Floral fabrics can be traced back to 12th century China where the trend is said to have been born. Eventually, the Middle East and the rest of Asia caught the floral fever, and by the end of the century, floral motifs were seen on kimonos in Japan. Chintz fabrics (glazed floral textiles) from India started in the 16th century and made its way to Europe through trade. It was in the 19th century that these chintz fabrics were industrially produced, creating a boom in floral dresses like those lovely prairie ones that are so hot today.
Lo and behold, the floral print has become a staple on the runways of the 21st century, and as we know, they’re dreamed up in various patterns and clothing styles, leaving plenty of inspiration for us to take cues from. But we also understand that styling these whimsical prints can get pretty tricky, so we searched for the best outfit combos that will look chic no matter what. Whatever your aesthetic, these floral looks will surely make your fashion game bloom!
1. Don dainty accessories.
Looking for a decidedly dainty outfit? Go all out by flaunting a Calico-esque printed cotton dress and pair it with feminine accessories like a pearl bracelet, baroque pearl earrings, and even a vintage brooch if you’re up for it. Instead of your typical pochette, go for an embroidered or sequined minaudiere or purse instead.
2. Cop a classic French girl look.
If there’s a poster girl for floral looks, it’s none other than Jeanne Damas. The quintessential French cool girl is known for her fresh ensembles that mix vintage floral pieces with contemporary ones, like the rose Impressionist pattern denim skirt below paired with a nude ribbed shirt. There’s also her uber cool vintage botanical print slips she accessorizes with minimalist jewelry—tres chic!
3. Play it safe with jeans.
Another stylish lady who isn’t one to shy away from florals is Emma Roberts, who injects the pattern into her luxe casual outfits that are very LA. Below, she pairs a sunny yellow blouse with cropped, raw edge jeans. We love how she added a playful retro spin with the slightly flared cut of her jeans and those Mary Jane heels! To elevate your look like Emma, complete it with a posh leather handbag.
4. Go for contrasting leather.
One of the most tried and tested tricks in fashion is to go for contrasting pieces for a balanced yet surprising look. Do the same with feminine florals by topping it with a leather moto jacket and streetwear staples like white sneakers and a trendy large tote. You can even throw on a black brim hat if you’re game!
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5. Play with fun accessories.
For those with quirkier, vintage-inspired aesthetics, grab your trusty floral frock and pair with equally retro footwear like clog heels or high heels brogues... with socks! Cinch a roomy dress with a chunky leather belt and top it off with a bucket hat. Don’t be afraid to pile on more accessories and throw on bug-eye sunnies with a chain strap!
6. Go for grunge.
If you’re obsessed with ‘90s fashion, channel the grunge trend in a sleeved floral print dress with a pair of boots—the only kind of footwear to consider for this look. If you don’t own a pair of combat boots, then any solid black pair of booties is fine.
The floral slip dress was also an essential element of grunge fashion, often layered on a white tee and worn with combat boots. Update the look by playing with color, like this blue-toned look finished with a cute cardigan.
7. Freshen up with white.
For romantic girls who like dainty cropped tops and puff sleeves, you can always rely on a floral blouse to evoke this femininity. Veer away from typical small scale florals and opt for vintage blooms or chinoiserie patterns instead, like the blue rose print above. Nix blue jeans for white denim, and swap your leather bag for a woven one to add a rustic summer vibe!
8. Mix it with streetwear pieces.
Know that a floral skirt isn’t just a staple spring/summer piece—it can work the whole year round, too. Unexpectedly, florals look right at home with edgy streetwear pieces like baggy shirts and longline coats. If you want to play it safe though, go for small scale florals like the Liberty print. Mix that with clothes of the same hue for a tonal outfit, or use it as a neutral base like the black floral skirt seen below.
9. Wear with cowboy boots or ankle boots.
Take inspo from the West in breezy floral print dresses reminiscent of the Victorian era, and pair with decidedly cowboy boots fit for a rodeo. Make it modern with au courant accessories like a leather baguette bag and tinted sunglasses.
10. Try something very Gen Z for a change.
Gen Z-ers are heavily influenced by fashion trends that proliferate Instagram, and one such trend would be headscarves and slip dresses, which you could definitely work to your advantage if you want a floral look. Go for tonal dressing by mixing a pastel floral slip with a same-hued headscarf and complete with dad sneakers.
11. Keep it simple.
A floral dress is the easiest way to wear the print as it requires barely any accessories to make it pop, making it great for days when you’re rushing out the door! For ease, go for accessories that match the colors on the fabric like the white sunnies and kitten heels with the blue-and-white dress below.