Plain to Polished: Adding a Print to Make Outfits Interesting

Yes, yes, YES–another Plain to Polished!  In this series we break down style by looking at plain outfits and talking about SIMPLE ways to make them polished.  Simple is the name of the game!

Plain to Polished: Adding a Print to Make Outfits Interesting

Today’s focus: prints!  I was recently asked for advice on how to make neutrals interesting.  I instantly thought of 4-5 different ways you could do that, and adding a print is one of them.  Incorporating a print into your outfit, even if it’s small, can go quite a long way in making a plain outfit look polished.  Let’s look at some examples!

SIZING INFO: I’m 5’6″ with a short torso and usually S/M or 6 in clothes, 8.5 to 9 in shoes.  


Plain to Polished: Adding a print--Plain

This first outfit uses really great pieces that are some of my favorites, like the black butter tee (so soft it feels like butter!), my super soft and stretchy jeans (size wayyyy down!), and my favorite tan booties.  It’s not too bad of an outfit, but it doesn’t really stand out as polished either.  So, let’s try adding a print:

Black Top + Leopard Scarf + Cognac Boots + Jeans

Boom!  MUCH better!  A leopard print scarf took it from plain to polished!

Plain to Polished: Adding a print to make your outfit pop

Adding a printed scarf is something you can do with any outfit made of plain pieces, like jeans and a white tee.  Easy peasy!

Shop the Looks:
Top: Nordstrom (exact– size S)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact-size 4)
Boots: Lucky (similar)
Scarf: Nordstrom (similar, similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact-size M)

If wearing scarves isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways you can incorporate print.  Let’s look at another outfit.  And for fun, let’s make it a business casual outfit:

Black Cardigan + White Lush Top + Gray Pants + Maroon Pumps

Grey slacks, black cardigan, white blouse, and maroon pumps.  Another outfit made of some of my favorite pieces.  Overall, it’s not terrible and is just a little plain and lacking something–even with some colored pumps!  This time, let’s swap the plain top for a printed one:

Business Casual: Printed Top + Black Cardigan + Grey Pants + Maroon Pants

It’s just a white and black printed top, but that simple swap gave the outfit a little more life!

Plain to Polished: Adding a print to make your outfit pop

Having a few printed tops in your workwear wardrobe is so helpful in creating interesting outfits without having to try harder. ?? My favorite place to get printed tops for work (and that work really well for casual outfits with jeans) is LOFT.  Shop some of my current favorites by clicking through the widget below:

Shop the Looks:
White Top: Nordstrom (exact-size M)
Printed Top: Loft (similar, similar, similar)
Pants: Loft (similar, similar)
Shoes: Naturalizer (exact other colors, similar)
Necklace: Dear Mushka (exact)

Let’s look at one more example of adding prints to outfits:

Camel Cardigan + Lush Top + Black Jeans + Flats

This outfit uses black jeans, a tan cardigan, white top, and nude flats.  It looks fine, but I want to show you what can happen if we add print.

This white top is a closet staple of mine, and if you’ve been around PMT for a while you know it’s one of the most remixed pieces in my closet.  (See all the ways I’ve worn it HERE.)  It was the piece I swapped out in the previous example, but in this example let’s keep it and try adding print elsewhere.  Let’s switch shoes!

Camel Cardigan + White Lush Top + Black Jeans + Leopard Flats

I LOVE me some leopard print flats! (See ways I’ve worn mine HERE.)  They’re such a small part of the outfit and in some ways barely noticeable, yet I really feel like they elevate the whole outfit.  Isn’t it so cool how a tiny bit of print can give an outfit that oomph?

Plain to Polished: Adding a print to change an outfit

Shop the Looks:
White Top: Nordstrom (exact-size M)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact in full length-size 6)
Cardigan: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Nude Flats: Old Navy (similar)
Leopard Flats: Nordstrom (similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact-size M)

Adding print to an outfit doesn’t have to be hard, complicated, or intimidating.  Start with an outfit full of solid pieces, and if it’s looking a little plain to you, add a print somewhere!

Catch the rest of the Plain to Polished series HERE!


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