Flower power

Florals. They’ve been in and out of fashion since I knew what fashion was. I’ve blown hot and cold, but flowers have always had a place in my wardrobe.

Florals probably appeal to me because I was born in the wrong decade: I should have been a teenager in the mid-1960’s, when copping off with John Lennon was at least a remote possibility. In those days, florals really meant something – and it wasn’t about femininity. It was about love and freedom and passive resistance and psychedelic counterculture. How cool is that? I’d have made a brilliant flower child, although I didn’t do a bad job of recreating the vibe when the early 90’s called for hippy-esque dress and swinging long hair around to the strains of Nirvana.

Anyway, I digress.

You’ve probably gathered that I’ve never been the kinda chick to go for that Laura Ashley or Boden (did I say it out loud?) ‘running through the fields in a calf-length floral skirt’ look. Rather, my penchant is for toughening florals up, whether that be with a denim jacket, thigh length boots or, wait for it, Doctor Martens (no, really).

In my most humble of opinions, flowers should showcase a sidenote of femininity, rather than overwhelm your look. No matter what I’m wearing, or how flower power-y it gets, I always make sure there’s a clear indication that I will always be a grunge girl at heart. (It’s one of the reasons I have my nose pierced, don’tcha know.)

There are some brilliant combinations around at the moment, allowing you to embrace your inner hippy chick whilst making hay with harder-edged 80’s trends and accessories (see the pretty yet chunky bracelet to the right, which I treated myself to from New Look).

This Miss S floral print playsuit could be edgied-up with some Rock N Retro jewellery, for example. New Look’s funky boobtube dress is looking hot with wedges (and cheap as chips). And there are endless possibilities with this loud ‘n’ proud Oasis floral cardi.

Don’t feel that florals should be confined to top halves or dresses, either. These floral denim leggings, skinnies and pencil skirt are all must-haves for summer.

Top Shop is literally brimming with brilliant floral designs at the mo. I love this cropped tee which I’ll be teaming with skinny jeans and my beloved ankle boots; this rose print body is versatile and ideal for your hols; the flower peace vest by Illustrated People takes me right back to my navel-gazing, student days and is crying out for these floral Docs (yes, floral docs) ; the mix floral maxi skirt is to die for; and the forest flower drop waist dress has got my name right on it. Seriously.

If you’ve got bold hair, the ability to wear killer heels and a soupcon of attitude, you can carry off this gorgeous Americana ditsy ruffle dress from Oasis without looking too girly, and I’ve already treated myself to this country floral tea dress from Warehouse, which I’ll be mostly wearing over the common with a cheeky denim waistcoat – and bare feet (if I can be arsed to get another pedicure).

I could carry on all day – florals are everywhere so get shopping.

And once you’re sorted for blooms, an added bonus is the promise of a long, hot summer during which we’ll actually be able to wear them – sans coat. Everything crossed.

Ralph Lauren does flowers and denim – just the way I like it:

Written by Johanna Payton