The Chic List: Flowery femininity? It’s not for me

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on toughening up her look.

Recently I tried on a floral dress and had a very strange reaction. Sex and the City fans will remember the scene when Carrie tried on a wedding dress after getting engaged to Aidan – who, of course, was not the love of her life – and came out in a rash, then pulled and ripped the gown right off.

My reaction wasn’t quite so dramatic but it was still very strong. A few years ago, I used to enjoy wearing floral frocks of all shapes and sizes, but not any more. Maybe it’s the trauma of the pandemic that has made me want to feel tougher, more in control in such an unpredictable world. I still want to look feminine but in a different way.

Image: Victoria Metaxas

So no more prairie dresses for me. Luckily, there are plenty of exciting trends coming our way that fit perfectly with my ‘feminine doesn’t have to mean florals’ philosophy. Here are five…

The ballet flat After the winter months of boots and trainers, there’s now a hankering for these chic little shoes. They were huge in the noughties – then largely forgotten. I’ve learnt from past mishaps that a pointy toe and a strap are the most flattering and practical styles. Who wants to do a clueless Cinders impression with lost slippers all over town?

★ Equestrian chic A big trend for spring, at the fashion shows Chanel and Hermès showed how alluring, feminine and authoritative the horsey look can be. Think scrumptious tailored jackets in leather and wool, paired with minis or leggings and sexy riding boots.

Working girl With more of us returning to the office, the runways reflected a distinctive back-to-business feel. Cool, crisp button-down shirts, loose trousers and lightweight blazers exuded a slouchy-yet-smart attitude. I’m wearing my shirts over jeans and tucked into leather pencil skirts.

Statement knits Something interesting has happened in the world of knitwear. While cosy knits have always been a wardrobe staple, the rise of leisurewear and the increased focus on sustainability have pushed the whole industry to the forefront of fashion and brands are seeing a big demand for standout pieces. This summer lighter knitted and crochet dresses are set to be huge hits, while the sweater vest will still be going strong.

Everyday glamour After months in slippers and joggers, it’s time to get out all those dressy pieces that were relegated to the back of the wardrobe. Do forgive me if mine aren’t floral…

Vibrant and stylish. Make every day a dress-up day. Dress, £59.99, shop.mango.com

Pointed and perfectly formed. Shoes, £98, boden.co.uk

Wear with flats or heels. Accessorise with a horse! Leggings, £117, Leset, net-a-porter.com

Wear over a slip dress or as a beach cover-up. Dress, £380, Sara Cristina, matchesfashion.com

Team with leggings and boots. Jacket, £59.99, zara.com

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