Spring Florals – A Walk on the Dark Side

Florals are an obvious choice come spring, but this year designers are leading us down a different kind of garden path.

Halfway between perfectly pretty and goth lies a new type of bloom that’s dark, moody and mysterious.

rebecca-dark-florals

Bright Florals on dark backgrounds are moody and modern.

Dark Florals are the latest trend and they appear to be growing on us. They’re turning up everywhere;  lush, bold blooms set against a black, navy or dark colored base. Here’s Rebecca from Red Tag Chic Los Angeles  modeling this new look. Some see these new florals as strong and rebellious, edgy and a little masculine. Others liken them to a pretty walk in the park at midnight. I find them darkly romantic and slightly nostalgic. I can’t help but think of Victorian wallpaper when I see many of these florals.

How do you wear dark florals to show them at their best? Here are a few ideas.

dark floral pants

Combine black floral pants with neutrals to make them pop.

Let Them Stand Alone

These brooding botanicals command attention so let them lead by wearing them with solid colored neutrals. For example, if you pair black floral jeans with a black t-shirt and white jacket and nude shoes you get a look that is cool, classic but still makes a bold statement.

All eyes go to your fabulous floral pants. Mix Them Up If you are more of a creative dresser then you might be more attracted to the idea of mixing two inky florals. This is also a popular way to style the trend this season. Wear one floral up top and another on the bottom, or find a dress that combines two for a more fashion forward look.

dark floral dress radiant orchid

A pop of color brings this graphic floral dress to life.

Accent with a Pop of Color  

If you like the idea of dark florals but want a bit more life to your look, then make your outfit pop by accenting it with one of the brighter colors in your outfit. For example this Rachel Roy Floral Jaquard Dress with its kaleidoscope floral looks stunning worn with a bag and pumps  in similar radiant orchid shade. A bright color like this brings energy to the black and gives you life.

Sculpt your Figure With Florals

First there was color blocking to highlight your best parts and camouflage trouble areas, now there’s floral blocking too. Since all over florals can make you appear larger  designers have strategically placed florals in specific spots on dark solid backgrounds to make you look slimmer.  For example, a solid black dress with bright florals from the bust up is perfect for a gal with a bit of a tummy  because the bright florals draw your eye up and away from the problem spot, and the solid black at the tummy area visually shrinks it.

Experiment with Sporty Accents

Normally when you think of florals, you think wearing them with delicate feminine shoes, bags and accessories. But this spring it’s different. The most modern way to wear dark, daytime florals is to mix in sporty sandals, luxe sweatshirts, sneakers and other athletic touches.

dark floral dress

Bold jewelry works well with moody florals.

Try Some Bold Jewelry

There’s also an unexpected twist when it comes to pairing jewelry with these florals. Dainty, traditional necklaces, bracelets and earrings  that we used to wear with florals  have been pushed aside to make way for larger, more modern statement pieces. Sculpted and architectural jewelry like this unique necklace keep noir florals looking strong and not wimpy.



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  1. LOVE THIS WEBSITE AND YOUR ADVICE ! MAKES IT A PLEASURE FOR ME TO SHOP ALONE WHICH I DREADED ,NOW i AM ONE STEP AHEAD WHEN i GO TO STORES TO SHOP !!!!! THANK YOU SSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOO MUCH.

  2. Hi Luv,
    Thank you so much for your response. I’m in love with Amendine Nealton look. I like the fact that it has a chic vibe about it. I would like to know what’s your take on dark florals at work? as I work for a bank. I would also like to know if you have any suggestions where to shop for some of the items you have featured on your site. Also do you know of any retails stores where one can shop, when shopping on a budget.
    Thank you

    Here’s to looking fabulous!!!!

    • Hi Paulette,
      Here’s the link to the clothes in this style board:http://www.polyvore.com/dark_florals/set?id=116041374

      As for dark florals at work- Yes you could wear them. For example a silky, dark floral blouse would look nice with a solid colored skirt or you could wear a dark floral dress with a nice jacket. Typically working in a bank requires you dress a little more conservatively, so I’d stay away from floral pants of any type. Leave those for casual play after work.

      Shopping on a budget? I like stores like Banana Republic that offer classic, modern clothes for work and play. They are always having 40% off days, so sign up for their newsletter and watch for those. Discount retailers like T.J. Max, and Winners have lots of good quality designer clothes at up to 60% off.
      I think shopping on a budget it is more about watching for great sales than shopping at certain stores. Many of the cheaper stores are more teen focused with poor quality, which you don’t want. So do your homework,plan what you want to buy and keep an eye on what is going on sale in quality chains and department stores. For more help planning your wardrobe on a budget you can check out my ebook: Chic on the Cheap. It’s loaded with good ideas. Cheers! Deborah

      • paulette says:

        Hi Deborah,
        Hope this email finds you doing well. Thank you for the feed back you provided, I found it very helpful.

        Thank you :)

  3. Valerie Brett-Westcott says:

    I love dresses period and I have several dark florals in my closet. Even though I do have them, love them and wear them, I sometimes wonder if the light florals look to young and girlie for a 49 year old. Dark florals have a little more maturity to them perhaps but still a splash of youthful fun.

    • Hi Valerie,
      I would say that dark florals are not necessarily more mature, just edgier. It’s more a personality thing.
      Also,many women 40+ can still wear light florals and look fabulous especially if they are fair. Dark florals can sometimes be too stark of a contrast worn on someone with light, skin hair and eyes. Cheers! Deborah

  4. Cynthia Robertson says:

    LOVE the dresses, but help please. I am 1,65cm tall, with a big bust, and cannot wear high high heels for love nor money :-) All the dresses are always featured with delicious high heels.What shoes do you recommend for me for summer?

  5. Hello Deborah,

    Thank you for all your guidance in helping us to look our best! I enjoy reading your tips and seeing the pictures sent in by others.

    I was happy to see the articles on nude shoes and floral dresses. I have a summer wedding to attend and love the look of the nude shoe and have always loved feminine dresses.

    Cathy

  6. Great article. Spring has started here in Spain, and I’ve always veered away from florals in fear of looking exactly as you say “ditsy!” I think I will try and be braver and go for the strong bold florals; that would also work better with my skin tone and dark hair.
    Great post.
    Do pop over to my site and see the new pieces we have in for summer; gorgeous necklaces and earrings that epitomize the beautiful hues of the Mediterranean and would look great with some of these florals.

  7. Reminds me of frumpy “house dresses” my grandmother used to wear.

    • Karin Fuller says:

      I’m with Barbara–these fabrics look way too grandmotherly for me. If you have to do that much work to make something not look stodgy, then why not skip it altogether?

      • Hi Karin,
        You’re right. Not every look is for everyone. You should only try a trend that really speaks to your personality, otherwise you will look uncomfortable an unattractive in it. Real style is when your outward appearance matches your inner essence. Cheers! Deborah