Sunday, 2 February 2014


Note:  All dresses are from the Dorothy Perkins online shop and all are available when I pressed 'Publish'.  This may change rather quickly when hordes of my 12 followers flood the store and buy up the stock I have recommended!

Here we are again.  Florals.  Can't seem to shake them off.  Big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones. Every summer the same old patterns and shapes are churned out.  I am sure you don't need me to tell you that mass produced clothes are synonymous with minimising outgoings whilst maximising return (but avoiding store returns because they are of course the dreaded shrinkage) via scanty fabric use and cutting corners even if the garment is being made at 100 miles an hour.  Relax.  I don't intend to go into the sweatshops where our accessible excesses originate (not this time). It would be entirely inappropriate and rather crass to cast aspersions about a controversial process and then find virtue in its end product. N'est pas.

What I am talking about is the end product, severed from its origins and ethical implications (us fashion industry professionals are often required to sweep morals under the fashion cupboard carpet like blinged up Cinderellas).  Much of the clothing on the high street is cut from the same cloth; ie a cheap one.  The shape is easy on the company's margins but hard on the eye, harder still on the figure.  The design lazy.  The stitching feeble.  The print run of the mill,not hot off the press.

If you are lucky enough, however, to be reading my blog, you will be richly rewarded for taking the time and having some faith in this shrewd ex shopper.  I say 'ex' because for the past 6 years I have bought secondhand almost exclusively.  The pirate in my veins thrives on thrift.  I nevertheless know my stuff, so lets begin!

First off I want to tell you about what to avoid.  The suspects lined up below have not been arranged in order of criminality.

1.  I have seen girls of all walks, shapes and sizes in this kind of offering for years on end.  It generally peeps out from underneath a mediocre khaki parkas.  Outdated but unfortunately not obsolete, it is the mullet equivalent of the dress world.  Can't even be saved by wearing with a super deluxe biker jacket and block heel Chelsea boots.  Floral Belted Dress, £28, overpriced by £28.

2.  This kind of design is often found on women who are slightly too old to wear it, though this does not mean that younger wearers will look any better in it.  Especially dangerous territory for bottle blondes and fake tan aficionados.  The belt makes it looks tackier still.  A far cry from the Lanvin florals that inspired it.  Red Floral Dress, £32

3.  While tempting to the frugal shopper and admittedly flattering on many shapes thanks to the sabrina neckline and flare of the skirt, the Floral Bardot Dress, £18, is about as far from hot sixties icon as the virgin Mary. The print is trite; we saw the same thing flying off the shelves in Primark and almost straight onto the rails in Barnados just four years ago.  Though the fabric consists of commendable cotton, this type of jersey weave is prone to small holes that rapidly turn into large ladders.

4.  Though the length and cut of dress number 4 intend to attract a wider audience than the under 25's, the finish is cheap.  The print is cluttered and in some instances the core of the flowers look like misplaced nipples.  Yikes. £priceless

5.  Thanks to the paisley florals I initially considered Coral Floral Lace Wrap Dress by Billie and Blossom, £26, a potential winner.  Upon closer inspection I discovered the lace shoulder/back inserts. This design has been around for quite a few seasons but has been mostly confined to lower end high street stores. Wear this and your buying power will be easily identified as bottom end

6.  This Turquoise Flower Print Dress by Sugar Reef, £24, is unfortunate in both shape and colour .  I am urging all Brighton hippies to put something else with their baggy trousers and undone sturdy calf boots from now on.  The fat lady has definitely sung, taken a bow to limited applause and disappeared behind the tatty curtain on this one

1.  I love this Orange Pansy Print 1940's shape tea dress.  It is so feminine without a frill in sight.  I like the detail on the neck and angel sleeves.  The flamboyant Ferrari vavavoom colour is offset by anything but twee pansies.  Just imagine it with black fishnets and harness boots. Yeehaaa! Selling fast at £17.50

2.  What is not to love about the Multi Floral Satin Dress by Whistle and Wolf?! I just can't fault it. The print is fresh, the colours slick and the shape killer.  A bonanza at £65.  Even if that is a higher price point for Dotty P's, it is the price you must be prepared to pay for an item that could easily be part of a designer line up.  It will sell out sooner rather than later so get in there fast!

3.  The baroque jacquard lends weight and gravitas to the simple shape of this Blue Floral Printed Dress. I am not convinced by the polkadot neck, however.  A sheer nude or neon yellow insert would have helped raise its status from DP to Net a Porter.  Pretty good for £17 though

4.  With its interpretation of rococo florals and contrasting graphic lines, the Floral Long Sleeve Tunic is bloomin' marvellous at £48.  Finishing delicate translucent fabrics with heavy trims is a much called upon haute couture technique and use of it on these sleeves is effective.

5.  We say 'well hello there' to the 1950's Black Daisy Tea Dress,£38.  It is cute yet bold with vintage appeal as well as contemporary details.  I love the sheer strip on the hem, makes it look a cut apart. Shrinking violets need not apply, budding exhibitionists we salute you

Thanks for tuning into my masterclass in Floral Frocks.  See you next time!

Or visit the Rebellishment shop and style agency for more!  New items every Friday :)

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