‘Florals, for Spring, ground breaking’. These dry words, uttered by the sassy Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada are more than just a sarcastic quip — they make a valid point.
We spend the long winter months in a plethora of heavy knitwear and velvet. However, the novelty of turtlenecks soon wears thin, wool has gone bobbly and we are bored of that same coat. So, by mid-February we see a daffodil and deem it appropriate to whack out the shades, shorts (side note: why is there always one guy on campus wearing shorts all year round, like the weather could be blizzerding and he’s there in cargos) and of course, florals.
Florals. The very word conjures up images of Regency era Jane Austen-esque ladies taking tea (and Cath Kidston table cloths). As much as I would revel in floor length floral gowns and ribboned bonnets, could be a dash too edgy for a night at Antwerp.
Today, most tend to play it safe the majority of the year with neutral tones and geometric patterns. However, Spring rocks up and without fail the shops look like Chelsea flower show; florals everywhere you turn and we panic buy in a bid to ‘girly up’ our wardrobes. Suddenly it’s cool to look like Elizabeth Bennet again?
Men’s clothing shops give the odd nod to Spring with floral shirts here and there but overall, it seems to be largely restricted to female shops. An accident? Of course not. Since classical times and beyond women have been associated with nature, Spring itself being about fertility and birth. Therefore, we can look upon this as reinforcement of gender stereotypes.
However, despite these connotations, floral does not have to be twee and submissive.
Spring is about renewal (God knows I for one have enough black in my wardrobe to renew with colour), make a statement. You can do floral and still look icy cool. Look to Urban Outfitters for example, for inspiration. This season they offer the typical pastel hued floral tea dresses, mid length button downs 90’s style and full length numbers. However, they distort these stereotypically feminine pieces by styling them out with oversized leather jackets, Doc Martins, trainers, chains, and layered t-shirts. The bottom line is that floral is about how you style it and how you choose to wear it as an individual.