Floral dresses: wear ’em like you don’t really mean ’em | Dresses

SCertain types of fashion work best with a hint of irony. Example: the floral dress. I love a floral dress in the summer. Who doesn’t? It’s a classic. Look around in any office, any train, any park, and you will see women covered in daisies and roses, painterly flowers, or upholstered in small twigs.

But the best accessory to a floral dress is not a flat sandal or hoop earrings. It is a tongue carried in the cheek. A hint of irony makes the difference between looking like a Sally Rooney character heading out on a steamy date in the park and, in the same dress, looking like the Countess of Wessex about to open a garden centre.

At the risk of bumping into the whole Alanis Morissette, it seems irony is part of how many of us dress, especially in the summer. I mean, can we talk about the milkmaid’s blouse? By the time the sun rises, every commuter train is filled with puff-sleeved gingham blouses accessorized with a basket weave handbag. But the vibe is more “I’m enjoying a little pastoral cosplay on my way to my next meeting” rather than straight from the farm.

When you wear a floral dress, the implications are a bit more subtle. A floral dress can be a sign of an Englishwoman’s summer wardrobe. It can be crickets and striped deckchairs. But it is also everywhere: in every café, in every airport lounge. So when you or I are wearing a floral dress, all it takes is a subtle change of mood to make it clear that you’re consciously nodding to homemade jam at the party, rather than dressing for the actual party. .

Age is also no obstacle to the modern look of flowers. Think Iris Apfel, the 100-year-old maverick fashion influencer, recently pictured wearing a riot of multicolored applique pansies, a chain of egg-sized turquoise beads, an armful of bracelets and her signature sunglasses in the shape of an egg. owl. But there’s no denying that the further we get from an age where Rooney’s main character energy is plausible – that’s what we’re looking for in our floral dresses, isn’t it? — the more it needs to be clarified that a mid-calf floral dress is worn in the spirit of pleasant but lighthearted nostalgia rather than because we’re stuck in a time warp of period drama.

We can’t all be Iris. Plus, such full-volume flamboyance isn’t everyone’s style. But she pleads to lean into emphatic, energetic florals to keep the vibe modern. For example: peonies, sunflowers, daisies and hydrangeas are distinctive and graphic, and look instantly modern. It’s trickier to give a modern look to a floral dress with a small print. The ethereal, breathy vibe of a dandelion and the impressionistic blur of meadow flowers are all glorious in a landscape, but retreat into anonymity as a dress print. These are background noises – and we want to feel front and center.

Whatever the florals are on your favorite floral dress, you can always style it in a way that makes it clear that biking through the village is a fashion statement rather than a literal dress code. You probably do it anyway, in a way that you don’t even consider a style. When you wear your floral dress with a blazer to work; when you wear it with gym socks and Birkenstocks on a Saturday – that’s style, right there. And that’s before tying a scarf around your ponytail or a sweater in a contrasting color around your shoulders.

Like I said, I love a floral dress, and I always will. But almost everything in life tastes better with a pinch of salt.

Hair and Makeup: Sophie Higginson using Sam McKnight’s hair; floral dress: Laura Mercier, ghost.co.uk; jacket: jigsaw-online.com

Leave a Comment