Feathers Tropicana Pant $179 | Tropicana tank $109

How to wear printed pants

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 97 Comments

Ok, so you’ve jumped on board the coloured jeans fashion train … what’s next for your legs?

Printed pants, that’s what.

Now before you freak out, click away and shake your head thinking this time I’ve completely lost my mind, I’d like you to take a fashion moment.

You know why?

Because I hear you.

It wasn’t until Carly Findlay contacted me in response to my post on how to wear coloured jeans, that I even contemplated going THERE.

Carly asked me kindly to consider doing a post about how to style floral or printed pants. My first reaction, fired off in an email reply was “not on your life”.

But something happened. Carly had unknowingly planted a little seed – a fashion challenge if you like – in this 40-plus brain.

And then I saw these pants online at Feathers Boutique

Feathers Tropicana Pant $179 | Tropicana tank $109

And I thought … yes, I COULD do it. I WOULD give it a go.

When the pants arrived, Mr SY just shook his head. I think he’s given up vocally expressing his opinion about some of my fashion choices but the look on his face said it all.

And then … I styled them up. Three ways. With items I already had in my wardrobe.

He may have (reluctantly) changed his mind.

Style 1: Casual barbecue

Printed pants | casual

Feathers Tropicana Pants $179 (Size 14)| Sussan top | Necklaces: Coolbabycool (neon yellow and blue), Ruby Olive (orange) and Sancerre (white) | Peachy shoes

Style 2: Out to lunch with the girls

Printed pants | smart casual - out to lunch

Feathers Tropicana Pants $179 (Size 14) | Calvin Klein chambray shirt (bought in the US) | Salita Matthews necklace | Gorman shoes (last summer)

Style 3: Date night

Printed pants | date night

Feathers Tropicana Pants $179  (Size 14)| Country Road jacket (last summer) | sass & bide neon tank layered over Country Road seamless white tank | Peter Lang necklace (from three years ago) | Renee Blackwell Design ring (green/silver flower) | Colette ring (pink) | Robert Robert heels (from four years ago)

Printed pants styling tips

1. Choose pants that are as streamlined as possible. Yes, there are billowy printed pants out there but my money is on the tapered and/or cropped styles. In the right cuts (and fabric – a little stretch goes a long way) they are most flattering.

2. Wear and style tops to suit your body shape. I love the tucked in look. Just not on me. I’m a go with the flowy kind of girl … particularly when it comes to skimming over my “front bottom”.

3. Let your pants do the talking. A bit like wearing coloured jeans, if this is a trend that scares you, don’t try clashing patterns and styles straight up. Start with making the pants the focal point of your outfit and working back neutrals from there.

4. Darker prints will be more flattering on your legs. The thing I like about a printed pant, dark does not have to mean dreary. That’s great news for people who still want to wear the pants in spring and summer.

More styling inspiration

If you’d like more styling inspiration, head on over to my Printed Pants board on Pinterest. There is a range of looks there – from summer to winter styling and everything in between.

More shopping suggestions

Click on the gallery below and scroll through – these are all available now online. Just click on the caption for a link through to buy or have a closer look.


Do you wear printed pants? If you don’t, do you think you could give this trend a little try? 

* I was gifted these printed pants for editorial consideration, in accordance with my disclosure policy.

Comments 97

  1. that chambray shirt looks amazing on you. better than the yellow & black. you should wear more softer cool tones. they love you

  2. You look terrific, as ever, Nikki. I CANNOT embrace this trend, though. The floral pant just seems a little rah rah skirt to me!! x

  3. whoo hoo…what fabulous ways to wear printed jeans…next time i’m hitting the stores, a pair might be on my list! love your bright accessories too x

  4. I bought some Aztec printed leggings yesterday……black,taupe and neon yellow colors! Rocked them last night with sheer black shirt and ballet flats! In love with printed pants!!

  5. Hi Nikki,

    Do you think these pants would be a good investment, or too pricey for what it is? Any suggestions on what can be worn with them?I am a size 6…

  6. Target have some decent options too … considering they’re probably not going to be an investment piece. But beware too cheap: I tried some $10 floral leggings and Nooooo! A forest of lumpy flowers:) Tailored slim-fit definitely the way to go!

  7. I bought some fab printed harem style pants but without the dropped crotch last year from a cheapy shop. They were peach and blue and I adored them. Unfortunately they fell apart and I haven’t found any replacements yet. I bought some fab black and white jean style trousers from Sussan earlier this year and I adore them. Off to check out your suggestions! 🙂

  8. I think I could give them a go the way you wear them. Definitely the dark, skimming shape is the way to go for me, and my fave look is the one with the dark top, because it’s one I could do with the clothes in my wardrobe. Well apart from the pants! I even have the same shoes. Thanks for giving me the courage and inspiration!

  9. How funny – I just got home and read this after wearing my pattered pants all day! I fell in love with, thought about for a few days, then decided just to go there – slightly safe Sportscraft navy & cream 7/8 pair in a sort of paisly design. Wore today with a short-sleeve cream oversized SABA knit & sandals. Felt so nice in them I may just now be adventurous enough for those great Feathers ones you’re wearing. Go Nikki – you look fab!

