No longer the preserve of womenswear, floral print has become a men’s spring/summer staple. But as it finds a place on everything from three-piece tailoring to Magaluf-appropriate racer backs (shudder) this season, it does need some sound direction.
Here, we prove that incorporating floral into your everyday look (in a tasteful way) is a lot easier than you might think.
It’s too easy to let the term ‘floral’ evoke images of Hawaiian-shirted, Miami-dwelling OGs. It may have looked cool in True Romance but that was 1993 and, sadly, Christian Slater was much better looking than most. Note the past tense.
Measuring the size and ‘volume’ of your floral print is always an intelligent move. Bright shades may seem fun, but subtlety is always much easier to pull off – think more an English country garden as opposed to Kanye’s garish wedding wall.
“Start with a smaller printed floral shirt to ease yourself in,” says stylist Jenna Riddle. “Hawaiian surfer has been done to death, and we’re seeing a move away from typical beach-bum fare.” Less is always more.
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Though there’s been a steady rise in monochrome florals – for that Gothic surfer dude – the traditional approach adds colour. Which means another hurdle to incorporating florals into your look. Always keep floral shades in mind when constructing an outfit, says Luke McCarthy, editor at The Idle Man.
“The key to wearing a bright floral print is to pick out one of the more neutral tones and match your shorts or trousers with that colour.” So while a vibrant botanical biker jacket (Alessandro Michele, I see you) may seem tricky to pull off, matching it with a muted block shade helps anchor even the wildest print. And keeps you out of kids TV presenter territory.
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Suit ‘Em Up
In the wider menswear consciousness, floral pieces are inextricably linked to summer. But while they’re easy to pull off on a pair of hard-wearing shorts or a crew neck tee, channelling your inner Garden of Eden needn’t be reserved for off-duty events.
As Gucci and Richard James proved, floral prints have infiltrated the world of high-end tailoring. Full three-piece ensembles combine both colour and exclamation for maximum impact – ideal for a laid-back garden party or summer wedding reception.
Granted, going the whole hog may seem daunting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t match separates with your existing wardrobe staples. Just remember that anchoring rule from above.
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If head-to-toe floral is too much for you, finer details can still propel a look to greatness. Pocket squares, socks or even T-shirt linings – great for giving a colour flash when rolling up the sleeves – offer a subtle dose of florals without turning your Instagram into a National Trust garden.
The trend even extends to your wrist, with fashion-led brands like Komono and Triwa offering paisley straps. “More masculine shades of green and navy can take a form on the wrist, and it can really ignite an otherwise bland look,” says Erica Redgrave, watch buyer at Selfridges. No floral stone has been left unturned.
Just as floral accessories can brighten up a neutral look, so too can a colourful pair of sneaks.
Olly Smith, footwear buyer at Harvey Nichols, highlights two options at both sides of the spectrum. In one corner, your Gucci Floral Skate Shoes: “A great choice for when the Damn Daniels just aren’t good enough. They’ve got big brand kudos with a streetwear-inspired flex – I probably wouldn’t advise going to the Southbank in these, though.” Indeed, Gucci treads are more haute couture than half pipe these days.
And in the opposite corner? “The Converse 70s Ox Embossed Florals. They’ve got a thicker midsole which nods to the good old days and a sturdier arch support to boot. Personally, I can’t see myself going back to regular Chucks ever again.”