In full bloom

In full bloom

In full bloom

First published in Lifestyle

Spring's perennial print has gone a little bit wild. Lisa Haynes reveals how to cultivate this season's oversized petals.

Bouquets may look pretty in vases, but why not try wearing your blooms too?

There was a colourful explosion of botanicals on the spring/summer 14 catwalks, with dainty petals making way for statement florals.

Whether it's one bold single stem or an explosion of hothouse flowers, florals have been cultivated on fast-grow fertiliser this season, so they're almost wild in nature.

Peruse fashion's flower shop and pick out your favourite bouquet.

Solo stalk

Green-fingered designer Christopher Kane took flowers back to their roots, literally. Like something out of a science textbook, his dresses and sweaters featured floral buds spliced open to reveal their anatomy.

The high street hasn't adopted the biology motif - yet - but you can still look blooming marvellous with a single floral statement.

Don't go for half measures; opt for a print where the bloom takes over the entire piece. Keep your floral fresh with a white backdrop to make the petals really 'pop'.

Styling tip: Ensure the solo bloom is the centre of attention with your look. If you're wearing separates, co-ordinate with a plain neutral, or if it's a dress, keep jewellery and accessories clean and minimal.

Bold blooms

There's no place for wallflower subtlety this spring. Catwalks like Marni, Armani and Hermes gave their floral bouquets a super-sized arrangement.

For an English country garden take, choose bold florals in a pretty pastel colour palette. The closer you go towards high summer, the more you can take your blooms into tropical territory with hot hues and rainforest foliage.

To really make a statement, try clashing your florals, using one matching colour to marry the look together.

Styling tip: If you want to take your florals into evening mode, plant them on a dark background, like black or navy. Bright and pastel florals suddenly take on a flamenco-inspired exoticness against such an extreme contrast.

Pop-up petals

Undoubtedly the prettiest blooms on the block, appliqued florals are this season's uber-feminine alternative to prints.

Adorned with lifelike petals, Dolce & Gabbana's models looked like they had sauntered through a flower shop with superglue stuck to their dresses.

Beware that heavily embellished florals can add bulk to your frame, so avoid in areas where you don't want to add volume, but conversely, they can also add curves to athletic shapes.

If you prefer your petals to be less literal, look for embroidered flowers for less of a '3D' effect.

Styling tip: Appliqued blooms are inherently fussy and fluttery, so ensure you have a clean silhouette to show them off. To really strip back the prettiness, opt for a black and white contrast that's void of colour.

Wild foliage

Flowers aren't for everyone but this season, you can look to foliage as an alternative. Yep, the green extras used to bulk out flower arrangements have made it onto prints as a main focus.

Flowers, if present at all, should play second fiddle to this wild, leafy look.

How you wear your greens makes all the difference; go for sharp and structured for a contemporary look, or floaty and relaxed for more of a feminine, Seventies vibe.

Styling tip: You simply can't avoid the colour green if you love this overgrown take on botanicals. Make sure you choose a tone that suits your complexion, whether it's a deep forest green or soft minty pastel.

Get the look

Emma Watson has sussed out the key to a chic airport look - a classic, neutral mac. Invest in a timeless coat for spring with Warehouse's Double Breasted Clean Mac, £75 (www.warehouse.co.uk).

Buy it now

If your mum has the key to your heart, treat her to a sparkly new accessory for Mother's Day. George at Asda's Mum Keyring, £5 (www.george.com).

Fashion flash

:: Oh, man!

It takes men 37 years to reach style maturity. Guys hit their fashion peak eight years earlier than women, who don't feel fully confident with their dress sense until they reach 45, according to a survey by VoucherCodes.co.uk. Almost a quarter of men under the age of 37 (23%) admit they struggle when shopping as they don't know what looks good on them. One in six men (17%) are self-confessed 'anti-shoppers'.

:: Recessionista alert

Make it personal for Mother's Day with Radley. The brand is offering a free complimentary leather tag that can be personalised with up to four letters when you buy any Radley handbag (from £89). Choose from gold/silver foil or blind embossing. Service available at the following Radley stores: Cribbs Causeway, Bristol - March 16; Meadowhall Centre, Sheffield - March 21; Peter's Arcade, Liverpool - March 22; Bluewater, Kent - March 27; Floral Street, London - March 28; Westfield Shopping Centre, London - March 29 (www.radley.co.uk).

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