Dos & Don'ts: How to Wear Watercolor Florals

Painterly blooms are right on point for spring.

As obvious fans of all things bright, we here at Shop Around can’t wait to fill our closets with the artsy, abstract flowers we’ve been noticing in spring inventory. Though feminine blossoms always seem to come back in style when the weather gets warmer, this spring’s take is way more modern-art than Easter brunch–think slim shapes and ankle-strap stilettos, not full skirts and pearl necklaces. To help you really nail the trend, here are four simple style guidelines, plus 11 pieces you can shop for right now.

DO think like an art gallery employee.
You’re only ever one sweater set away from dressing a floral skirt the same way your kindergarten teacher did. It’s tempting to pair anything this bold with something simple, but if the other pieces in your outfit have modern, creative touches, you’ll look so much more 2012. Wearing a white blouse? Opt for something loose with an interesting neckline. Jewelry should have an arts-and-crafts-y, Marni-esque vibe, and shoes should be big and color-blocked.

DON’T defer to pairing with white jeans.
We know, we know–the look is so easy and springy! But if you really want to bring your style up to speed, brighter pants are the way to go. Choose one color from your shirt, then find a pair of slim cropped trousers in a similar shade.

DO opt for fitted pieces.
Fabrics this busy tend to overwhelm when there’s too much of them flowing about. Avoid babydoll tops and maxi skirts, and seek out sleek sheaths, pencil skirts, and structured button-downs instead.

DON’T be afraid to mix patterns.
Nautical stripes are an especially fun pairing for watercolor florals. Keep everything similarly sized (big stripes with big flowers, little stripes with little flowers) for a fun look that still feels fresh. Already over that look? Try polka dots instead.

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.