Fashion: Power of flowers

Orla Keily floral dress, �59, at
Orla Keily floral dress, �59, at
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The sales are full of floral prints. Stephanie Smith has tips on making sure they work next season too.

For those of us who who have always viewed floral print with a fair degree of suspicion and trepidation, its determined continuation at the top of the seasonal trends hot list has been quite alarming.

Floral print poses many problems for some of us, chiefly, how to wear it without looking or feeling like a pair of chintzy curtains (I know, I should pull myself together).

Yet many people do seem to be able to carry off many floral prints, even loud ones, with panache and even sophistication.

Next week, however, on July 10, there is an excellent incentive for wearing floral print, to support World Vision, the world’s largest international children’s charity, for #FloralFriday.

The charity is asking people to wear something floral to help children in the world’s poorest countries.

The campaign is being fronted by Yorkshire interior designer and TV presenter Linda Barker, who recently returned from Cambodia to visit the charity’s work there and met 13-year-old Lee-App, who had to drop out of school to look after her younger siblings after her father drowned in a fishing accident, leaving her mother forced to seek work miles from home.

“World Vision has introduced agricultural programmes to teach modern farming techniques that will give women like Lee-App’s mum the chance to grow food for their children, earn an income and – most importantly – stay home,” Linda says.

So wear something floral, whether it’s a dress, a tie or a Hawaiian shirt (Linda has designed a scarf, see above), and find out how to donate to the charity by visiting

Meanwhile, the sales are still running well and contain lots of floral inspiration at knockdown prices, as some of the images here illustrate. If you are looking for pieces that will translate into autumn, look for prints with darker backgrounds, especially brown, and think about how you can layer toning but varied floral prints together. Floral print scarves and shawls come in very handy for this look, which works especially well if you keep each floral print two-tone, perhaps a navy and white print jersey dress with a russet brown and white print scarf tied as a cowl about the neck.

If you are still nervous about wearing florals, go for a geometric graphic design, such as those created by Orla Kiely for People Tree. Again, these tend to be two-tone and will work very well going towards autumn.

For bold floral print looks, take a look at Phase Eight, which has surpassed itself this year by offering eye-catching but sophisticated flower inspired patterns (and there is a great sale on).

Rather than team your floral piece, say a blouse, with black (which can look over-thought), go for a toning colour instead, with brown leather accessories for a Girl Friday appeal.