Summer Blooms

June 18, 2009

Interested in wearing all those fabulous floral prints this season?! Designers really outdid themselves! There are so many beautiful pieces to choose from, but one can quickly get overwhelmed by the choices and deciding which is really you!

Sadly, women often do not make the most of this fresh, feminine and fun trend. It is not uncommon for us to see a mix of a large bold floral print pattern in a flashy color palette on items made of rayon material. Not flattering! The reason is because the selected colors are often so bold they are harsh against the skin tone highlighting skin discolorations or a sallow appearance. Plus, the sizes of the flowers within the floral print are generally too large for its wearer’s body and, consequently, the clothing overpowers its wearer. Unfortunately, the overall effect of this mix is juvenile which simply makes a woman look older than her actual age. The outfit becomes a distraction rather than an invitation. There is a better way…here are some tips to successfully wearing floral prints:


The precise location of the flowers within a floral pattern on the garment is key to getting a flattering effect with this delightful trend. When done well, the strategic placement of flowers can enhance or even de-emphasize certain areas of the body. Particular body shapes work well with specific floral placement.

Many different body-types can be further enhanced with the distinct placement of the flowers within the floral patterns of these particular dresses. Note they each have mid-size flowers scattered throughout the garment but each is displayed in a different and deliberate way.

In this first ensemble, the placement of the lighter colored flowers toward the hem of the dress, giving it almost an ombre/shaded effect within the floral pattern, not only creates a beautiful design but this technique also draws the observers eye downward making the individual look taller and slimmer. Plus the combination of the gray color strategically located at the hips will de-emphasize the hips by utilizing a darker color at that area; additionally, the contrast and burst of color located below the gray flowers encourages a visual distraction away from the hip region. Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka definitely know what they are doing! Exhilarating technique!


Badgley Mischka – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Once again, the way in which the flowers in the fabric are placed, in this case vertically down the body of this dress, immediately elongate one’s silhouette. The vertical floral placement gives the same effect as vertical stripes yet the buoyant flowers make it much more feminine. This design strategy is a true testament to Thakoon Panichgul’s expertise.


Thakoon – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

This gorgeous black and yellow floral dress designed by Carolina Herrera can additionally be worn by most body types mainly because the black draped neckline combined with the black skirt bottom provide overall symmetry to the garment. In this particular case, this top and bottom symmetry allows for the eye to be drawn to the waist plus make the waist look cinched in by the cascading flowers which further creates and enhances an hour-glass body shape.


Carolina Herrera – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

A great floral print garment is most successful when the flowers have been strategically and advantageously placed to create the illusion of balanced body proportions. Here are further demonstrations from talented fashion designers.

The now infamous Jason Wu, who created First Lady Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball gown, has done a superb job with this sleeveless floral dress. It would be perfect for a woman who has a flatter chest region or pear-shaped body. The effect of the interwoven floral fabric bodice would give the impression of a larger chest, thereby creating more of a balance between the top half of the body with the lower half. And then when this technique is merged with the vertical strip of flowers on the skirt thus visually elongated the body makes for one fantastic dress!


Jason Wu – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

This romantic floral print dress would be exquisite on a woman with a curvy hour-glass shaped figure. The placement of the flowers is intentional. There is an immediate visual balance created with flowers at the top half of the body in relation to the lower half. This symmetry allows for the waist to be emphasized and the body’s natural curves to be duly showcased. Bravo, Giambattista Valli!


Giambattista Valli – R09 – Style – Maria Valentino

An athletic frame would be greatly enhanced with both of these dresses. Each one creates the illusion of a cinched waist, consequently, creating more of a harmonious balance between the top half of the body with the bottom half. Alberta Ferretti has allowed for those simple yet elegant flowers to flow around the bodice and waistline creating curves where there might not otherwise be any on the athletic body frame. While Carolina Herrera has introduced lovely floral print side panels again giving the illusion of hour-glass curves. It is obvious that both of these designers really understand and appreciate the reality of women’s body shapes.

alberta-ferretti-r09-style-maria-valentino-1 carolina-herrera-r09-style-don-ashby-3

Alberta Ferretti – R09 – Style – Maria Valentino

Carolina Herrera – R09 – Style – Don Ashby, respectively


The size of flowers in a floral print has a dramatic effect on the actual visual appeal of this type of garment on the body. The goal is to not have the print overpower the individual. In most cases, larger size floral prints are much more difficult to wear because much of the time the floral print is what stands out rather than the woman wearing the outfit. You want to look stunning in the floral print outfit and to not have the outfit itself get all of the attention. Wearing an outfit with the proper size of flowers is essential.

