It was something like 1992, and my fashion point of inspiration was a showdown between Punky Brewster and Blossom—which means, yeah, I pretty much did walk around in baby-doll dresses and pigtails. Hey, I was 7.
And 90210—something that, looking back, I shouldn't have been watching at 7—only solidified my love for floral baby dolls. Brenda and Kelly paired them over capsleeved tees and Docs.
I'm not advocating this exact look for the present day, but it's a great reminder of the cyclic nature of the fashion industry. Everything always comes back in some sort of minor, adjusted form—nothing is completely new.
Floral reappears every time the weather turns warm, though the flowers are usually restricted sizes—either miniscule buds or large Art Deco prints spanning an entire dress. This year's reemergence ranges: It's really just floral anything.
Balenciaga had hyperbolic hydrangea and hibiscus buds splashed across stiff, armor-like dresses with rounded shoulders and hips in their spring 2008 show. Ralph Lauren paired the floral trend with his classic designs: silk georgette tea dresses with pastel palettes and delicate floor-length gowns. Dolce and Gabbana, Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, and Dries Van Norten also sent floral down their runways. My favorite, though, was Luella's collection of seemingly prim Peter Pan-collared blouses, micro-minis and what looks like a pointy-toed, heeled version of—you guessed it—the patent lace-up Doc Marten, the perfect mix of punk and femme. While floral patterns are easily adaptable for any age group, the key to nailing the Luella approach is to think young, cute and . . . well, slightly naive. But be sure to balance it all out: Buttoning up your blouse all the way? A short skirt is going to help with that bookish outfit.
While these runway looks aren't always the easiest to translate into real life, many stores are offering their own versions. H&M had loads of sheer blouses and fun tea dresses with juuust-low-enough hemlines and V-neck collars for around $40.
Jovovich-Hawk for Target's GO International line offers plenty of '70s folk- and rock-inspired romantic floral-print blouses, dresses, even bikinis. There's heavy emphasis on the leg again, but the use of bows, lace, frills and floral placates everything else. Sure, it's a tad predictable—clearly appealing to the floaty boho Silver Lake sect—but I can excuse a minor lack of creativity if the price is right. Pictured here is the square-necked spring floral dress, though I'd trade in the belt for a slightly less ostentatious one and switch out the droopy boots for some gladiators. The Jovovich-Hawk line leaves Target stores April 12.