“FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD,” the ancient Roman poet Virgil once proclaimed. And judging by the bright graphic runway displays this summer, so does fashion. Designers like Emilio Pucci play up bold patterns in funky paisley maxi-dresses, while Prada and others combine jungle-inspired prints with thick stripes.

The key to pulling off a big print without dipping into Magnum, P.I. country is remaining playful. Our few sunny weeks leave no time to get stuffy with a superserious houndstooth. Instead, think oversize floral, bright plaids, and messy geometric lines.

Next, keep it light, literally. Big prints on heavy fabrics turn clothing into curtains faster than you can say “Julie Andrews.” Look to airy cottons for breezy comfort and sheer chiffons to keep the pattern from overwhelming the person. Fellas, the same rules apply to you—-minus the floral and chiffon, of course.

And finally, if what you see in the mirror looks even remotely luau-appropriate, turn around and hula your hips right back to the dressing room and try again.