How to wear the paisley print in 2019
A brief history of paisley
Paisley pattern might be associated with exotic, faraway culture, but its commercialisation can actually be traced to the Scottish town which gave its name to the printed fabric. Originally designed from Persian artwork, the teardrop motif travelled from Iran to Britain via India and was adopted by British people in the 17th century. At the time, it was still cheaper and quicker to produce locally so the weaving hub in Scotland started selling shawls to the West until they became old-fashion at the end of the 19th century.
That was until Balenciaga and Givenchy brought the print back in the 1950s to adorn organza ball gowns and silk headscarves. And when the hippie movement started in the late 60s, paisley found a new emblematic place in the British rock’n’roll scene and bohemian circles. While the print kept going in and out of fashion, it could be spotted recently on the catwalk of brands such as Etro and Isabel Marant. No need to say that the original print has been through many updates and can now be found in a multitude of colours and variations.
How to wear it
For those growing up in the 1970s, you might hesitate before wearing your long bohemian dresses again and we totally get that. 2019 has brought a fresh wind to the printed fabric with more tailored silhouettes and staples such as a boxy shirt and fitted trousers, and reworked in luxurious fabrics to elevate an outfit.
If a full patterned look is still too much for you, scatter the print on smaller items like jewellery or embroidered shawls – in homage to its heyday – that you can easily layer over a black dress or tie around your flared denim.
Accessorise a paisley blouse with a few 70s accessories such as a woven shoulder bag and a pair of suede loafers that are the perfect fit for a Sunday spent in the park. That way you can sport the retro trend without being over the top.
But if you really want to embrace your inner hippie, a fluid paisley dress works great with cowboy boots, a waist belt and leather jacket for a modern take on the trend.