How To Style A Wildly Printed Dress

The most exciting part about the weather getting warmer? Wearing dresses, aka Instant Outfits You Don't Have To Think About Putting Together. Styling a printed dress is certainly easiest when it's warm enough to go sleeveless and you don't have worry about whether or not your favorite bomber actually matches with a leopard A-line, but there's no reason you have to keep them in the back of your closet until sweater weather is finished. Especially for everyone committed to a mostly-black wardrobe, adding bold prints to your outfit can be daunting — but it absolutely shouldn't be.

Lord & Taylor sent over one of their very brightest, eye-catching spring dresses (the Design Lab Paisley Asymmetrical Dress, to be exact) and challenged us to style the fun pattern for this weird, in-between-y weather. In an office whose unofficial uniform is black skinny jeans, a plain T-shirt, and black booties, this paisley frock was a worthy challenger. Still, with a little help from chambray and leather, it turns out even the edgiest Brooklyn hipster can pull off a sundress. Check out these super-easy ways to style a printed dress, even if it’s totally out of your comfort zone.

Go All '90s

The paisley and coral already emulates the uber-hip '70s comeback, but the best way to keep an outfit from looking dated is to pile on trends from another decade. Jean jackets reigned supreme in the '90s, and 2014’s versions are just as effortlessly cool. A darker shade of denim feels more polished than anything acid-washed, making this ensemble ideal for the office come springtime.

Dress: Design Lab Paisley Asymmetrical Dress, $88.00; Jacket: French Connection Denim Jacket, $178.00

Try Some Breezy Preppiness

Yes, a dress on its own is the easiest outfit, but throwing a chambray shirt on top is just as ideal for the fashionable lazy girl. Pick one with cool (but not overpowering) details — like the denim color blocking on this super-soft blouse — to make yourself stand out from the rest of the buttoned-up crowd.

Shirt: C&C CALIFORNIA Chambray Blouse, $118.00

Add Some Edge

Eventually, we had to add some of our favorite color (black) back into this bright ensemble. If you’re not ready to go full biker babe, a cropped, vegan leather jacket has a more classically stylish feel. Plus, the faux fabric is thinner, so it won’t weight down a flowy dress.

Jacket: Sam Edelman Vegan Leather Jacket, $189.00; Shirt: William Rast Chambray Cap-Sleeve Blouse, $69.50

Accessorize Simply

No matter what you throw on top, when you’re working with so much pattern there’s no need to go overboard on accessories. Black loafers or ballet flats are a safe bet, especially since you probably already own a couple pairs.

Shoes: DV By Dolce Vita Mars Leather Geo Perforated Loafers in Black, $80.00

If you're looking for a slightly dressier (and more summery) feel, opt for a pair of espadrilles. Strappy sandals are too casual for an office setting, but a thick strap like this makes them just close enough to regular shoes to pull off.

Wedges: Kate Spade New York Bowdon Leather Espadrille Wedge Sandals in Red, $198.00

Luckily for print fanatics, the statement necklace trend has given way for more delicate jewels. A thin gold strand with an interesting charm is all you need by way of accessories with a dress this bold!

Necklace: House of Harlow 1960 Pave Tessellation Pendant Necklace, $68.00

Images: Rosanne Salvatore

This piece is sponsored by Lord & Taylor. All items pictured above are available for purchase online at