Sophisticated florals are your fashion friends if you follow these simple rules.
Katie Trotter: Feminine looks for all ages
Yes, thank you fashion, I am indeed heading towards 30, and I do not want a polka dot dress as much as I do not want a pair of frilly socks or patent shoes. I didn't even want those as a 9-year-old, remember? But nor do I particularly wish to strut around in a slim-fit tuxedo and brogues - yet you give me little choice this season.
I'd like to remind you there is a big difference between feminine and cutesy, and that most of us are trained enough to know anyone over the age of 21 should aim for the former. But if girly patterns are out, where do we look to? We don't want to end up looking like our spinster aunts. A colleague of mine was once described as looking "prim and proper". The person who said it meant it as a compliment, but it sent my colleague over the edge. She suddenly started talking about going to Woodstock and wearing cowboy boots. And I'm talking about a woman who thinks music stopped with Mozart.
Let's start with florals, which are decidedly sophisticated this season - especially when toughened up with utilitarian wear or anchored with heavy black accents. A bright flowery pattern is great as long as the pattern is fine and kept as separates. It's easy, of course, to appear slightly prissy - a little too English garden party with tea and scones - so offset the look with a hard masculine stripe to counter the whimsical mood.
All of this is perfect on the eve of the Forties trend about to burst with retro pattern, vintage floral motifs and waist-cinching silhouettes based on Christian Dior's New Look. So make sure to stay firmly clear of anything windswept or loose - a lady does not want to billow, wave or flap, so keep things close to the skin, and well-fitted to the silhouette. Colour-wise, stick to muted tones such as mustards, pewter, rich maroon and navy blues in order to keep a modern hue, and if it's all a little too simple. try playing with a painterly effect - the digital age has brought some interesting design techniques. so try to venture beyond your normal comfort zone. One needs only take reference from Mary Katrantzou or Prabal Gurung's recent collections for inspiration. Both have both revolutionised modern print techniques.
All in all we have a fairly friendly trend here, so enjoy experimenting with texture and shape. From Miu Miu to Givenchy, there are an abundance of blooms to choose from, and all simple enough to mass produce quickly enough for the high street to get its hands on just as it leaves the catwalk.
Think fun - but not too fun - bright but not garish, loud without shouting, and eclectic without the madness, and you'll have a job not making a statement.
This week's highs and lows
VALENTINO MUSEUM We couldn't be more excited for the Italian fashion giant's new virtual museum.
CELEB MOVEMENT As if celebrities weren't already doing more than they should - now Naomi Campbell is a columnist for Interview magazine.
MORE FOR ALL Versace's highly successful collection for H&M is happening again pre-spring. Hello bold colours and classic prints.
RIHANNA DESIGNS We don't understand why the singer is designing pieces for Armani.
LONDON MOVE Stella McCartney will present her next collection during London Fashion Week, a step away from her usual Paris line-up.