Why Paisley Print Never Dies?
Paisley print, the instantly recognisable pattern resembling a fancy teardrop or tadpole. Some have even described the shape as the yin or yang, kidney, lotus, mango, even a dragon! Regardless, due to its distinct design, you probably know exactly what we’re referring to.
The origin of paisley goes way back with a history almost as complicated as the design. Most people have strong opinions regarding the pattern. Some think its uniqueness is unmatched by any other design pattern ever. On the other hand, others have decided that it’s hideous and should never see the light of day!
Despite how you feel about it, you may grow a new appreciation for the motif after learning its history. Just in case you do, we’ll even give you some styling tips for wearing it!
The illustrious paisley pattern has been around for two thousand years. It first popped up in Persia, more specifically, in what was known as the Sasanian Empire. Today, we see this region as the Indian-Pakistani border. The paisley design was initially called “boteh”, meaning leaf cluster or flower. The term “buta” was sometimes used as well which means bud.
The paisley print became globally popular in the early 1700s when the East India Company arrived on the scene. They wanted to capitalise on the popularity of Kashmir shawls (made from goat hair). Everyone respected and adored the shawls due to the complexity and difficulty involved in creating them.
When the 19th century rolled around, the Scottish town of Paisley started reproducing the pattern. They noted its popularity after soldiers returned from the colonies with cashmere wool shawls from India. They were able to mass produce shawls with the creation of the Jacquard loom. As you probably guessed, the pattern became known from then on after the small town.
The town of Paisley now has a paisley museum which displays a vast collection of rare paisley textiles. (The museum is currently under renovation and is expected to reopen by 2022).
Paisley in the 20th century
The paisley print took over in the UK and US in the 1960s, largely thanks to John Lennon’s paisley pattern Rolls Royce that he designed after the Beatles returned from their Indian tour. Prince created an even bigger explosion in its popularity when he started to wear it, and then his song Paisley Park was released. Even his recording label, Paisley Park Records had the patterned shape in the name. By 1985, paisley was as much a superstar as The Beatles and Prince themselves.
How To Wear Paisley Like A Pro
Paisley is a versatile pattern with many people wearing fashion with the design and looking good. The aesthetic has an incredibly retro feel; it’s stood the test of time because it can translate your playful side while looking distinguished at the same time. You can mix and match it in so many different ways, and it works for dressy or casual occasions.
That being said, you do need some skill to pull it off. You certainly can’t just throw on the loudest, brightest, most paisley covered clothes you can find and expect to look good. No, please, just no! Like any other patterned design, you've got to know how to wear it!
Here are a few tips for wearing the famous paisley print well:
Wear it with solids
If you have a paisley print top, wear it with some solid coloured bottoms. There’s nothing wrong with contrasting colours, like a blue paisley shirt with some white pants. Try matching shades such as a black and grey paisley blouse with a black skirt.
Multicolour and Muted Fabrics
A big complaint people have against paisley is that it’s too bright. The fantastic thing about paisley though is the endless design options. It doesn’t have to be loud or bright. Choosing a single colour with multiple shades within the fabric won’t look like a colour explosion.
If you want to play it safe, use muted or toned down shades. These are easier to mix and match plus they can add more options to your wardrobe.
If you’re feeling brave, try out stripes or checks. Before some of you start chucking tomatoes this way, let us explain! Look, as long as you use different sized patterns, it will look fine. A good example is a small-scale paisley pattern with large-scale stripes.
Large-scale paisley can be pretty busy, and people are more likely to see you coming. If that’s what you’re going for though, more power to you! Small-scale, however, tends to be easier to mix with other patterns or designs.
A Dab of Paisley
If you’re still not a fan of paisley, try experimenting by adding a small touch of it within your outfits.
Even now in today’s society paisley endures as a popular fashion choice. It can add sophistication and class with a touch of mystery and fun. Hopefully, if you’ve doubted the fashion potential of paisley, we’ve brought you to the dark side (or bright side?). After all, it has lasted well over a thousand years, that has to count for something!
Article by Henkerman Hangers, a proud sponsor of Cazinc The Label.
Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching. Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.
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