When considering an abstract print dress, the key thing to keep in mind is that less is more. Now, as our celebrity examples show, obviously we don't mean you should restrain yourself in the pattern department¬--the bolder, the better!¬--but brevity is important when trying this trend. Notice how all of the above ladies are wearing brief frocks with high hemlines? There's a reason for that: these patterns can err on the overwhelming side, so make sure to pick pieces that are relatively short and sleek.
Until the weather warms up (comment not applicable to Southern California residents), be sure to follow in Claudia Schiffer's footsteps and wear an abstract print dress with matte black opaques and ankle boots. Schiffer, seen above in Peter Pilotto's Turning Dress ($693 on sale) at the British Fashion Awards in London last month, isn't the only one who likes to pair the print with stockings. We also noticed that another Germanic beauty¬--Diane Kruger, of course¬--added some hosiery to her short-sleeved mini at ELLE's annual Women in Hollywood Tribute. The actress wore a straight-from-the-runway look when she turned up in a Balenciaga Drape Front Dress worn with Swiss-dot sheer tights.
Of course, if you're more daring or simply like a barer look, you can skip the legwear all together, as Leighton Meester and Kristen Bell both did. Meester opted for a Marios Schwab Thunderstorm Segment Dress to celebrate You Know You Want It, a style book by Gossip Girl's costume designer, Eric Daman. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Bell sported an semi-zipped Vena Cava Healer Nun Dress ($480) over a Guess Invisible Children Tee ($26) for a party at the Guess store in Beverly Hills.
For those of you who haven't already taken the abstract print plunge (or even if you have), we found a few excellent examples of the trend for your shopping edification. If your prefer long-sleeved styles, BCBG's Ruched-Front Dress ($148) or Miss Milne's Diamond Print Sharp Shoulder Dress ($128) will certainly intrigue. Another amazing option is 3.1 Phillip Lim's Bubble Print Silk Dress ($650). We adore its circular print; it has a hint of the Balenciaga spirit, yet maintains its own identity beautifully. Of course, if you prefer a more romantic option, we've got some suggestions for you too! At the top of our list are the investment-worthy Watercolor Tie Waist Dress ($1595) and Knotted T Shirt Dress ($1290), which are both by Thakoon and showcase a soft abstract floral print¬--truly stunning. On a similarly arty note, we would also like to point out two final painterly prints¬--DVF's Francia Dress ($398) in Brushstrokes Black and French Connection's Summer Fix Dress ($158)¬--as both are sweet treats that will look wonderful well into summer. Whatever you pick, we hope you find your prints charming!
Photo of Kristen Bell, from Getty Images; Photo of Diane Kruger, from Splash; Photo of Claudia Schiffer, from Bauer Griffin.