Stylist’s advice: how to make patterned activewear flattering

patterned tights, style advice, how to wear patterned tights

Are you one of the many ladybirds out there with patternophobia, the extremely technical and not at all fictitious term for those afraid of or harbouring a severe dislike for patterned activewear?

Good news is eye-catching prints can be flattering if you engage a few expert tricks and tips in your styling, which is lucky given the plethora of fabulous printed workout pieces on offer this season (hello, THE UPSIDE!)

Sporteluxe spoke to three expert Australian fashion stylists for their best advice on how to rock patterns, from digital to leopard and floral. Go forth and Body Attack in all your printed glory!

patterned tights, style advice, how to wear patterned tights


Pip Edwards, Design Director for General Pants (and fitness enthusiast!)

  • When it comes to print, I personally like to keep print to a crop top, so it can be as bold as you like with a block colour or black legging to tone it all down. Vice versa, when wearing a loud print legging; keep it neutral on top and wear black, just to balance out the statement.
  • If you are really feeling confident, then you can wear a patterned crop and legging together – I think its always important to have some flesh between the two and show some skin which is great for breaking up print.
  • When it comes to picking the right pattern, I always make sure the panel lines compliment the print design and also compliment my shape – you wouldn’t want the print to amplify the areas women are most conscious of, like our thighs and bottom.


patterned tights, style advice, how to wear patterned tights


Leda Ross, fashion stylist

  • From pop art and animal patterns to swirls or funky geometrics, printed spandex pants can certainly add flair to your derriere! But avoid pants with busy patterns or horizontal prints if you’re overly curvy in this department. Instead, stick to colour-blocked, darker pants and team with a vibrant print top.
  • Short legs? No problem – choose printed pants with a vertical pattern to create an illusion of length. Slim down thunder thighs with workout pants that feature darker blocks of colour on the inner or outer thighs.


patterned tights, style advice, how to wear patterned tights


Ashlea Holdsworth, Head Designer, THE UPSIDE

  • Don’t be afraid to clash prints that work well together or wear matching sets as an outfit. This works well with subtle prints like a dark-based camo print.
  • If you are after a more conservative take on prints, then darker-based prints are a flattering option. Look for prints panelled with plain colours such as a contrast black vertical panels at the side of the leg or printed contrast stripes – it’s super flattering and offers a good option to an all over printed leg.



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Kate Herisson
The world of high fashion can sometimes take itself a little too seriously, so Kate combines her love of style, humour and the written word to take readers on a journey of sartorial satire to inject a little fun back into fashion and beauty. Her background in magazines has enabled her to cultivate relationships with some of the biggest beauty brands in the country, allowing her to expand her breadth of knowledge vastly, from lipstick to skin care innovation that she eagerly shares with her readers. When she’s not dipping her left shoulder at the end of an imaginary runway, she can be found doing yoga, running, dreaming of her next travel adventure or drinking tea.