{Sewing For Boys} Incorporating Floral Prints in Boy's Attire

May is Floral month over on Project Run & Play - and I was asked to contribute a boy's floral post. Unfortunately it won't be published as scheduled because of a question of the appropriateness of taking boy's sewing inspiration from men's fashion - but that won't stop me from sharing my research and tips with my own readers! I hope you all enjoy and employ these tips to add some floral influences to your son's wardrobe. Check it out!

Last month, I dressed my little man in a very Kentucky-Derby-esque outfit for Easter: Chambray - Check!, Straw Fedora - Check!, Bowtie - Check!

Apparently, this is the Richmond custom - though I had no idea! (The Easter hat game in this city is STRONG, lemme tell ya.)

Anyhow - I was surprised, because over and over again folks remarked on the use of floral in his outfit. I hadn't realized that young boys + floral simply wasn't done - even in a community as progressive as mine. The enthusiasm his outfit received though told me it's a "thing" more people would do.. if only they knew how. 

So E-man and I are gonna share our secrets! Here are 5 easy ways to introduce floral into a boy's wardrobe:

1. Find the right floral.

Squint your eyes and consider the fabric. Are these colors the little boy in your life would wear anyway? No? Put it back and keep looking. Just because we're buying floral, doesn't mean we need to abandon the rest of our boy-dressing sensibilities. (This garment, after all, does still need to be worn with the rest of his existing wardrobe!)

The most "neutral florals" - if there is such a thing - feature standard fare little boy colors like neons, cobalt blue, and fire-engine-red. Doesn't mean you can't introduce additional colors, but the dominant one(s) should ring true to your little man and his personality. (I generally believe this to be true of anybody I'm sewing for, by the way.)

2. Keep print size in mind.

A good rule of thumb is "the larger the print, the larger the garment." Accessories like bowties, suspenders, and pocket squares can rock a floral micro-print no problem - but a WHOLE SHIRT? Way too overwhelming. When you're taking fashion risks, your garments should attract attention - but not because they're a total distraction. 

If you're sewing a bigger garment, like a pair of shorts or a shirt, scale your print accordingly. It will project intentionality into your stylish dude's new duds.

3. Stick to Classic Silhouettes.

Look. Floral is your "fashion risk." No need to compound it with other fringe-styles like harem pants, for example. (Though a savvy stylist could totally pull those off - I hope someone here tries it!) Avoid having competing design elements in your outfit. Stick to t-shirts, polos, button-ups, and shorts to let your floral print shine 

4. Break it up.

You followed the big print/big garment rule - but now you're worried it's making a big statement, too, especially on a smaller frame. Easiest fix is to visually break it up. You can "build this feature in" by using contrasting bindings/plackets, or add it after the fact with layering pieces. In the cooler months that might mean a jacket/blazer overtop, or in the warmer months you can cut the visual size of a button-up in half by tucking it in - or wearing it open with a graphic t underneath.  Above, the jacket and tie each chop up a big print floral shirt into smaller, more palatable pieces for the eye to feast on.

5. Find Balance by thinking "Big Picture"

The floral garment is only one piece of your child's outfit. If the scales lean heavily toward the "way too feminine" or "way too grandma;s curtains" sides for your personal tastes - use other youthful, or traditionally masculine elements to balance it out. Baseball caps, worn/ripped jeans, bold-colored shoes or laces (My husband STILL talks about his favorite orange sneakers as a kid). Get creative! 

Lets see these tips in action, shall we? Here's my 4 year old rocking a full floral chambray shirt. It's blue and white - standard in his wardrobe. It's a classic silhouette - the  Blank Slate Prepster Pullover - also common boy-wear. And the "feminine" floral print is balanced with the bright orange shorts that are unmistakably "boy."  

And while the print is smaller than I'd usually consider on a garment this size - it's white/denim color scheme (and some forced-fading on my part with a spray bottle of bleach and many rounds through the wash) read very neutral overall whereas a more colorful micro print may not

Alternately - I would pair this shirt with pale gray chinos and a neon green pocket square for a more formal look - perhaps a daytime wedding or even just to church. (It'd be a great departure from the usual "whatever blend of superhero apparel we can coerce him to leave the house in" he usually wears! His Sunday School teachers would hardly recognize him.) 

So what do you think?? Would you dress your son in floral? What styling strategy would you use? I'd love to hear your tips or ideas in the comments below! 

Related Reading: There are more tips on mastering fashion risks in boy style on my earlier post, {Sewing for Boys} How to Use "Unconventional" Prints