The flower problem | Floral print dresses

The flower problem


To say that floral prints are on trend this season is probably as useful as saying that black is in or jeans are good. It’s also about as in-depth as my style advice gets. Wear as much floral as you like; except if it’s a floral garland and you’re anywhere that’s not a music festival.

But I haven’t always been the armchair fashion guru I am today. As soon as I was old enough for conscious thought, I kicked up a big stink about wearing dresses. Dresses were awful and floral prints were the main offender. I was a shorts and t-shirt girl, whatever the weather and despite my mum’s protestations.

Now I wear dresses every day. And 55% of the dresses I own are floral. If a magazine were to make a ‘style evolution’ photo sequence of my outfits (and why wouldn’t they?) this would be it: shorts and t-shirts – an intervening skirt – floral dresses.

But how did this happen? Here are the ways in which flowers have infiltrated my brain and forced me to love them:

The Countryside  |  A fact about myself I enjoy doling out at dinner parties is that I’ve never lived anywhere with a population of less than one million people. But on the odd occasion that I do tear myself away from the smog, I’ve found the countryside to be beautiful. And that’s where flowers are born.

Love  |  I was quite old before a boy first bought me flowers. In fact, it was my twenty-first birthday. They were a big bunch of blue, pink and yellow blooms from Borough Market. The card read: ‘first flowers… x’. I cried.

Words  |  Did you know all flowers have meanings? It is a known fact that imbuing an inanimate object with emotional significance makes it much harder to throw out, like drawing a smiley face on your banana peel. Hence, red roses mean love, daisies are innocence, sweetpeas indicate shyness and who could forget that rhododendrons warn us to beware? I could go on.

Wedding propaganda  |  The reason brides throw the bouquet at a wedding is that in the past, both the bouquet and the dress itself were considered good luck for future marriages. So after the wedding, rampant guests would chase the bride, ripping flower and dress trophies from her until she was left in tatters. As a distraction, brides began throwing the bouquet into the baying mob and legging it in the opposite direction. To this day, wedding magazines insist on whipping us all into a frenzy with lists of bouquet throwing tips, as if women never won the right to an education.

Maturity  |  As you get older, your whole physical being softens slightly, including your eyes. This means that you get terrified when you see someone you love get anywhere close to the edge of something, like a road or a cliff. It also means that, where monochrome zigzags would once have satisfied, pastel garden décor is now the aesthetic of choice. It’s just less painful to look at through your squidgy peepers.

The Internet  |  If you’ve seen a well-curated Pinterest board or a nicely put together blog montage that doesn’t in some way involve flowers, I’d like to know about it.

Jamie Oliver  |  Since Jamie Oliver tricked us all into improving our lives through healthy eating, he’s been putting edible flowers on everything: salads, fish, bruschetta, cakes that you’re allowed to sniff but not eat. Last week I even considered buying a packet of courgette flowers in the supermarket. Our love for flowers is now so rabid, we must literally internalise them.

Touché, flowers.

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