Thursday, June 10, 2010

Say No to Grandma Floral

Don't take this out of context now. It's true that I'm not generally a huge fan of floral anyway, but there's a way it can be done right. With the right color palette, spacing, size and/or pattern floral can be stylish and flattering. But trending now is what I call the dreaded grandma floral. No offense to grandmas and their tastes. If you're a grandma or want to look like one, you're trendy now. Enjoy it while it lasts.
How to spot grandma floral:
If the pattern reminds you of any of the following - Sunday school dresses, your grandmother's furniture and/or wallpaper, doilys, a sentimental hallmark card, kleenex boxes, stories about the great depression...
... you've been grandma'd.
There's a line I draw with floral because it can easily become age-inappropriate. Too old and too young are very similar with floral. If it looks like something grandma made for you when you were a kid, it's probably age inappropriate. The embroidered pastelly floral and the wallpapery faux-painted floral look usually fall into this category.
There are more clean-lined, modern looking floral patters that are perfectly acceptable. A lot of the time it will be very sparse floral rather than a wallpapered look. Or the color pallette will be limited to 2 or 3 tones or a variety of shades of the same color as opposed to a busy all-over-the-spectrum mix.
There is a middle ground as well where it gets iffy. Some older looking floral patterns, if paired with the right colors/pieces/accessories/etc can be pulled off well. But some are really just stand-out ugly in my book.

If my explanation falls short for you, here are some examples of good vs bad floral.

Good Floral:

Coupled with the striped pattern in a simple two-toned color palette, this skirt is a perfect blend of modern and vintage floral. It isn't busy or overly distracting and can be easily matched with a complementary solid toned top.

A modern twist on floral with bold red and white color palette. It pops but would add to rather than distract from the overall outfit. The pattern is interesting and free-form not repeated like wallpaper. Some skirts that have really bold patterns repeat them and it causes an optical illusion effect that is hard on the eyes... something to look out for.

A graphic print, simple, black and white with a pop of color. The pattern repeats but not in a predictable or symmetrical way so it's more interesting. It is similar to the way striped patterns work, by creating a pattern with varying sizes of lines and space between the lines, it makes for a more visually appealing overall look.

Grandma Floral:
This reminds me of the wallpaper at my dentist's office. Anything that is comparable to tacky wallpaper is usually a "bad" floral. We all loved the golden girls but we don't need to look like them.

Oh my grandma has those curtains too! Did Fraulein Maria make you some play clothes while your father was out of town with the Baroness?

I had a Sunday school dress that looked like this in 1989. It had shoulder pads and a white collar that resembled a doily... I looked like a Woolworth's lampshade in it. The pastelly rainbow easter-egg color palette, the wallpapery repetition, and the faux-painted look make this skirt the ultimate NO. No amount of accessorizing will save this skirt.