Flirting with winter florals

Jane and Beryl who can never be accused of being minimalist, love to flaunt the winter floral. A bright print acts as a much needed counterfoil to all those dark winter clothes. To this end, the gruesome twosome have scoured the Great British high street, to bring you these floral tributes. Some stores were drowning in more flowers than Covent Garden market at 4am, while others are clearly suffering from a drought of blooms. A word of warning however, the Seventies are back! Which is marvellous if you have the look and style of Marianne Faithful, but less so if your 70s style reference is your mother attending a WI committee meeting.  

Ted Baker is clearly the home of the showy bloom.

Beryl hightailed it to LK Bennett  where she has been eyeing up their large circular skirts for sometime. Jane was dragging along behind in her flat heels complaining slightly. Jane does not think that LK is OK largely on the grounds that it is overpriced and the sales assistants are over-zealous. The museum-like reverence for the clothes and vast acres of white changing room leave even the hardened shopper feeling slightly intimidated. Beryl and Jane kept asking for new and more impossible items from the distant stockroom to distract the staff. Beryl likes the result, but then she 'blooming well' should for the combined price tag of £325: top £125 and skirt £250. Even if the price had been more user-friendly, Beryl would still not buy this skirt, because its bulky waist pleats emphasise her mummy-tummy.

Beryl likes the look of this M&S skirt at a much more reasonable £49.50.
LK Bennett's floral dancing shoes.

Jane, meanwhile, is content with the languid look of this shirt: its calm navy background and muted orange chrysanthemums has just the right amount of sass. She likes the painterly 30s vibe, and at £39 from Warehouse it seems fairly priced, and versatile. Jane and Beryl tried on many blouses in this search, and there are many which espouse the 1980s pussy bow, but quite frankly, age a WOACA by 10 years in one foul swoop. If you are a fan and must have one, the best look Jane and Beryl have found is the low bow, nestling nearer the cleavage than the neck. Beryl instantly looked like her Shropshire mother during the Cold War, which was a shocker. High necks and pie crusts were also in evidence. Beryl is also a stranger to these mostly as a result of having eaten too many pie crusts. Jane and Beryl both spend a considerable amount of time trying to distract the public from looking too closely at their necks.
Back to their own capacious wardrobes. The lovely Trinny and Suzannah, of whom Jane and Beryl are devotees, always suggested that you treat your closet like your very own clothes shop, in which all the clothes fit and are immaculately chosen. So before contemplating a purchase, it is a good idea to check your personal stock. Beryl for example bought this Laura Ashley coat second-hand for £40 earlier this year, but will be wearing it this winter with jeans and a pair of white boots bought last winter. Both items came from the House of Gallet in Molly's Den in Winchester, and the unworn Lisa Kay boots were £25. Frankly, Beryl bought these white boots for a bit of a laugh as she was off to see an ageing rock band, only strangely to discover that white boots are all the rage.

You can't keep Jane away from an evening frock, and this Ted Baker number caught her eye across the concessions floor at John Lewis. Her misgivings are that, while gorgeous to behold, it is constructed of a form of thin neoprene, which is not only a boil-in-the-bag nightmare, but also sticks out at odd angles in odd places (it's just your strange body, says Beryl). The cut of the bodice is not ideal for Jane, either, as the neck is too high for those with a bosom, and the arms are too cut away for the drooping armpit flesh. Indeed, Jane would never have put this on if it had not been for the charming flowers. It comes in at £229, which is a lot of money for a gown which shouts' Ted Baker ' in fabric better suited to repelling water and cold in the North Sea. Jane and Beryl do like Ted Baker's floral handbags, which are happy, fun, pink and frivolous.

While we are on the subject of armpits, lets discuss the other thing that can go wrong with the middle-age pittage. Here is Beryl in a Phase Eight sale dress bought about two years ago, which is just a hint too tight across the chest and therefore pushing a small amount of fat out under her arm that resembles the throats of baby goats. Otherwise she loves this flowery confection, but please remind her not to purchase clothes if they do this. The shoes in contrast are a total triumph, at least 10 years old, they have a hint of Georgia O'Keefe's erotic opening flowers about them.

Jane is happy, happy, happy as finally pyjamas have made it to daywear! This version is from Toast at a whopping £110, but hangs beautifully and is oh, sooo comfortable. Will she purchase? Hmm, perhaps in the sale... It was rather shapeless.

Here is Beryl in Mr McGreggor's garden, amongst the flowers, she is sure that cat will be shut in the potting shed at any moment. This dress, bought last year for £110 from The Pretty Dress Company  has that lovely combination of red blooms on a dark background that almost defines the winter floral. This type of dress is designed to flatter women with curves, Nigella Lawson famously bought 12 in one hit. This one is from a mail order company and they do an updated version every year. Velvet tops off the winter floral a treat. This jacket is by Quin and Donnelly and has a slightly 1950s feel.

When not in a ball gown, Jane favours the supremely casual (a 'floppy dresser,' as Beryl calls it), and this top with its lovely colour combo won her heart. Its whimsical vintage feel has the look of her granny's wallpaper about it. Its woven frontage is completed with a knitted back, so not too hot then. It comes from Oasis for £42.

PS. Jane's still in her Anthropologie trews bought last year for £118 and a new pair of Nike trainers which were 40 euros in a sale in Italy.

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