How To Choose A Floral Print That Isn’t Frumpy

Greetings and happy Friday! I’m sharing this long sleeve faux wrap dress and how to choose a floral print that isn’t frumpy.

I had teased my white t-shirt review for today, but I just couldn’t get it finished in time, so I’m planning to post that tomorrow.

This is an outfit I wore to meet a friend for lunch earlier this week.

I'm styling this long sleeve faux wrap dress and sharing how to choose a floral print that isn't frumpy.

I usually dress up my jeans for more of a smart-casual outfit for daytime events, but it was a mild day, and I had just finished shooting this look with my photographer. I went back inside to change for lunch, looked down at what I was wearing, and realized it was perfectly appropriate for a girls’ lunch out!

This outfit is also a contender for the bridal shower I’m attending next month in Boston, and it was nice to be able to give it a trial run.

For instance, I used fashion tape to keep the neckline in place, but I plan to take it to Nordstrom and get someone from the alterations department to sew in a small snap. It will be far more reliable than the tape, and will look nicer too.

Otherwise, I really like the design of this dress. Because it’s a faux wrap, it’s sewn in place at the waist, so there’s no risk of the skirt blowing open. It also takes all the frustration out of tying the dress. You just slip it over your head, and you’re good to go!

Side Note: Am I the only one who is confounded by a traditional wrap dress???

I'm styling this long sleeve faux wrap dress and sharing how to choose a floral print that isn't frumpy.

I tend to gravitate to solids, but florals are trending right now, and it’s fun to wear a printed dress for a change. That said, women of a certain age (ahem…) have to use care when choosing a floral print, lest it cross over into frump territory.

The floral print on this dress looks fresh and modern to my eye, and here’s why.

How to Choose A Floral Print That Isn’t Frumpy

When choosing a floral print that isn’t frumpy, you want to pay attention to three things: scale, contrast, and density. This will vary a bit based on personal style aesthetic, which we will discuss as well.

This floral print is what I would consider a medium scale print, which is pretty much universally flattering. (Generally speaking, if you are larger, you want to go for a larger scale print; and if you are smaller, you want to go for a smaller scale print. However, if you go too large or too small, it can look dated very quickly.)

This medium scale print with a loose pattern is fresh and modern.

Because the density is looser, leaving more of the background visible, it allows for more contrast between the flowers and the background color. It also gives the eye a place to rest.

I'm styling this French Connection long sleeve faux wrap dress and sharing how to choose a floral print that isn't frumpy for women over 40.

The lighter colors on a darker background provide a high level of contrast, which adds interest, and I also think some sophistication to this floral print.

You also want to take into account your personal style when choosing a floral print that isn’t frumpy.

Some florals are more stylized, therefore dramatic and sophisticated; while some are more natural looking, which tends to be more feminine and youthful.

I think a more stylized print, like this one, is more sophisticated and easier to pull off when you’re a more mature age. (I’m 47, for reference.)

That said, if your personal style is more feminine and flirty, you maybe able to get away with a more natural floral print.

How I Styled This Floral Wrap Dress

For last week’s try-on haul, I styled this dress with nude block heeled sandals, and I like the look very much.

Even with the long sleeves, I think it works, or you can push them up as I did when I styled the dress with boots.

But right now it’s very chilly here in Philadelphia, and it will likely be chilly next month in Boston when I attend my cousin’s bridal shower, so I wanted to see how this floral dress looks paired with boots.

I’m wearing the Sam Edelman Hiltin boots from the #NSale last summer, but the Sam Edelman Hai in golden caramel is almost identical.

These gorgeous boots are a very nice quality and extremely comfortable, and I like how the taupe color complements this dress. It coordinates with the peach and beige tones in the flowers, and also blends in with my skin tone, and allows the eye to focus on the dress.

Darker boots would work too, but they would look heavier and more wintry. The taupe color is perfect for this transition season.

I'm styling this long sleeve faux wrap dress and sharing how to choose a floral print that isn't frumpy.

For jewelry, I went with classic hoops and a pendant necklace.

These are both designer pieces that were gifts, and I wear them a lot, but you can certainly find similar styles for less. I’ll link a few options below.

floral dress

This is a great dress for work wear or church, or as you can see here, lunch with a friend and possibly a bridal shower!

Since it’s lightweight with long sleeves, you can wear it 3 seasons of the year, which maximizes the cost per wear.

It runs TTS, or size up if in between. The 8 fits me perfectly. It’s currently 25% off at Nordstrom; but for today only, it’s 40% off at Lord + Taylor, bringing it down to just $76.80! (This sale ends today, 2/28/20, at 11:59PM ET.)

I'm styling this long sleeve faux wrap dress and sharing how to choose a floral print that isn't frumpy.

Outfit Details:

floral wrap dress at Lord + Taylor or Nordstrom // similar taupe boots (budget option) // similar bag (option) // similar earrings // similar necklace // similar bracelet

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photos: Alison Cornell