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Style Advice

The dos and don’ts of florals

The dos and don’ts of florals

If there’s one print that really flourishes come spring, it’s florals. For many guys, it’s already a year-round favourite. But if you’re more adept with botanicals in the kitchen or garden than your wardrobe, now’s the time to give it a go. We’re not denying that it can be an intimidating print to pull off, especially if, like us, you’ve spent the past year in dreary at-home pieces that prioritise cosy comfort over style. But luckily, we know some simple tips that can make florals the focal point of your look without feeling too flamboyant.

Do stick to easy styles 

As with any print, it’s best to ease into the floral look. A full floral co-ord, for example, might be too big a shock to your style system and is likely to attract more attention than you’d like (from people as well as passing bumble bees). Instead, start with the pieces that lend themselves best to prints, like overshirts. The beauty of a floral shirt is that it can be dressed up or down, and worn open over a t-shirt if you want to tone down the print. Bolder or more graphical prints won’t look over the top or novelty the way they can on a t-shirt, so it’s a simple way to bring florals into your day-to-day look without making a groundbreaking statement.

When the weather’s warmer and you don’t need a jacket or overshirt, opt for a flattering short-sleeved camp collar shirt in a loose, light fabric like tencel. This kind of shirt is naturally casual, but if you pair it with formal trousers or a linen suit, it can bring a seasonal flourish to your smarter looks. And like your spring overshirt, it will look just as good worn open as it does buttoned-up.

Do wear it with confidence

It’s a look you’ve probably seen more of on the silver screen than on your local high street, but in reality, floral shirts have never not been on-trend. From the oozing charisma of Daniel Craig’s James Bond to the grunge stylings of Kurt Cobain, florals have been adopted by icons from almost every style there is. It all boils down to who has the confidence to wear it – and we think you should be next. 

As with any statement piece, the key to pulling off florals is as much about how good you feel in your clothes as how you style them. So if you want to hedge your bets, try natural botanical shades like reds and greens on neutral or dark backgrounds. They might sound bold, but sticking to a colour palette that’s expected of this pattern actually makes less of a statement than monochrome or grey florals.

Don’t be afraid to go bold

When it comes to florals, bigger really is better. Small ditsy prints can look dated and reminiscent of your grandma’s wallpaper, so you’re better off taking inspiration from the Hawaiian stylings of Leo in “Romeo + Juliet” or Tom Selleck in “Magnum P.I.” (moustache optional). It might sound counter-intuitive, but a larger print feels more contemporary, and will carry the colours better as each shade is able to stand out without fighting for attention – plus, we’re pretty sure it’s impossible to sustain a bad mood while draped in tropical prints.

Don’t overwhelm your look

You don’t need to know a hibiscus from a hydrangea to spot when your prints need pruning back. Remember we told you to ease in? Well even if you’re up for trying more daring floral pieces, it’s still best to stick to one patterned item per outfit. So to avoid taking a statement too far, balance your florals with pared-back elements. Block colours like a white tee and relaxed chinos will give your statement shirt the perfect backdrop to stand out for the right reasons. Likewise, if you’re ready to go for floral trousers, keep it plain on top and opt for a print in dark, muted tones that will feel sophisticated rather than distracting. 

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Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing