How to style a tropical print

Jenessa Williams

A staple of the resort season catwalks, tropical print isn’t exactly anything new. However, our enthusiasm for houseplants and horticulture means that tropical print for 2019 is no longer simply reserved for holidays

Where did the trend come from?

Instead, high-end designers such as Anna Sui and Michael Kors have championed a Hawaii-esque style that maintains eye-catching brightness through digital design, print-on-print clashing and camouflage styles. 

Not one for wallflowers, this is the ditsy floral’s grown-up cousin, designed to make as much of an impact in the office as it is on the beach. 

 

What should I be looking for?

(From left to right, column by column: Primark Vest Dress £10, Accessorize Fan £5, Stradivarius £7.99, AndOtherStories Shift Dress £45, Zara Jumpsuit £49.99, Topshop Tie Top £25, Dorothy Perkins Dress £35, AndOtherStories Clutch Bag £35, George at ASDA Off-shoulder Top £12, Miss Selfridge Wrap Skirt £25, Joy Leaf Earrings £12, Orelia Shell Earrings £22, Matthew Williamson Tote Bag £28, Topshop Playsuit £36, River Island Sandals £22, The Lazy Poet Pyjamas £160, Aranaz Bag £210, Topshop Brooch £10)

High pigmented prints on good quality fabrics. You’ll want your colours to pop, so look for floaty silks, chiffons and natural cottons. Skin tone is also very important when opting for the right tropical tone—greens looks great on pale skin as does a light orange or red to bring out warmer undertones, but a darker skin tone is more likely to pull off the boldest primary hues. 

For the biggest impact, you’ll want to choose a floral print that is big and well-contrasted rather than anything fussy or overly intricate. Classic shapes to look out for are palm leaves and lotus flowers, orchids and birds of paradise, parrots and pineapples—the more novelty, the better! 

 

How should I style this trend?

Though we have preached the bolder the better, it can be difficult to know where to start with tropical wear. The easiest pairing is probably that of a tropical trouser and a plain t-shirt, or a well-fitting dress. Team with natural accessories (such as this seasons raffia trend) to break up all the pattern or pick out one colour from your print and plan solid-colour shoes and bag to match. 

For a more minimal take that still has fun with pattern, look for items that opt for a more tonal take—darker green leaves on a pale green dress, or even a monochrome blouse worn under a suit. 

 

Where can I get this look?

(From left to right, column to column: Warehouse Shirt Dress £59, River Island Blazer £30, Skinny Dip Tag & passport Holder £20, Richard Quinn Dress £2415, Monki Necklace £8, Next Vest £15, Miss Selfridge Playsuit £35, Primark Handbag £10, Primark Purse £3, New Look Trousers £15.99, Marks & Spencer Robe £20, ASOS Scarf £8, H&M Slide Sandals £12.99, Monki Dress £35, Boden Skirt £60)

You don’t have to spend like a lottery winner to get your dream vacation look. As always, Monki and AndOtherStories are go-tos for a fun print or chose Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins for tailored pieces that can translate into your existing workwear wardrobe. 

For accessories, the holiday section of both Primark and supermarkets are your best friend—there’s no end of easy accessories that will cost no more than a few pounds.