It may be a few weeks until the Chelsea Flower Shower opens for business, but when it comes to style, florals are already in bloom. More prevalent than spring daisies, floral prints have, over the past few years, turned into the pattern equivalent of the Little Black Dress; always in style, always available and always (if you get it right) flattering. But, what’s the best way to wear them? The problem with floral prints is that they can be a bit twee. A flowery tea-dress on a hot 20-year old with a rocking body looks great, but a flowery tea dress on a slightly (ahem) older woman can just look a little too homespun, a little too girly, a little too (shudder) age-ing. So, to avoid the trap of looking OLD (which, lets face it, we all want to do) and instead look great like the perennially chic Olivia Palermo (pictured above), here are the florals you should be thinking about this spring…
If you’re thinking high-fashion, then London-based designer Erdem is king of the Contemporary Floral, using prints in a modern, vibrant way. Whereas traditional floral prints tend to be overtly feminine and very easy to recognise using realistic petal shapes and colours, contemporary florals tend to have more depth with obscure patterns and maybe a shot of neon or black. They can also have a more abstract feel with impressionist or cubist-inspired prints, and even a pyschedelic twist to their design. Wear on their own or clash with another print a la Olivia Palermo. If you want to do floral without feeling like you’ve jumped out of a Laura Ashley catalogue circa 1976, then this is the way to do it.
When I talk about traditional florals, I basically mean overtly feminine florals. The kind of clothes that will never be called edgy, but are chic enough to avoid falling into the twee trap. This jacket from Zara is the perfect example of how you can do traditional florals in a fresh way. The pattern is recognisably floral, but the bright yellow and red give it a current feel. Alternatively, this turquoise dress from Reiss ticks the trend boxes with its pastel hue and applique flowers. While this 3.1 Phillip Lim would look amazing with a pair of cropped trousers or, if you are wishing to punk it up (another spring/summer trend), a slick leather pencil skirt.
Vampire Florals are dark, sexy and made for evenings. Maybe they incorporate a skull motif woven into a floral pattern, like this Alexander McQueen scarf or perhaps they simply have a black background and are just too dark for a hot, sunny afternoon. While they can be worn during the day, they are like vampires, in their element when night falls.