Bold and eye-catching optical prints for this winter

DO not adjust your eyes – these stylish looks are made to be stared at

An outfit from Valentino's ready-to-wear fall-winter 2015-2016 fashion collection. Picture: PA
An outfit from Valentino's ready-to-wear fall-winter 2015-2016 fashion collection. Picture: PA

IF YOU want to rebel against pared-back minimalism, this season’s optical prints trend could be just the multi-dimensional answer. Prints, of course, are nothing new – but these aren’t your average florals or checks; they’re geometric designs that virtually make your eyes go funny, if you look at them long enough.

Remember those mind-boggling “magic eye” optical illusions? Think of this as the type that you can wear (wallflowers need not apply). Besides unknowingly hypnotising colleagues and friends, however, optical prints are pretty flattering too and, providing you pick the right pattern, work for all body shapes.

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“Optical prints are surprisingly easy to wear because no matter what your body shape, they help to disguise a multitude of sins and problem areas,” says Veronique Henderson of Colour Me Beautiful ( “The trick is to find the best pattern to suit your figure and colouring.”

Etienne Deroeux Short Sleeved Blouse and Etienne Deroeux Pleated Skirt, available from La Redoute. Picture: PA

Tempted to give it a try? Start your optical search with our eye-wateringly good breakdown.


Two stark colours make far more impact than multiple tones, which is why black and white are the ultimate optical print duo. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unconventional patterns. Valentino took checkerboards to the next level on the autumn/winter 15 catwalk, mixing up squares, stripes and diamonds all in the same monochrome dress.

“Black and white prints work best on people with a clear colouring, like salt and pepper, white or grey hair and grey, blue or green eyes,” Henderson advises.

Aan outfit by designer Jonathan Saunders for his Autumn/Winter 2015 show at London Fashion Week. Picture: PA

“High, contrasting colours help balance their look.”

Etienne Deroeux Pour La Redoute Pleated Skirt, £69 (

Limited Edition 3/4 Sleeve Bardot Column Bodycon Dress, £29.50 (

The Geometric Scarf, £95 (


Embrace opticals via a more subtle approach using multiple muted or pastel tones that don’t scream “statement”.

Inspired by this season’s nod to the Sixties and Seventies? If you’re looking for more of a retro spin, this is the colour palette for you. Look to Gucci, who showcased earthy prints combining taupes, browns and burnt orange.

“Optical prints in muted shades are ideal if your colouring is soft or light, as you don’t wear contrast as well,” Henderson says.

“You will have blonde hair with soft eyes and a mid-tone complexion. Stick to tone-on-tone colours with little contrast for the most flattering effect.”

Very Geo A-line Skirt, £25 (

Related Marie Jacket, £195 (

Carlo Pazolini Geo Court Shoes, £165 (


Inject some colour into your winter wardrobe with Crayola-inspired combinations.

With statement print and colour in the mix, keep the rest of your look stripped back with barely-there jewellery and neutral accessories, so all the focus is on your optical piece.

Henderson says: “To wear bright prints, you need to be able to wear contrasting colours with confidence.

“If you have dark hair and bright eyes, then optical prints in bright colours, such as bright pink and lime or aqua, can look amazing.”

Pixel Print Peplum Top, £30 (

Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Optical Stripe Cross-Body Bag, £175 (


Still wary about look-at-me opticals? Henderson has these tips to pull off bold prints like a pro:

• The key to wearing pattern successfully is to choose one that is in proportion to your body shape.

• If you’re tall with a large bone structure, a bold print will work brilliantly. Similarly, if you’re petite, find a pattern that is on a smaller scale.

• Consider the type of pattern. If you have a curvy figure, a bold pattern with geometric lines is not going to work with your shape, opt for something that has circles or swirls.

• Strong geometric prints tend to look best on people with straight, as opposed to curvy, lines.