03/07/2012 07:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Wear Paisley: Lessons For A Modern-Day Lady (PHOTOS)

Paisley is a print that's spanned the ages -- worn just as well by '70s rock chicks like Patti Smith as it was by '50s princesses like Grace Kelly. It is indeed a timeless fabric, a fact made even more apparent upon seeing its recent reincarnation by today's designers. All over the spring 2012 runways of Jil Sander, Jonathan Saunders and Stella McCartney, the pretty scarf-print's been reworked to reflect the sleek and tailored, yet daring, woman of the aughts. Here are a couple of key lessons to keep in mind when trying out the look:

1. Wearing paisley on loose, silk trousers serves as the perfect anchor for a casual-cool ensemble.

2. To add some flair, try it on as one full outfit, pairing a sheer, paisley-printed blouse with an airy pair of colorful paisley shorts.

3. When worn on something like a sharp shift dress, paisley gives off a sophisticated vibe.

As you can see, this is one surprisingly versatile print, giving you plenty of room to go from '70s edge to '50s refinement to a mixed-and-matched look that's truly of-the-moment.

Getty/GoRunway, Art by Bobby Doherty

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Our series, "Lessons For A Modern-Day Lady," explores ways to update your wardrobe and achieve that ladylike look that was so prevalent on the spring 2012 runways. This season calls for more demure, prim and proper attire that harkens back to the '50s and early '60s when longer hemlines, pastel peplum, lace, feathers and mule heels were de rigueur. To master this cool, yet elegant trend, we'll be dispensing some helpful tips for looking chic, sophisticated and fabulously feminine.