East Meets West

By Sharon Mosley

March 11, 2013 4 min read

Put a journey to the Orient on your fashion calendar this spring. Many designers headed to the Far East for inspiration for their spring/summer collections. From Pucci to Prada, the trend will trickle down, and Asian-inspired looks will turn up at a store near you. Think abstract floral prints, quilted jackets, oversized jewelry and lots of red-hot color.

But before you pull out your favorite kimono and the geisha shoes, here are some tips on how to put some Eastern flair into your own wardrobe:

The bigger the print, the bigger it makes you look. The huge flowers that are blooming on many designers' coats and dresses may look great on tall, skinny models, but be careful when wearing them if you're petite or fuller figured. These statement-making flower power designs may be fashion forward, but if there's any doubt about how they will look on your particular body type, it's better to stick with patterns that are smaller and more uniform.

Another trick to wearing the Asian-inspired prints? Stick to low-contrast colors. Pastels can be your best friend when it comes to softening up the effect of busy prints.

But you can experiment with mixing colors and prints. Designers like to mix it up this spring and summer, often teaming very diverse prints and patterns -- florals with stripes, geometric graphics with animal prints.

One print per person, please. This is another traditional fashion rule that is meant to be broken this season. It's still a tricky dilemma that most of us have when determining what prints go together. I recommend buying a skirt and top together from the same designer if you are still a novice at putting prints together. However, if a skirt with a huge red poppy on it catches your eye, you can always team it with a solid color on top.

Go for a one-piece dress. This is a no-brainer way to fashion-forward through the Eastern front. There are lots of dresses available this spring that have the Asian-influenced prints already "built in" for you. This may be one of the safest ways to get the new look right.

Use color to your advantage. Most of the time, the designer has used one dominant color to tie all the pieces together. Red, obviously, is a popular color for any Asian-inspired motif. Paired with black, it's a winner this spring and summer. You can also slim down the effect of oversized prints by sticking to darker background colors.

Layering is your friend. I like layering a lightweight leather jacket with printed dresses and skirts. The "toughness" of the leather gives girly prints a contrasting "Western" vibe and makes an outfit more modern. On the other hand, some Asian-inspired pieces look better when they are softer in silhouette like a flowing kimono top or a long, floor-sweeping skirt. Nobody likes the look of a print that has been stretched out over thighs or busts and is no longer recognizable. Not a pretty sight. Printed pants and leggings often get a bad rap for this fashion don't!

Sharon Mosley's weekly column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.

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