  10. Fab post and helpful. I have recently purchased a pair of light weight printed skinny leg harem pants and need more options for wearing them.
    I am in search of more in the light weight material because they are perfect the weather conditions here in the Middle East, jeans are just too hot.

  11. I LOVE me a printed pant! In fact probably boardering on OBSESSED with them (and I’m a dress girl from way back!) I tend to go for the more harem pant style fit… boohoo.com, Zara, Decjuba and Trelise Cooper among a few I have that I LOVE!

  12. Thank you for the mention! And for Taking up the challenge! You look fab 🙂 I new to find a floral that I love first. You have given me inspiration 🙂

  13. I love them on you,they look gorgeous and it’s great how they go with so much that is already in your wardrobe! So yes I could maybe change my mind on them they look comfy and stylish,I would not go a tight pant but the tapered style just may be the ticket for my 40+ body as well.Thank You Nikki for more chic style inspirations.
    I think I had better have a look for a nice pair!

  14. Hmmm, I bought a floral blazer from Decjuba this week, and went for the black background- very happy with that!
    Then saw a woman of a similar vintage as me, in black background floral pants this morning (similar styling to your look 3), and though they looked pretty damn good. Not sure I’m quite ready for that yet, as I really don’t do prints- especially not on my legs… but is the universe telling me something?

  15. Hi Nikki, saw the post title, not interested, until I saw your styling shots! Loved all 3 looks but espec. the casual BBQ outit. Check out Jigsaw – they have a vintage floral capri pant that would also fit the bill. Thanks

  16. Okay you’re just getting plain dangerous to visit now Nikki. I have been completely ignoring the whole printed pants thing and then you pop up looking pretty damn good in a pair. That bloody seed!!….xx oh and p.s is that sussan top you’re wearing in style 1 this years range? It’s exactly the style/shape I’ve been looking for. Thanks…x

  17. Love look 1. Very me. My trouble is finding some in bolder colours but these are great. Love the black background with the bright flowers. I just can’t do pastels…too washed out. I struggle with wondering how to incorporate on trend pastels when I’m just not a pastel person.

  18. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of floral ANYTHING, but…. Nikki you have bloody rocked those pants!! I am a big fan of outfit 1&3, they look really great. I still doubt I’ll add floral to my wardrobe but you my friend look amazing xx

  19. Nikki, the things you work together constantly inspire me to step outside of my comfort zone. I purchased some floral pants recently, and I’ve done look one and a version of look three with a cardigan. I would never have thought to throw a jacket on to ‘style them up’. I must admit, when I purchased my pants I too thought ‘mutton’ but I loved them so much I though who cares…and the fact they were David Lawrence made me feel that they were a little more ‘mature’.

    1. Wendy, I love that you’ve already bought some and that this helps you with more looks from the same pants. I think we have to lose the mutton-lamb thing – it’s really about dressing for our shape and personality – about what makes us FEEL good.

  20. I was umming and aahhin about coloured pants and then my Mum (62 and still pretty funky) turned up in a floral pair. And she was looking fantastic. I decided if she could then i should definitely have a whirl. Now I know where my mutton dressed as lamb tendencies come from (and I mean that as a compliment Mum, on the off chance you actually read fashion blogs as well as wear floral jeans….)

  21. About ten years ago I wore these kind of pants heaps. And when I saw that they were out again I thought, no I’m too old. You have changed my mine, again! Love all three outfits! And will be on the look out for some now. Nikki you have given me so much confidence back in dressing. Thank you. X

  22. You look lovely. I have been looking at these pants but not sure whether to go with a 12 or 14, are they a generous cut? Thanks.

  23. You look gorgeous in all 3 versions. Do you think there’s an age cut off for patterned pants… I have a teen daughter and have hit the big 50? My biggest fear is looking like mutton dressed as lamb!

    1. I don’t Donna. Seriously – with this trend and the coloured jeans trend, I’ve seen women in their 60s looking hot. It’s not like we’re wearing mini skirts and the shape is a classic one. It’s just the print that’s out there.

    2. I am struggling with this too. 49 with a 19 and 17 yr old, both girls. I think they wouldn’t wear the floral jeans so they might be more feasible than the coloured ones.
      It’s such a fine line between looking matronly and looking like you’re wearing things your daughter wears.
      I find shopping a nightmare in this regard.
      I do want to say though that you look lovely in these and the coloured jeans Nikki.

  24. clever..and lovely..I have been humming and ha-ing. I even tried on a floral 3/4 sleeve jacket as a teaser..and my brain freaked..Mr LOVED it. I am overly conservative. But I think you have inspired me…thank you

  25. Wow! Initially I thought you had lost your mind – on the model those jeans looks very ordinary and unfashionable! On you however, I’m LURRRREVING them (especially the BBQ and date night looks) and would even consider “going there” myself now!!!! Gorgeous!

  26. Wow – you look fantastic in all 3 Nikki! Thanks for sharing this – I tried on a pair of floral jeans recently and they looked awful with the top I had on at the time – love the ease of no.1 pic especially – pants, tee and necklace is my uniform xx

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