide-leg printed pants + sleek, basic styling.

Will this help YOU amplify your style?
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