What is floral clothing

What is Floral Clothing?

Introduction to Floral Clothing

You’re not reading to learn about why there are floral shirts in your local strip mall. You’re reading to learn about the origins, the trends, and the history behind floral apparel. We will be discussing the origins, the history, trends over the decades, and current floral trends. In essence, what is floral clothing? Stay tuned until the end for facts you might not have known about florals!

Origins of Floral Clothing

The earliest forms of floral clothing originated in Asia. These garments typically depicted peonies, being that these flowers were native to China. It was thanks to trading that western and European civilizations would begin to design clothing with floral prints, being Chinese and Japanese silks and designs.

Origins of Floral Clothing

Floral Apparel Trends over the decades

Florals in the 1910s:

Floral patterns were far more common in Asia at this time. Kimonos depicted beautiful flowers all throughout the attire, in natural colors. The clothing reflected the resources as well as the period perfectly. These kimonos were for women specifically, and can still be seen worn today among Asian people during festivals and special events.

American Floral patterns in the 1910s were often pastel and earthy colors. This was because of the time as well as what was appropriate for clothing. Florals were for spring and summer. Floral clothing from this time was quite fanciful at the bottom; loose and flowy.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1910s

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Florals in the 1920s:

Thanks to travel and trading, floral patterns in the 1920s would become more detailed and prevalent in Western/European society. We now regard their aesthetics to be vintage; vintage 20s wallpaper often illustrated delicate flowers repeatedly in an elegant way. The clothing of this time was quite similar, as it seems designers grew more comfortable with the concept. Florals were just about any natural color by now. Dainty and ditsy are words we’d use to describe these patterns. Floral clothing was a cute alternative to other ordinary patterns for women.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1920s

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Florals in the 1930s:

Floral patterns in the 1930s maintained the foundations of previous decades, only the flowers were often bigger and slightly brighter. If the patterns were bigger and brighter, they were sure to balance it out by having a white or blank background for the floral pattern. Pinks, blues, yellows, purples, off-whites, and whites were the trend for women. The same goes for ruffles and puffy sleeves.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1930s

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Florals in the 1940s:

Floral patterns in the 1940s were more grandiose. This was in the sense that traditional delicate and pastels flowers would be swapped out for large flowers of unnatural colors, in less precise patterns. Color options, details, and accents broadened. Florals became more abstract.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1940s

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Florals in the 1950s:

Florals patterns in the 1950s were by far the busiest, short, and playful in comparison to earlier years. Just about any color that was muted, pastel, or bold was available to any woman of any class. 

Floral Clothing Styles in 1950s

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Florals in the 1960s:

Floral patterns in the 60s would kick start a major shift in what floral apparel would look like. These florals were often bright, cartoonish, and psychedelic in appearance. This was as a result of the uprising in the use of psychedelics, substance use in the media, and most importantly, musical artists of this time who actively used their “otherworldly” experiences to create and promote their art. Was it the first time anyone important had used substances for inspiration or enlightenment? No. But it was the first-time representation in the media would affect the masses so much that even the fabrics in consideration of substances in American Society.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1960s

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Florals in the 1970s:

Floral patterns in the 1970s were quite the opposite of 1960s prints.

Women’sopen-mindednessWomens fashion began to mute in tone, likely as a result of the brights that took over the previous decade. It was as if the sudden jump into brights, tight futuristic trippy garments shook the masses into hippie nature. In the following decade. It was an act of rebellion some might say in contrast to the restrictive and structured nature of the previous fashion (okay, government, but we aren't talking about political history today). The floral patterns reverted to their original muted earthy states for hippies.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1970s

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Florals in the 1980s:

Floral patterns in the 1980s would evolve into genres outside of simply color palettes. We could now see florals on denim, t-shirts, sweaters as basic casual wear became more common among the middle and lower class.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1980s

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Florals in the 1990s:

Floral clothes for women, in particular, were so diversified, it merely depended on what the woman wanted to wear rather than what was available. The more compact the pattern, the more formal the top was, especially for men. Island tops were also quite popular for casual summer wear.

Floral Clothing Styles in 1990s

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Florals in the 2000s:

The 2000s started up the use of rhinestones and sequences for women of the public. Flora Patterns could be embroidered, bedazzled, and etched out with sequence regardless of the apparel. This meant pants to party dresses.

Lace trim cami tops were also quite popular, also with floral patterns in the lace and the tops themselves.

Floral Clothing Styles in 2000s

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Florals in the 2010s:

The 2010s would see less busy floral patterns. The floral trends were seen in skirts, bags, tie-dye, and leggings.

Floral Clothing Styles in 2010s

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Current Floral Clothing Trends (2020s)

As for the early 2020s, we now find florals being depicted in all sorts of ways. 

Floral Clothing Styles in 2020s

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We see a variety of trends from previous decades all coming back at once such as floral dresses worn in a modern style. Floral patterns are being incorporated into just about any clothing item that exists known to the human race. This is not an exaggeration, as dramatic as that might sound. Everything and anything can have a flower, in different styles, designs, and expressions. Men’s clothing has also diversified with the representation of floral patterns in their attire.


What is floral clothing? Ask not what it is, but what it can do for you and your intentions. We as people typically dress with an intention; to impress, to distress, to defy, to achieve greatness and success. So ask yourself, “who am I today”/ when you do, you’ll never find yourself unable to wear a floral pattern. Floral patterns have evolved and diversified so vastly that every genre, decade, and trend of immediate relevance provides the public with divine floral apparel.

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