Fizz flies the coop with a pocket full of prints [pt 2]

Previously, I shared my lazy woman’s guide to potentially effective print selection [the “10 Feet Test”] and described how my pal Fizz went from bemused fabric store bystander to focused, in-need-of-printed-fabric-for-tops demon.

Fizz’s amongst-the-bolts decision to stop her frustrating hunt for ready-to-wear summer blouses and instead go for custom tops put her in a bit of a pickle.

With her forthcoming vacation a hard deadline and the Mellow Glamazon pressed for production time, my effervescent friend needed to find various bits of fabric that worked with her unique characteristics AND melded with her existing summer basics AND aligned with how she wanted to dress when meeting up with European friends and family.

She had a handle on shapes that flattered her busty, H/Rectangle figure. And she knew the colors she wanted, so she was set there too:

Key shade combinations for Fizz's summer wardrobe

But after decades of a mostly-solids wardrobe, I was still getting the hang of finding prints that took my personality, coloring, preferences etcetera into consideration. Could she do in 5 minutes what I’d struggled to master for several years?


Of course she did have a little help from the print selection guidelines Bridgette Raes details in her book, Style Rx.

Unlike intuition-advocate Gavin “The Gift of Fear” de Becker, Raes notes that her clients’ instincts about prints often run counter to their personalities and style goals. And their coloring. And the size of their body and facial features.

My people!

Having latched onto the book’s instructional text and helpful photos several years ago, I’d never let go. Now, with limited time and Fizz adrift in a huge warehouse of prints, I knew we needed to implement Raes’ “first pass” tips. STAT.

Bridgette Raes: The Basics of Picking Prints

  • Consider personality: bold types should think twice before undermining their personal power with “ditzy, irreverent” prints; demure types are frequently overpowered by mega-dynamic prints.
  • Print scale isn’t just about body size, but about facial features: smaller-sized women can have larger features and vice versa.
  • The boldness or softness of one’s personal coloring is one’s “intensity level.” It’s the relationship created by the contrast between hair/skin/eye color, and it can be bold, soft, or somewhere in between. If skin/hair tones change for any reason, intensity can change.

Let me visually sum up Fizz’s coloring, features, and personality with a charming stand-in (though admittedly her mouth is not Ms Caron’s shape):

Should a remake of Gigi ever see the light of day, Fizz is standing by


Having attempted to complete the above evaluation, we moved onto Raes’ next suggestion—a real humdinger.

More Bridgette Raes: A Somewhat Nutty But Surprisingly Effective Tip for Picking Prints

The best print styles mimic the way your facial features move.

  • Horizontal eyebrows and smile, almond-shaped eyes, pronounced bridge of nose? Choose a geometric/linear print and avoid soft, rounded prints.
  • Softly arched eyebrows, rounder cheekbones, soft smile, prominent tip of nose? Choose soft, rounded prints and avoid horizontal lines.
  • Diagonal shaped eyes and movement, angled eyebrow arch, angular-shaped nose and smile? Choose angular prints like argyle, avoid rounded shapes.
  • Combination features? Choose prints that have soft lines and hard angles like watercolor-y flower or abstract batik prints.

Is that the craziest thing or what?

The specifics of our Fizz-centric assessment are below, but our interpretation of Raes’ advice led us to look for:

prints in her best colors (blues, cool browns, pinky corals) :: rounded shapes with angular movement :: sizes no bigger than her hand :: colors that didn’t read as super-high contrast :: prints that skewed on the bold side


Silk tank with darts for shaping and an arresting "rounded boxes + dots" print

Luscious, lightweight silk jersey in a bold MIAMI VICE/NICE print + 70s silhouette

Supple, shaped silk + a deconstructed paisley print + narrow flutter sleeves made for breezy summer days

Strappy-but-regular-bra-friendly, fitted-torso abstract floral cotton meets very dark it, Fizz!

Getting up close and personal with the cotton top's spiky petals + rounded shapes

In our completely biased opinions, the final selections harmonize well with her features, size, and eau de Fizz. As 4 out of her 5 tops were practically whipped from the sewing machine into the suitcase, though, Fizz will be road-testing responses as she travels.

[And thank god she left town before #5 got started, because with her out of the way I finally got MY happy-birthday-to-me printed summer top!]

Happy trails, Fizz….

Fizz's very orange guest bedroom holds her (carry-on only!) suitcase-ready neutrals + prints

“Vix, can you put my curiosity to rest by running through Fizz’s complete, amateur-hour assessment?”

The basics: extra-bold personality :: petite height + small-to-medium frame :: smaller-featured face with prominent, arched brows :: “medium bold” intensity [our best guess!] due to dark hair, slightly warm freckled skin, and pale blue eyes

Facial movement: combined features (arched brows :: rounded cheekbones + chin :: linear smile :: pronounced tip of nose)

Bonus feature Fizz and I considered: her gorgeous curly hair!


Filed under: appearance, color, starring select friends + invisipals | Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. These are gorgeous tops. I especially like the first, and the silk paisley. Plus, I have a patterned blue top which I would never have thought to wear with a pinkish cardi – that looks fab and I’ll be trying it!

  2. Hey there Ms Struggler!

    You win the prize for being the 1st to comment publicly, ha…going by my inbox votes, your favorites are majority favs.

    [Poor Miami Vice/Nice is the metaphorical runt of the print litter.]

    Unsurprisingly, I feel about blues + color the way a lot of blondes seem to feel about safari/camel. Let me know how it works out for ya.

  3. Those seem like very nice and sensible guidelines, and Fizz sure looks great in what y’all came up with! I’ve been making efforts somewhat similarly lately. Keeping the truly whacky prints for pajamas, not work :-). I have no trouble going for large scaler, but I labor at less contrast.
    But it sure is difficult to find geometric stuff when stranded in the Land of Flowers. I see 70 year olds on the metro wearing stuff I outgrow in junior high. Sigh. Still, a goal is good, right :-)?

  4. Thanks, Marie-Christine — we tried!

    And yes, goals are always good. We don’t have to advertise our love of, say, bunny prints to the world, ha!

    I was just back in the fabric stores (after a 3 month hiatus since I was trying to be good) and I just didn’t see lots of prints I liked.

    Except for the same $)#@ $$$ Pucci-that’s-not-mega-Pucci I can’t justify buying yet! Luckily no one else seems to be able to buy it yet either, so maybe it will wait til I have a small windfall.

    So you and I must hang tough! Though I admit I am looking at online fabric sellers these days…is that a route you’ve explored?

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