This is part 2 of our guide to wearing floral dresses. Enjoy!
Start with a simple colour story
If florals are new for you, go for a small print, or “ditzy print” as it’s sometimes known as.
Smaller prints create an overall fusion of detail, only looking “flowery” up close. When it comes to colour, go for one main colourway as opposed to a rainbow of contrasting hues.
For example, this stunning little mini dress heroes one colour story: berry and white, with a small print. It is certainly floral, but it’s not “hit you in the face with a bouquet” floral.
Smaller prints and block colours are a great way to ensure the look is modern and fresh, without risking “Grandma-chic” (which is awesome, but not for everyone!).
If you’re not into delicate or confetti-like patterns, try a bolder print in a simple colour such as this wrap dress. It is simple in black, grey, and white tones while making a statement with bold, lifelike florals.
Go bohemian with your cut for casual-cool
Florals can sometimes look prim and proper (which is not a bad thing, but it just mightn’t be your style). A bohemian cut is a great way to wear florals without looking too demure. For example, look for mini dresses with low V-necklines and loose sleeves like this smocked mini with a flirty-meets-relaxed bohemian style.
For the maxi-lovers out there, this drapey maxi in mustard floral gives a serious festival attitude, with a high slit, low V, and wide cape sleeves. The floral print is certainly pretty and dainty, but the dress itself has a boho edge and definite sex appeal.
Pair sweet with tough
If the inherent sweetness of florals is a little too much for you, contrast it with edgier, tougher items. The all-time best way to do this is by adding leather. Picture a floaty floral dress paired with black leather ankle boots with a biker-style aesthetic, such as these studded beauties. Wrap a black leather belt around your waist, and polish it all off with a hazy, smoky eye.
The juxtaposition of sweet and grunge, street and garden is a perfect way to fuse multiple design preferences. Plus, it allows you to mix, match, and make use of what’s already in your wardrobe. Have a play around with mixing a floral dress with different textures and style aesthetics to create your custom, unique combo.
Use layers to break up the florals
If you’re looking in the mirror thinking, “the floral is pretty…but it’s too much”. Break it up with simple layers in block colours.
For example, you may be wearing a floral slip dress like this V-neck midi. Throw a slouchy knit sweater over the top and pair with combat boots for a 90s-style look. Or, wear a denim shirt over the top, knotted at the waist and rolled up at the sleeves.
Use florals to make a statement with colour and print
Sometimes, we just want to pack a sartorial punch with our clothing. Can you relate?
If you’re a fashion-lover who wants to stand out at an event, or you want to break out of an all-black fashion phase, florals are ideal. Bold, big, and bright floral dresses with multiple colours do the work for you, it’s all there in one piece! All you need to do is a little styling and it’s done.
For example, this silk midi dress with a high neck, open back, a fitted waist, and front ruffle is bright and loud, but painterly, modern, and fresh. It says, “I’m bright, bold, love experimenting with fashion, and I’m not afraid to stand out”.
The “work floral” dress
If your workplace is rather conservative or has a strictly professional dress-code, a floral sundress may not go down so well. However, floral dresses are absolutely work-appropriate with the right styling.
Let’s say you’ve missed washing day and the only clean garment you’ve got is a bright, fit-and-flare floral dress. No worries! Throw your go-to work blazer over the top and cinch it at the waist with a black leather belt. Pair with stockings and your usual office heels or flats. It will look like you’re wearing an a-line floral skirt with a smart blazer.
When shopping for a new floral dress for work, go for straighter cuts with covered shoulders. For example, this cheerful shift dress can be made office-appropriate with a blazer or cropped jacket, tights and heels or neat flats. Remember, you don’t need to go for dull or dark colours just because you’re at the office (unless those are the rules…in which case…that sucks!), go for brights if that’s your personal style.
The “party floral” dress
Florals are typically associated with sundresses and daywear. However, they’re just as appropriate for the club as they are for the park! It comes down to fabric choice. Dim lighting (in a restaurant or bar) picks up metallic or embellished fabrics beautifully, so look for embellished silk or satin, or fabrics with metallic thread.
For example, this midi dress with a cowl neck is entirely sequined, creating an all-over shimmer and glow. The floral is certainly apparent, but it’s hazy, blended, and evening-ready.
If disco-ball embellishments aren’t quite your jam, try a metallic jacquard style like this flattering cocktail dress with rich blue florals. This dress would be excellent paired with knee-high, heeled boots and a cropped leather jacket for an edgy evening look.
Cut and silhouette are a personal choice, as it’s crucial to feel comfortable and “like you” when you’re out on a date, dancing, or at a party. Plus, fashion “rules” in recent decades have become gloriously relaxed. We live in a time where a T-shirt dress or a slouchy sweater dress is party-friendly. Go with what you feel great in.