As a general guideline, it is beneficial to take into consideration both the size of one’s body frame, as well as the size of one’s facial features when selecting a garment with a floral pattern. It has been much discussed that the size of any print on a garment should be in direct proportion with the body frame size, but it appears to us here at Corporate Fashionista that it may be even more important as a general guideline to wear garments where the flowers in the floral print have a similar proportion to the size of one’s facial features and give less concern to the size of one’s body frame and stature. Hence, a woman with small and delicate facial features should wear floral prints consisting of small and delicate flowers. And those individuals that have a set of big gorgeous eyes, a pronounced nose or larger lips – truly distinctive facial features – would benefit most by selecting floral prints with larger flowers.

Most women have average size facial features, so they should; accordingly, try to find those garments with mid-size floral prints to create proportion and visual balance in their overall appearance. These general proportion size guidelines allow for the outfit to not overpower the individual but to highlight the person. Here are a few examples with more to follow under further tips below:


Oscar de la Renta – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira


Missoni – R09 – Style – Kevin Sturman

giambattista-valli-s09-style-don-ashby-olivier-claisse-14 giambattista-valli-s09-style-marcio-madeira-24

Giambattista Valli – S09 – Style – Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

Giambattista Valli – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira, respectively


Let’s not forget the importance of wearing colors that bring life to one’s skin tone, a lift to one’s spirit and a smile to one’s face. Opting for more sophisticated and complimentary color palettes within a floral garment can make the entire outfit look more lush and chic. Note these charming and flattering creations:


Badgley Mischka – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira


Tuleh – R09 – Style – Don Ashby


Reem Acra – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira


It is important to have versatility with most if not all the items in your wardrobe. Floral prints need not be an exception. When selecting your floral print garment it is valuable to take into account the color scheme, the fabric, and the cut of the piece to make sure that it can transition to at least a portion of the next season. For instance, would black opaque tights work well with that particular floral print dress when the weather becomes cooler? Or will your belted long navy cashmere cardigan sweater be the perfect match with this dress so that you can wear it a few months longer? The idea is to expand the life of your garments. And floral print dresses when chosen wisely can transition perfectly into the Pre-Fall season. Both Thakoon Panichgul and the ever so talented Bryan Bradley of Tuleh have provided us with these delightful options:

thakoon-s09-style-marcio-madeira-15 tuleh-pf09-style-firstview-2

Thakoon – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

Tuleh – PF09 – Style – Firstview, respectively

An article of clothing that has versatility includes pieces that can be a part of multiple outfits and/or worn for multiple occasions in life. The specific type of floral garment that would best suit your needs would depend upon your particular LifeSTYLE. There is such a vast selection of stunning floral prints out this season that you are sure to find a piece that would add value and enhance your wardrobe. Here are some ideas on ways to add floral prints to any area of your life:

badgley-mischka-s09-style-marcio-madeira-10 …WORK

Badgley Mischka – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

giambattista-valli-r09-style-maria-valentino-19 …CASUAL

Giambattista Valli – R09 – Style – Maria Valentino

vera-wang-r09-style-maria-valentino-19 …WEEKEND

Vera Wang – R09 – Style – Maria Valentino

oscar-de-la-renta-s09-style-marcio-madeira-53 …COCKTAILS

Oscar de la Renta – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

akris-s09-style-marcio-madeira-34 …or SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Akris – S09 – Style – Marcio Madeira

So, make the most of your summer this year! Get out there and have fun! And don’t forget to show self appreciation and enjoyment in thoughtfully dressing yourself! Create outfits that you feel great wearing. Selecting the optimal floral print garment that is right for you can be a challenge but follow our suggested tips and you can’t go wrong! There is such a beautiful selection and range in stock this year that you don’t want to miss out!

Have you steered clear of floral prints in the past? Tell Corporate Fashionista why you have avoided them? And whether you think these tips address the problem. As always, let us know what you have tried and how you have felt about the result!

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