Tips for Turning Your Wardrobe Totally Tropical

Blogger Rachel Turner on how to wear Hawaiian prints - without looking like Elvis Presley

Summer’s finally here and it’s time to throw off my drab winter colours and get some colour into my wardrobe. And what better way to inject some instant sunshine than with a totally tropical Hawaiian print?

Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2012
Luckily, there’s no need to dig out my dad’s favourite holiday shirt from the back of his cupboard, either. From shoes and bags to T-shirts and dresses, these big, kitsch patterns are everywhere – and there’s something to suit even my measly budget!

At the top end, Stella McCartney has stunning, symmetrical floral prints on shirts, dresses and trousers in her Liberty collection. Prices start at about £130 for a T-shirt though, so may have to wait until I win the lottery (or marry Prince Harry) for that one.

More reasonably priced is new designer (and Grazia favourite) Maarten Van Der Horst’s collection for Topshop;  he has large, retro patterns appearing on his tailored blazers and shorts. Elsewhere on the high street, some of my favourite brands feature beautiful humming birds, flowers and palm trees in their summer collections.

So how can I go for the full floral effect and still have money left over for that all-important cocktail in a pineapple glass? One way to give your wardrobe a tropical makeover could be by credit card, especially if you've got a card that offers rewards as you spend and you always clear the balance by the end of the month.

Hopefully, wearing the trend will make me feel like I’m on holiday every day, but won’t make me look like a garishly-dressed tourist. So follow my top tips on the best ways I’ve found to wear this fun fashion:

Maarten van der Horst Spring/Summer 2012
Keep it simple
Unless you’re incredibly brave (or a fashion student in Hoxton), it’s probably best to go for one print at a time. For example, if you’re rocking a big statement piece like Stella McCartney’s wallet-busting floral printed trousers, keep your top half simple with a white T-shirt or tank top.

Don’t just keep it for the beach
You can wear Hawaiian prints in the office without getting sacked. To look really professional, choose tailored lines and muted florals.  I’d wear something like a printed chiffon skirt with a smart shirt or tailored blazer, to ensure my boss only takes me into her office to chat about where I got it from, rather than give me a lecture on appropriate work wear.

Don’t feel brave enough?
If your clothes are normally ultra-conservative you may feel a little daunted at the thought of this retro fashion, but there are ways to get a slice of tropical sunshine without going all-out. Keep your print to your accessories by looking for a bag with a big flower print, or a pair of hibiscus flower earrings. You could even just keep the look to your feet, with a pair of Hawaiian flip flops or some floral wedges.

This is a Sponsored Post by Guest Blogger Rachel Turner on behalf of Sainsbury’s Bank. 

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