8 Tips for Taking Geometric Prints to the Office

The fashion tides are drawing us away from all things girly and deeper into the androgynous and edgy. Trousers and pant suits are finding their way into more and more women’s wardrobes, as are other items – such as pocket squares – which were traditionally deemed ‘masculine’.

Pocket squares have long been a popular way of bringing a touch of personality and print to a man’s outfit. Recently, we’ve taken these daring geometric prints and splashed them over blouses, shirts, skirts and trousers. Prints that were once confined to a few square inches of a man’s business attire are now decorating ladies from head-to-toe.

The pocket square’s geometric print has a enchantingly old-fashioned, bluestocking air to it. Deemed “the new Liberty print”, geometrics are on trend in a big way. But is this look appropriate for work? Or is it just distracting? If you’re not sure how to rock a print without looking like a character from Saved By the Bell – read on. Here are a few rules of thumb to help you piece together geometric print looks that are still ‘office appropriate’.

1. Be decorative

When playing with prints, your number one priority should be to avoid ending up looking like vintage wallpaper. Geometric prints are a spirited way to transition to a lighter, more whimsical look, but the print should be treated as “decorative” design only. Think of your geometric prints as a great piece of art. You wouldn’t walk into a gallery and expect to see art hanging on a wallpapered wall, so don’t hang your geometric print piece on an outfit already wallpapered in prints of it’s own. If you’re wearing circles up top, leave the triangles for next time. To keep it modern, opt for pants in a solid colour, ideally one that pulls out an obvious colour in the print.

A good rule of thumb is, if you feel “printy”, add a solid accessory. Plain black tote bags or chunky belts are simple, practical pieces that will help break up complex geometric prints. We’ve got plenty of solid coloured accessories, including bags and belts, available online and instore.

2. Create shape

Image via Pinterest

Blake Lively can’t step a high heel wrong when it comes to fashion. The bold colours in this print draw the eye to her enviable curves, while the plain black top slims her torso and creates the illusion of a tiny waist. By pairing this wild design with a sleek, sophistic top in a slimming colour, she’s enhanced her stunning figure while keeping the print ‘decorative’ and the look sophisticated.

3. Be bold

If you’re going to wear geometric prints, don’t be afraid to be bold. Dare to chose something that might seem like ‘too much’ at first, then tone it down with simple weekend pants or a classic pencil skirt. Kate Middleton showed us just how it’s done with a geometric print midi skirt teamed with a plain white blouse and simple drop earrings. Amal Clooney doesn’t shy away from printed pants, nailing the geometric print style while out and about in New York.

Feeling particularly bold? ‘Thou shalt not mix prints’ is one of the oldest fashion rules in the book. And rules were made to be broken. Take Paris-based stylist Elisa Nalin (below), who looks preppy and stylish in head to toe prints. A good rule of thumb is to focus on mixing colours, not patterns. If the colours look great together, there’s a good chance the prints will work too. Neutrals, browns and monochrome are a great way to keep this look office appropriate and sophisticated.

Image via Pinterest

4. Play with classics

When your pants or skirt boast a loud and playful motif, a classical silhouette will make your choice refined enough for work. Simply team your bold print with a sophisticated blouse in a solid colour and a sleek set of heels, and you can get away with prints almost anywhere. If you’ve chosen a printed top, try to seek out an elegant, classic shape to make sure it’s work appropriate. A well fitted pencil skirt in navy or black is a great wardrobe staple to have on hand when you’re playing with prints for the office.

5. Hide unwanted bumps

Geometric prints are great for highlighting your assets, but they can be used equally as well to hide unwanted areas by curving and distorting any bumps and lumps. Choose your prints wisely and wearing geometrics can be your most flattering look. Kim Kardashian, for example, is known as one of the curviest women in Hollywood and is regularly seen in geometric prints. Prints are chosen carefully to flatter her famous figure and varying lines distort the eye and break up her frame in all the right places.

6. Go all in

Florence Welch is almost as famous for her fashion choices as she is for her incredible voice. This is a woman who doesn’t hold back when it comes to fashion and the geometric print trend is one she is grabbing with both hands. Her confidence and character allow her to carry of her “kooky” style, no matter what the occasion. She expertly styled a brown geometric jumpsuit, turning heads in this printed ensemble while strolling through New York.

7. Start on the outside

If you’re worried a geometric print will be too much for the office, take the style outside by wearing a geometric jacket. A jacket lets you bring your personality to the office, but can be removed for those ‘stuffy’ meetings where a traditional look might make you feel more comfortable. Miranda Kerr got it right with her elegant geometric print coat that can be easily removed to reveal a more corporate friendly ensemble underneath.

8. Accessorise

If you’re more of a minimalist, printed accessories might be a way for you to explore the geometric trend. A cuff, scarf or clutch are great ways to flirt with the geometric trend, without committing entirely.

Going geometric at work

The trick with this trend is to wear geometric prints in a decidedly modern way that brings personality to your outfit, without compromising on sophistication. Workwear doesn’t have to be plain and boring, but nor should it be completely ‘out there’ and distracting. A happy medium is the ultimate geometric goal.