Go print crazy as patterned fashion is big in Norwich shops

Cannot wait until spring? It's easy to refresh your look by getting one of spring's printed looks now, says EMMA HARROWING.

Prints are always big news for spring. Flowers, birds, tribal, animal and the obligatory nautical stripe are once again in the new collections on the high street.

The emphasis this year is on colourful prints. Designers such as Alexander McQueen, Prada and Burberry all featured bright prints on the catwalks at the major international shows.

If the thought of this colour and print tidal wave coming to a high street store near you fills you with dread, you might be surprised to know that prints can hide a multitude of unwanted lumps and bumps, can create a illusion of height and can be used to draw the eye away from the parts of your body you don't like.

But before you shower yourself with head to toe pattern, there are a few rules you should know:

Wearing pattern on either your top or bottom half will draw attention to that area – so if you dislike your hips and bottom keep pattern on your top half and vice-versa.

Generally bigger people should stick to larger prints and petite people should stick to small patterns. Wearing head to toe of the same pattern – such as a printed maxi dress – can make you look taller and slimmer.

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There are two ways to wear colourful prints this spring. The first is mixing and clashing patterns. This trend was big last year and with the revival of the 90s grunge look, mixing tie-dye with florals and animal print is a sure thing in the fashion stakes.

Make the clashing look work for you by keeping it simple with two different floral printed items – such as a vest top and a pair of trousers – and wear with neutral tan or black shoes. Alternatively pick two colours such as brown and cream and mix your prints, such as a striped top with a leopard print skirt. Again, keep your accessories neutral.

The second look is the pared down look or the contrasting look. Get this look by picking one hero patterned item and keeping the rest of your look plain. This look is good if your top and bottom half are different sizes, as wearing plain clothes on your bigger half and pattern on your smaller half can make you look more in proportion.

To give this look a little bit of a 2012 twist try mixing different fabric and textures such as a patterned silk skirt with a cotton plain top and a knitted plain jumper. This layered look is perfect for wearing now with a pair of opaque tights and boots.

Prints and patterns are made for you to play around with to create you own look. It looks like spring is going to be a fun season.

Take a look at some of the ways you can wear print in the Life Matters photo gallery. Click the photo gallery link at the top right hand column of this page.

Don't mix next week's fashion pages in the paper as the 90s grunge revival gets us reaching for our old faded band t-shirts.