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Traditional pattern from all over the World are often summerized as global inspired style. This term is missleading. Actually, it is one country’s, region’s or cultural group’s traditional clothing decoration in form of a print or weave pattern. Read which of these ethnic or tribal variations or inspirations work best to look ageless for years to come.

  1. Globally Inspired Looks Pop up Every Couple of Years
  2. What Works
  3. What Doesn’t Work

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Globally inspired looks pop up every couple of years

Global inspiration is a perennial trend, almost a classic, at least for the woman with Bohemian Style. This means when you see something awesome on sale in great quality and it fits your shape and style, go for it, and have it for years to come.

Interestingly, many of these traditional pieces, prints or patterns are meanwhile mainstream. For example, we consider wearing a paisley print an element of British Classic style.

In some cases, the entire garment made it into mainstream. Just think wearing a kimono or a tunic.

The photos below show an American West favorite print on a western high-low cut. More on styling crazy print at the link.

ikat print dress with high low hem, pumps, belt, sunnies


style book author in Native American inspired print dress
Lulu Roe print dress with high-low hem, pantyhose, Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, Confidential layering top, Hermes collier de chien bangle ( all own), cross-boddy bag c/o JORD and sunglasses c/o Sungait

What works

The trick to look ageless in ethnic inspired clothing is to go for a sophisticated western look. Here are my secrets.

    Go for pieces that have a clean western style like an A-line dress, sheath, wrap dress, fit-and-flare dress or shift and an ethnic print. Then style them with western items for a sophisticated look like in the example outfits in this post.

India inspired prints

style over 40 woman in Sigrid Olsen designer dress with ethnic Indian print
Sigrid Olsen designer a-line dress with ethnic print c/o HSN with own Neo Tango sandals and statement necklace.


fashion over 40 woman in wrap dress with ethnic print
Samantha Brown travel wrap dress with ethnic print c/o HSN with own Liz Claiborne open-toe pumps, and Longchamp bag


Scottish Tartan

over 40 fashion woman wearing a tartan print fit-and-flare dress
Tartan print fit-and-flare dress c/o Voodoo Vixen paired with own GNW Luxe cashmere sweater, GNW tights and Clarks booties for a warm sophisticated winter look with this ethnic Scottish pattern


    On sales, look for jackets or coats in an ethnic pattern, but western cut. Pair these items with simple western pieces for an ageless style.

Pacific Islands motifs

Fashion blogger Nicole wearing the global trend in an ageless style
Pineapple Moon Hawaiian print blouse with BCBG leather capri, Celine tote (all own) and mules c/o Vionic


    When the tie-dye style is a trend subtle tie-dye dresses or skirts and accessories like scarfs are great ethnic pieces to buy. The former two are great for the beach and weekend, the latter can up a simple jeans with white T-shirt look on a cool summer day. More on the history of tie-dye for outfit inspirations.


    Tunics with subtle beading or embroidery are great choices too. Pair them with jeans or dress pants and pumps for an effortlessly chic look.
fashion over 40 woman in jeans and an embroidered ethnic style tunic
J Brand skinnies with Indian embroidered ethnic tunic, Christian Louboutin pumps, Hermes Medor watch and Longchamp bag (all own) for an ageless style with global inspiration


    Another great way to achieve ageless style with ethnic pieces is to go for an eclectic style with pattern mix. See the examples below.

Alpine prints, pattern and stripes

Geiger Dirndl, Charhartt button-down shirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Tissot watch, Anne Klein T-strap pumps, DIY necklace



over 50 years old style blogger wearing a traditional dress as skirt with an ethnic belt
GNW cardigan, Geiger dirndl, Juicy Couture nude cork plateau sandals, Hermes collier de chien bangle and leather cuff, Tissot watch,  ethnic metal belt, Ray Ban sunglasses, and 3.1 Philip Lim bag (all own)

What doesn’t work

Shapeless clothes in global prints or pattern will make you look old. Furthermore, global inspired clothes styled like in the 1970s make you look old fashioned. Do I have to mention embellishment or embroidery overload?

The same applies for dressing like you are from a specific country unless there is a reason to do so like for instance,  Chinese New Year’s celebration that you attend, going to an Oktoberfest at a local brewery or in Munich, celebrating Diwali or participating in an International Friendship Day, just to mention a few occasions.


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Photos: G. Kramm

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