Fanciful florals: the new flower power

Florals have never been far from fashion, but today's florals are brighter and bolder than ever, say several Oklahoma City area experts.
by Heather Warlick Published: April 2, 2012

“A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.”

And a thousand in floral fabrics, Lord Byron (to whom this quote is usually attributed) might have added, especially had he witnessed the evolution of floral fashion into modern day.

Flowers have never been far from fashion. Mother Nature's delicate works of art are woven into the very fabric of fashion throughout the ages.

So it's no surprise that catalogs showing this spring and summer's looks are filled with fanciful florals.

But this season, there's a twist — brighter colors and bolder patterns.

“We're mixing up prints and colors in a way we've never done before,” said Cindi Shelby, owner of Ruth Meyers.

Today's florals are far from the heavy designs woven into brocade silks of the Middle Ages. They're practically the opposite of floral tapestries with their backgrounds of quiet florals.

Wallflowers? Forget about it. Today's florals aren't shy. They don't whisper; they shout in shades of neon not seen since the '80s. They're still sweet, mind you, but with more than a touch of “Mad Men”-style sass.

“The newness here would be the neon feel,” Shelby said. “They're so bright.”

New rules for floral

Here are the rules for today's florals: be bold, be bright and make them your own.

“In the past, florals were more subtle,” said Heather Loyd, store manager of Talbots in Edmond. Whereas in previous seasons florals were often used as embellishments rather than as an allover statement, “Now we're seeing them all over.”

A few years ago, the big deal was to throw a floral scarf over the safe solids fashion embraced, to create a fresh look.

Today's florals don't have to stand alone. Couture houses are swathing models in a melange of mixed (not matched) florals.

Abandon the idea of “matchy-matchy,” she said. It's tres chic to combine floral patterns.

by Heather Warlick
Life & Style Editor
Since graduating from University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Staff Writer Heather Warlick has written stories for The Oklahoman's Life section. Her beats have included science, health, home and garden, family,...
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