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How to Style Floral Dresses

Last updated on : June 01 2017

style floral dresses

As the weather changes, we enjoy showing more skin and wearing vibrant lipsticks that bring out our skin tone. Dresses that feature flowers and floral patterns are often our spring and summer staples. Should you opt for a flattering A-line dress, a skin-tight bandage dress, or slip into a sexy bodycon dress? Are you going to pull off solids and stripes for chic and sophisticated flare or pick floral patterns to bring out your confident femininity?

In this article, we cover the versatility of flower dresses and how to style them. Floral print dresses paired with the right accessories and outerwear are easily worn to alleviate the gloom of winter and fall and are reliable style options throughout the summer and spring.

While a floral dress is great in theory, the truth is that it may be a challenge to pull off. Flower patterns are hectic and full of color. Which color is best to pull out? How do you style your hair and pick your shoes or accessories? The advice that follows comes from our in-house stylists and fashion mavens. It gives you insights into how to style and shop for floral dresses.

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How to Choose a Flattering Print

Floral prints are vast and indefinite. Choosing one that is flattering and complimentary to your body and style is essential. Small flowers or large, spaced apart or close together, with or without vines or clusters of blossoms, and in what color palette? The choices are infinite.

A point to note about color is that often the print will lean to a particular side of the color chart, from red, blue, black to pastels, darks, brights, metallics, and more. This leaning is the host background color of the pattern. 

style a floral dress

Consider that larger flowers are more flattering to petite body types. We don't recommend oversized floral patterns for shapely women because these may add a few pounds to your silhouette. Smaller flowers and floral designs give more of a solid color impression and work on average to more shapely body types.

If your body type is slim to average, explore a balance of larger floral patterns and smaller patterns. When unsure if the design is flattering try to break it up with a belt or trendy scarf. 

Also, consider the host background color of your floral dress. White backgrounds that display bright and sunny inspired blooms are ideal for concealing problem bulges. Darker ones give you a more tailored and tapered look and the illusion of being slimmer.

Floral Dresses Pair Great with Neutral Colors

Irrespective of whether you pick a big or small floral print dress, what you pair it with is pivotal to your look. Floral dresses that have an all-over floral motif that spreads uniformly over the fabric should be toned down and paired with neutral or nude colors. 

Neutral colors such as black, beige, white, nude, and silver compliment floral patterns and are often closet staples (so no extra shopping is needed). From your shoes to your jewelry to the bag you decide to carry, adding a dollop of neutral shades ensures the floral print is balanced and in harmony with your style.

floral dresses and neutral colors

Pattern Clashes are Acceptable

If you're feeling like a diva and want more edgy sex appeal, ditch the neutral colors and go for some pattern mixing instead. 

Often your fashion palate turns to solids when choosing something to pair with your floral designs. However, pattern mixing is acceptable and a simple way to appear trendy and stylish. 

Pair your floral dress with an accessory that has a bold stripes design such as a bangle bracelet or cuff. Also, consider choosing one or two colors from your floral pattern dress and matching all your accessories to those shades.

pattern mixing florals

For example, a navy floral bodycon dress that showcases colors like red, yellow, and grey, is easily styled by choosing just two colors from the palette for the accessories. Opt for pumps or pointed-toe shoes in grey and throw on a red jacket, coverall, or scarf to give your look texture and depth. Similarly, pick accessories such as a hat, a bag, and your jewelry in these shades to complete the overall effect.

Adding bold contrasting patterns and colors is a way to bring out the flowers and give your look a more fashion savvy polish.

How to Accessorize a Floral Dress

Floral dresses are inherently feminine and tend to be showstoppers on their own. So it can be a challenge to pair the dress with accessories that add to your look instead of distracting from it.

Jewelry

Since floral dresses tend to have bold, bright, and noticeable colors, pairing with bold and colorful jewelry is a fashion faux pas. Accessorize a floral dress of any color with pieces that are delicate, subtle, and simple. A statement jewelry piece may distract attention from the dress and clash with its bold tones. It is better to opt for simple drop earrings or studs, a thin chain with a small and delicate pendant or locket, and a light bracelet. The rule of thumb is that less is more. Keep your jewelry simple, a bit traditional, and classic.  

Shoes

Shoes have the power to make or break your floral outfit. For these dresses, particularly ones that have a bold or dark background palette, steer clear of wearing matching floral print shoes. Wear your dress with neutral sandals, wedges, or stilettos. You could also pick one of the sober shades of the dress and match the color of your shoes.

Another edgy idea is to pair your floral dress with all black accessories. By adding tough black accessories such as black gladiator stilettos or flats, black studs, slim black belt, and cross-body black bag, to your feminine floral dress, you create an alluring mix of chic and edgy style.  

Handbags

Sound advice is to select a bag that matches the most prominent color in your floral dress. If you think following this tip is going to make your overall ensemble too loud, tone it down with a solid neutral bag in primary colors such as blue, black, white, tan, or brown. 

If your dress boasts floral prints in just two colors, consider stepping off the beaten track and opting for a handbag in a stable, contrasting color such as red.

Belts

A belt is one accessory that can add plenty of contrast and a pop of color to a floral dress. For example, a black-and-white floral dress works just as well with almost any contrasting belt color—both blue and red are very appealing options. On the other hand, if you have a multi-colored dress, choose one of the colors in your dress and pull it out with your belt.

Outerwear

Depending on the weather, you may or may not require any outerwear. However, the addition of a leather jacket, light trench coat, or even a fitted jacket or blazer will give your outfit a casual style that is both polished and chic. A blazer makes your floral dress office and workplace ready while a leather jacket offers an edgy look that grabs attention. Denim is also a favorite to pair with florals because it is simple and versatile.

The Best Makeup Trends for Floral Dresses

Bold floral patterns have a show-stopping presence that is difficult to imitate. Most makeup artists recommend opting for neutral shades to avoid conflict with the print colors. However, it is also a smart idea to pull one shade from your dress that lends itself well to your preferred lipstick hue.  

Keep in mind that it is best to either focus on playing up your lips or your eyes. Avoid highlighting both. Your dress is your best guide when it comes to the makeup you should choose. If it is bright and bold, opt for subtle makeup and consider a seductive lip gloss pout. On the other hand, if your dress has a lighter print or softer floral patterns and hues, then take your makeup up a notch with a bold lipstick shade or soft smoky eyes to pull the look together.  

How to Style Your Hair for Flowers

If you are looking to channel your inner flower child, your hairstyle has a vital role to play. For those who hate having strands of hair in one’s face on a hot summer day, gel your hair into a high ponytail or go for a messy bun.

Braids are also winners. Braid a lock of hair from each side of your head, and pin them together at the back. Add a summery texture to the hairstyle by pinning tiny flowers into the braided sections. Incorporate floral motifs into your hair bands and ties for that flirty Coachella look. A sleek ponytail keeps the dress chic and fancy while a messy bun gives it a relaxed and casual appeal. Hairstyles and floral dresses give you tons of wiggle room to experiment.

Floral dresses are inspiring and ultra feminine. Although prints and patterns are often a challenge to pull off, with a bit of concentrated effort your floral dress quickly becomes as versatile as your little black one. Keep things simple and natural if you wish or take it up a notch and show off your fashion sense with contrasting patterns.

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