Glam Girl Kaitlin's friends and family are taking the "being cruel to be kind" approach and telling her that some of her flower dresses and floral clothes are not-so-great. Wearing florals can be tricky, but here are a few tips which are good to keep in mind:
1. Ignore the siren call of the fabric. Sometimes we see a fabric whose pattern and/or colors really appeal to us on a gut level, to the point that we shut out all the objections of our inner 'Style Jiminy Cricket'. You know, the little voice that says it's too baggy, too long, too this, too that — "But, but, the fabric, the color, the pretty flowers!" No, No, No. Never ignore style and tailoring. If it is dowdy, old-fashioned, or ill-fitting, it doesn't make a flying fig's worth of difference how pretty the fabric is. I'm a fabricholic myself, I have to fight this constantly.
2. G.G.'s Floral Dress Rule:
If you wear a floral dress, I want to see your knees, period. Even if it's just a glimpse of your knees (I'm not suggesting everyone wear minis). Don't tell me you can't, or your knees are ugly, or other such silliness. Most women's problem areas begin at the thighs and their knees and calves are just fine. Wearing a fuller dress or skirt and showing shapely legs gives the illusion everything under the dress/skirt is shapely too, whether that be the case or no.
Case in point:
See what I mean? From dowdy to classy. By the by, that is as quick a fix sewing-wise as the time it took me to Photoshop it. Just cut and hem.
3. Less is More. The louder and bigger the pattern, the less of it you should wear at any given time. In terms of surface area, the more surface a busy flower pattern covers, the more like a couch you look.
Also, the more streamlined the design (avoid ruffles &c. when wearing flowers), the less like grandma's living room you'll look.
Case in point:
4. No Peasant-Flower-Child-Little-House-on-the-Prairie. Unless you're specifically going for the hippie look, you should not attempt it after your mid-20's. What looks cute and retro on a 20 year-old can look like a flour sack (or in this case, "flower sack") on the 30-something. I have one that I wear on cleaning days but I wouldn't dream of stepping a toe out of the house in it. Instead, you can do a cutesy peasanty top with a skirt or jeans.
Case in point:
Ol' McDowdy Had a Farm.
5. Never Wear Flower Prints in Chiffon. No. Not Ever.
6. Try to stay away from the traditional, old-fashioned flower prints. If the print reminds you of Aunt Daisy, or curtains, or wallpaper, or the 19th century, think long and hard. Try to avoid the whole "pink rose crowd" (everyone knows at least one person who could be a member). There are currently several nice options in modern fabrics and colors that let you be floral and chic at once.
Here are some great flower dresses currently in the stores. More will start coming in as the Spring 2009 lines hit the stores. Keep your eye out for these kinds of looks:
$1,295 Lela Rose
Floral shift dress
$1,425 Armani Collezioni
Asian Floral Drape Front Dress
$495 Moschino Cheap & Chic
Floral print dress
$348 Elie Tahari
So. You can wear flowers if you like them, just be very judicious about how you incorporate them into your outfit :)