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6 Prints You Need in Your Wardrobe as You Get Older, Stylists Say

With these in your arsenal, you'll always have something to wear.

If you're anything like us, you've probably started many sentences with the phrase: "My wardrobe would be complete, if I only had"—and then ended it with a closet essential like trousers, a button-down, straight-leg denim, or a leather jacket. Without these core pieces, it's difficult to put together cohesive outfits, and you might often feel like you have nothing to wear. But staples don't only apply to clothing items and silhouettes. There are also core prints you should own, especially as you get older. Here, personal stylists spill their favorite clothing prints that create the backbone of a mature, sophisticated wardrobe. With these in your closet, you'll be able to create interesting, layered looks that truly shine.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Dress Trendy Over 60, Stylists Say.


Smiling Happy Model is wearing blue jacket and sweater, striped gilet, red pants and yellow sunglasses. Fashion Street Style autumn or spring. Woman posing outside the clothing store

There's no way around it: Stripes are a classic.

"Pairing a chic striped top or bottom with a basic [bottom or] top will balance a look well and give it an effortless Parisian vibe," says Sahra Schukraft Brandt, personal stylist and founder of Shop the City. "If your style errs maximalist and bold, pair it with another print like a floral or an alternating stripe!"

If you opt for a second stripe, choose one in a different size. If you match your stripes with a second print, choose one in a similar size as the stripe.

You'll also want to pair the color of your stripes to your outfit properly. "Use the color in the pattern, not the background of the pattern, to match other garments or accessories," says Michelle Barrett, stylist and founder of Capsule Closet Stylist. "This way, the block color of other garments or accessories will lift and link the colors in the pattern."

So, if you have a cream sweater with a black stripe, you'll want to pair it with black pants, as opposed to cream ones. It'll make the pattern pop.

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Polka Dots

portrait of pretty, middle-aged woman at office wearing a navy blue and white polka dot blouse
Hero Images / iStock

Polka dots have been on-trend for ages, and you can expect them to retain that status. Add them to your wardrobe for an easy way to make any outfit more fun.

"Remember that the larger the dots, the bigger the trend statement, so go smaller the older you get," says Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling.

She also says it's important to consider the dots' contrast in comparison to your own. If you have a low contrast between your complexion and other features (say, if you have dark skin and dark eyes), you'll want to avoid dots that have a high contrast (like black and white). It'll take your entire look to the next level—even if people can't quite put a finger on why.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Dress Classy Over 60, Stylists Say.


white middle aged woman wearing leopard dress

This print doesn't have to be scary. In fact, Schukraft Brandt says it can be timelessly chic.

"I think going small with leopard print can help it feel more approachable—think a leopard-print shoe, neckerchief, or hair scarf," she shares. "Pairing it with other basics and using it as a neutral ensures that it isn't too statement-making but just enough of fun."

If you want to try something bold, team a leopard midi skirt with a streamlined black heel or boot.

RELATED: 5 Chic Accessories If You're Over 60.

'70s Swirls

mature woman with shopping bag enjoying aroma of fresh peonies on pink background
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Add some grooviness to your wardrobe with a funky swirl print piece. "A cool psychedelic print can really be a statement item that can help you feel bold and young," says Schukraft Brandt. "I love a bright '70s print paired with a bold solid color dress or pants and top for a monochromatic look, paired with a more tame shoe."

If you go big on this print, you'll want to keep things fairly minimalist elsewhere.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Color Combinations That Will Look Great on You, Stylists Say.


A happy woman riding her bicycle wearing a floral dress and a straw hat
Wellnhofer Designs / Shutterstock

It wouldn't be a list of essential prints without a floral. "The key is to complement your skin tone," says Barrett. "As a general rule, if you have pale skin and hair, choose pastels; if you have dark hair and medium to dark skin, you can choose brighter tones; and if you have dark skin and hair, choose medium to dark or bright tones."

No matter what, you'll be able to style florals year-round. Barrett is particularly fond of wearing them on a silk scarf that's paired with a Breton striped top.

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A mature woman with red curly hair smiling on a city street, wearing a red paisley tank top. / Shutterstock

Similar to florals, there's paisley. "It's a classic, traditional motif that—depending upon color palette—can skew either fresh and youthful or stately and mature," says Kosich. "Shop paisleys in summer brights like turquoise, teal, orange, and coral to project a light-hearted, spunky mood, or choose a quieter palette in earthy tones like mustard, burgundy, and forest green to send a conservative, quiet message."

It's a fun pattern for a scarf, dress, or shirt. Try a paisley tank top under a solid-color blazer to dip your toes in the trend.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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