I am not, as a general rule, the most girlish of girls so for me the s/s 2010 foray into Mills and Boon style flounces and romantic ruffles of chiffon and tulle in a palette of nudes, neutrals and pretty pastels was – from the off – going to be a tough one. It’s not that I didn’t like the idea – on the contrary, I have always wanted to be the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ girl – it’s the fear that, under all those delicate layers and wistfully nostalgic detailing, I’d end up less ‘pastoral goddess’ and more ‘Miss Havisham’ clinging desperately to the mouldering trappings of her faded youth.
It’s the lace that does it…conjuring, as it does, images of yellowing net curtains, table cloths, doilies and the whiff of moth-balls. But the profusion of prettiness storming the runways and the high-street has, as always, given me pause for thought. Tongue-in-cheek broderie Anglaise at Chanel, sheer lingerie-inspired delights from Galliano for Dior, even the sunglasses were all prettied-up at Erdem…I could go on…and on…And then there are the obvious advantages to this look – not least its endlessly fun good girl/bad girl versatility.
With this in mind I decided to face my fear, bite the white bullet, march straight into the sickly sweet jaws of femininity and declare (with much exaggerated gusto): ‘I AM WOMAN hear me… er…giggle coquettishly as I wantonly skip through a haystack-bedecked pastoral idyll of innocence.’
Funnily enough, having got my hands on a fabulous Little Mistress mini dress (empire line, white lace, netting and tulle, ¾ sleeves and a low square neckline – bargain by the way; New Look, Oxford Street (I’m not sure if they do this line in smaller stores or online but it’s definitely worth a look)) I have been well and truly converted to the cause. And while butter would still melt in my mouth, I definitely don’t look like an embittered old spinster, and that’s good enough for me.
Sex-up a barely there lace mini dress with leather and D&G-style shoe boots for a rock-chick vibe, or go pastoral with chintzy prints and tan accessories for some country-girl charm. Try teaming a dress with this season’s summer peep-toe/ cutaway heel boots for some so now style or be bold in brogues, scrunched-down knee socks, micro shorts and a Topshop lace body. Choose laced-up accessories for a more subtle take on the trend and mix them up any-which-way for some genre-busting subversiveness.