Like pastels, floral patterns stir up a lot of emotion. A lot of the associations are positive. Flowers are naturally beautiful with almost infinite variety, which is why they are a constant source of design inspiration. They are mostly associated with Spring and Summer fashion because that’s when most of them bloom. On the other hand, flowers are delicate with traditionally feminine associations, and therefore sometimes thought of as twee, precious, weak, juvenile, overly girly and quite the opposite of tough and powerful.
Floral pattern detail can be small, large, or a mixture of both in one design. The flowers can be realistic and romantic, or more graphic and abstract. They can be serious or whimsical. The flowers can be positioned close together like a ditsy floral, or spaced out allowing the background to play more of a role in the pattern. The flowers can be combined with other patterns in one design. They can also be embroidered onto fabric, or woven into a self-colour design like lace, eyelet or jacquard.
Floral colours are typically either bright, pastel, earthy, jewel-toned or neutral, or a mixture of these palettes. The flowers can create a high contrast to the background of the pattern, or have a tonal and low-contrast effect. The overall appearance of the floral can be light, mid-toned or dark.
When it comes to the items that showcase floral patterns; blouses, shirts, knitted tops, dresses and skirts are the most popular. Floral knitwear is having its moment too. Floral jeans, trousers and jackets are a little less expected, but that makes them a lot of fun and more of a statement. And if floral clothing is not your thing, you can wear your floral in belts, footwear, bags, scarves, hats, eyewear, cell phone cases, wallets and even jewellery.
I believe that the sheer variety of floral patterns, colours and items means that there is a floral pattern for everyone, including men and children. The word “floral” may conjure up the image of a bright fit-and-flare floral frock, but that is just one option. On the other end of the continuum there are florals worn in much more subtle ways. The floral can be small, low contrast or in a neutral colour, for example. And even if it’s bold, the floral needn’t be overly feminine. There are many graphic and abstract floral designs that are anything but girly or juvenile.
Florals are not my favourite pattern, but I do find them calming, pretty, romantic, feminine and fun. They make me happy, so I like to have a few in my wardrobe at once across warm and cold weather wardrobe items. My floral pattern preferences are varied. I love a big, bold and bright floral as much as a soft, small and tonal one. I do prefer abstract designs, but wear realistic florals too. I love subtle self-colour lace and eyelet florals and have both represented in my wardrobe. I’d wear a floral in any wardrobe item if I adored the pattern. And I LOVE my high-waisted floral cropped pants, which have become a wardrobe workhorse.
Over to you. What are your floral pattern preferences? Do you enjoy wearing them, and if so, in which items? Or are florals never going to be your thing.