How to Pick a Slimming Print


Many people are a bit scared of prints, as they’ve been told that prints will make them look larger. This is not always the case, it really depends on the type of print.

There are two main types of prints, sparse and dense.

Density of Prints


Sparse prints have the elements spread further apart, these are the ‘fattening’ prints as your eye is drawn individually to each element of the print.

Dense prints have the elements closely packed together, so there is no obvious start or stop so they eye scans over the print but doesn’t stop and look at any one element. These are the slimming prints and are fabulous for hiding details and areas of your body where want the eye to skim over rather than focus upon

Also notice if the print has a focal point.

Focal Points of Prints

These focal points will draw your attention. If you’re not sure, shut your eyes and then open them, see where your gaze is drawn. That will be the focal point of the print. Is it on a body part you’re not keen on people noticing (for example, in the dress on the left, the pink leopard, the focal point is on the thighs, not a great place if you are an A, 8 or X shape).

And then there is the negative space.  That’s the area between the print.  Sometimes it’s not the print that becomes the focal point, but the negative space.

Negative Space


So again, it’s always wise to do the blink test, as described above to see where it makes you want to look.   All these elements of prints, density, focal points and negative space are important when choosing a flattering print for your body shape.


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  • Thank you for this lovely post! I was just about to buy a floral print dress online and will now consciously look for a small, dense print. You kind of saved me Imogen – was just about to pick a blue and white sparsely printed dress that I now notice has prints where i don’t want to draw attention!

  • Thanks Imogen, great information. Quick question regarding the “negative space”. Because our eyes are drawn to the black in the image, and working with the principle that dark colours recede, would the bust and the thighs look smaller than, say, solid red/orange in the same spot? So, I guess what I’m saying, would solid dark colours help to reduce the “size” of particular areas when used in an overall pattern?

  • Thank you Imogen. You are a treasure, in knowing so much about types of colour, shapes of people etc. Being an A shape, I was just about to add a braid trim to the hem of a casual linen jacket and due to your blog, I realized that I needed to add a vertical trim instead. Looks so much better.

    As to the comment about “it doesn’t matter what you wear”, I think of your work as Colour Therapy. Knowing that I am a Spring, like a garden of poppies, I too can harmonize like Nature does — and it makes life BEAUTIFUL. What a joy just to look at my wardrobe and bead hangers with all my favourite colours, which make me feel wonderful. For there is a personal resonance with these colour vibrations.

    Great artists always use the colour palettes designed by Mother Nature. I realized years ago that the branches of each tree are in the same palette as the flowers. For example, pink flowers and taupe branches . Most Australian native bushes are in the Autumn palette, as you know. The paint companies know this very well. Nature has done a great job and we can emulate her and bring much joy to ourselves and others. Please add this to the front pages of your blogs. Everyone needs to appreciate this fabulous aspect of Life. We can use this information when buying presents for others, decorating, landscaping, gardening, sewing, buying clothes, etc.

    I would say to everyone ….. be like the flowers and radiate your unique beauty.

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