Chintz & Block Prints

Sharing my newfound affinity for this print from an different place in time & some of my favorite finds.

Since moving to the country, our lifestyle has become much more laid back and relaxed as I’ve touched on in previous posts (except of course, the renovating aspect of it, yikes). As a result, I usually choose an outfit that is both easy to wear, comfortable and elegant; typically a dress. I suppose it’s the rolling field we have for a front yard that inspires the desire to race through the grass with my girls in a flowing voile gown, or perhaps it’s the forest in our backyard that makes me want to dress like a medieval maid enjoying a book in the spotted sunlight by the still icy cold brook while my girls “cook food” in their house of holly and vines. Whatever the reason, I have begun to drift away from structured blazers, skinny jeans, and form fitting dresses, and toward long flowing frocks, natural fabrics, and midi length skirts that ring of a bygone era. It’s true that these styles have always held a favored place in my wardrobe but I’m finding myself gravitating to them more this year than ever, particularly those in chintz and block printed fabrics.

I’ve always loved florals, stripes, and intricate decorative elements, but this year I just can’t get enough of these them! If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, block printing and chintz are a type of textile design using a wooden block to paint, print or stain bright colorful dye onto light/white fabric. The technique and textile originated in Calicut, India where the name Calico is derived, and were brought into Europe during the 1600-1700s. The style became immensely popular and was used in draperies, bedding, and wall hangings before becoming a sartorial mainstay. Though machines are used today, you can still find hand block-printed textiles that are made employing the same methods that have been used for 300 years from brands like Pink City Prints, Sue Sartor, and Day Dress. To me, having items that are made by people who are passionate about their craft, utilize high quality materials, and have a historical connection is priceless. Thankfully, these garments are much more affordable than that. And it’s a good thing too, because by the end of this year, I foresee at least a dozen more dresses in block printing and chintz brightening up my closet!

My first dress purchase of this year was this dress by Louisiana designer, Sue Sartor. Known best for her “perfect southern dress,” the Paloma, her designs are hand made and boast a variety of ornate chintzes, lively color palettes, and easy everyday silhouettes. Not lacking any amount of femininity, the Paloma also possesses two of my favorite details; billowing statement sleeves and a defined waistline. The sash is optional which makes this dress a great maternity and beyond choice, or for lazy days spent lounging around the garden at home. It’s elegant enough – so elegant – that it wouldn’t be the slightest bit out of place at an upscale restaurant, yet is perfectly suited for a day at the beach. It truly is a, yep you know what I’m about to say, versatile piece! You can score a 10% discount with email sign-up, and I do highly recommend you take advantage!

In addition to these brands, I’ve included a number of block printed and chintz items below, from homewares, to beach cover ups, and at a variety of price points. Whatever your travel plans are this year, a fun and colorful chintz or block printed item is a necessity!

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Pink toile dress

Pink block print mini dress

Floral chintz blouse

Pink pareo

Block print scarf

Pearl button chintz jacket

Tie shoulder dress

Embroidered chintz one piece swimsuit

Ruffle tote

Yellow printed dress

Long sleeve yellow midi dress

Green tie shoulder dress

Green floral corset top (dress version)

Trellis ballet flats

Aqua block print floral dress

Blue & White trellis

Block print border mini dress

Bow back chinoiserie blouse

Scalloped ribbon photo frame

Blue and white chintz midi skirt

Purple block print mini dress

Shop: My dress & in baby blue.

I love the femininity and the timelessness of this print. Just as suited to the beach as it is for your best Sunday dress, a chintz or block print dress is one capsule piece that I will forever have in my wardrobe. The heirloom quality of my Sue Sartor dress means it will physically withstand years of loving enjoyment before being passed down to my daughters, and that’s what mindfully curating a wardrobe is all about. I hope you’ve found a few pieces in this post to add to your capsule wardrobe, too!

xo, Mia

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