As most New Yorkers can attest, wearing basic black is both a city uniform and a fashion crutch. It’s a whole lot easier to don inky hued trousers and a dark cardigan when running from work to an intimate dinner party than fussing with a colorfully printed, head-to-toe ensemble.
Nonetheless, experimentation can be good at times, and there’s no better season to test out prints than summer. The sun is out, the days are long, and reaching for something bright and cheerful is easy and, dare we say, tempting. Eschew the tried-and-true LBD — temporarily, of course — and reach for one of these lovely printed looks culled from some of our favorite New York City shops.
Without a doubt, Peter Pilotto is a master of prints. Here, multi-hued cloqué marries well against this dress’s mesh collar and asymmetric hem. $2,385. 754 Fifth Avenue (57th/58th Streets); 212-753-7300; bergdorfgoodman.com
For an evening of dinner and dancing, the no-brainer choice is Roberto Cavalli’s stretch jersey sheath. The body-con fit and detailed print make this a piece of Italian-designed perfection. $970. 711 Madison Avenue (63rd/64th Streets); 212-755-7722; robertocavalli.com
A hippie-esque maxi skirt gets an urban upgrade from Band of Outsiders. We recommend pairing this flowing, silk beauty with a white tee and some gold bangles. $795. 465 Amsterdam Avenue (82nd/83rd Streets); 212-595-8451; stevenalan.com
Etro’s silk-chiffon blouse embodies the brand’s adoration of paisley, executed in regal hues of cream and burgundy. This instantly adds a dressy element to denim, or looks smashing when worn with the matching skirt. $1,400. 720 Madison Avenue (63rd/64th Streets); 212-317-9096; etro.com
For those new to the print game, look no further than Alice + Olivia’s Fierra tank dress. The moody florals are both discreet and dramatic, and the dress can be worn with a long sleeve tee underneath for additional coverage. $275. 80 West 40th Street (Fifth/Sixth Avenues); 212-840-0887; aliceandolivia.com
This silk-satin gown by Nina Ricci is a dream of a dress. The pale-pink satin has a slight sheen, and the jade flower print is the epitome of elegant. $4,490. 660 Madison (60th/61st Streets); 212-833-2200; barneys.com
Whether you’re lucky enough to be vacationing in Capri, or simply lounging poolside at Soho House, Emilio Pucci’s crepe de chine mini dress practically begs to be your companion. Details like the belted waist and keyhole neckline make this a true keeper. $3,350. 855 Madison Avenue (70th/71st Streets); 212-752-4777; emiliopucci.com
Embracing ’80s style is a lot more fun when sporting this shift dress by Versace. The Italian-crafted frock features a sultry leopard print alongside psychedelic swirls. $1,425. 647 Fifth Avenue (51st/52nd Streets); 212-317-0224; versace.com
To achieve the Parisian gamine look, simply scoop up Miu Miu’s loose, washed silk shirt. The royal blue and cognac-hued flowers will look lovely when worn with high-waisted trousers and simple leather flats. $915. 100 Prince Street (Greene/Mercer Streets); 212-334-5156; miumiu.com
As usual, Stella McCartney nails tongue-in-cheek fashion with her Stella Greetings tee. Fashioned from super soft washed cotton, this is the top to bring on all your summertime adventures. $270. 112 Greene Street (Spring/Prince Streets); 212-255-1556; stellamccartney.com