Is there any softer, more ladylike flower than the lilac? If you’re lucky enough to live around lilac bushes, you’ll see them bloom in the next few weeks (they peak in late spring to early summer).
For those of us without daily exposure to the elements (or at least without exposure to areas of the world in which lilac bushes grow), the color has been in full blossom in the retail world for the past few months. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get enough of the dainty hue. It instantly softens and yet enriches your look. Consider, for example, this to-die-for 3.1 Philip Lim dress ($725, Blue and Cream):
I previously featured the same dress in an oatmeal linen color, but — don’t you die over this shade? It’s unexpectedly feminine for the nearly utilitarian style of the dress. J. Crew’s “Watercolor Garden Bridget Dress” ($285, J. Crew — the dress color is aptly titled “Lilac”) speaks much to the same point: an otherwise rather unfussy design is instantly softened and feminized with the violet palette:
You’d look delightfully ladylike in either of the above, especially if you opt to pair with some sparkling enorma-studs ($160, Ylang23):
For daywear, how about this lavender tiered chiffon tank by Kensie ($78, Piper Lime)?
It would look fresh with a pair of white cropped jeans and some unexpected flats (the ones below — on sale for $89, J. Crew):
While on the subject of fancy footwear: while it may seem dangerous or even reckless to invest in a pair of lavender shoes (how much use will you really get out of them?), I’d like to note that I snagged a pair of J. Crew Mollies in a lavender print and have worn them with innumerable outfits. They look precious with a little lavender top but I’ve also used them to spruce up ivory/white/nudes. Mr. Louboutin came out with a variety of styles in lovely lilac, but I’m loving these classic pumps by Elie Tahari:
I’d been eying them for awhile on Zappos but they appear to have sold out. I believe you might have some luck shopping around in brick and mortar stores for them. Alternately, take a look at J. Crew’s Pippa Peep Toe in “Dusty Lilac” — on sale for $149. For the bolder out there, these Casadei double-platforms are ridiculous (on sale for 50% off or $322 at FarFetch):
You might pair with a sleek-and-demure cut sheath dress with oversized epaulettes for a Victoria Beckham streamlined look. Something like this pale violet Valentino might work well ($576, TheOutnet):
For something a bit more toned down, how adorable is this little t-shirt dress by super-trendy brand MinkPink (Shopbop started to carry it, so you know it’s hot):
Snap it up for a recessionista-chic $62 at Pink Mascara. Lovely. It’d be perfect for work with some gray or violet pumps, but just as chic for gallery-going in some brown leather gladiators (for the boho look) or polished flats. Erdem’s upscale variation on the blossoming lilac print would be just as charming (on sale for $396, The Outnet):
A just-as-pretty alternative to the real deal:
If you wanted to spruce up either, consider layering on this eye-catching Malene Birger bib ($260, Saks):
Though it’s bold by design, the white-on-blush palette leaves it remarkably feminine. I adore it. For just a little unexpected pop of color, I love the Longchamp in lilac ($125, Saks):
Don’t forget to stow a little lavender-shaded umbrella in case of spring rainfall ($28, Nordstrom):If you’re lucky enough to judge the showers, this happy little sundress by Calypso might be just the ticket for anything from an afternoon BBQ to a baby shower (also comes in a lovely soft daffodil color — $165, Calypso):
For great layering separates, check out J. Crew — they have all kinds of items in soothing lavender, from little brown-tipped cardigans and flats to this bright lilac tunic ($69.50, J. Crew):
Throw it over a white bikini and sport with a big straw hat at the beach or add to some white jeans and a big fabric beaded necklace. If you’re into color-contrasting, you might even try the Stella & Dot “Uma” silk beaded necklace I raved about last week ($49, Stella and Dot):
Love. It. To conclude — because lavender has traditionally been used aromatherapeutically for its calming effects — let’s take the shade to the bedroom. Accent with this soothingly-shaded lilac pillow by Thomas Paul (only $36 at Bluefly — and his pillows typically retail at $100 apiece!):
Decorate with this eye-catching print that Miss Big City (amazing, impeccable taste) pointed me toward ($29.50 unframed, closer to $100 with frame at Keep Calm Gallery):
The print pretty much speaks for the color itself: keep calm.
Addendum: You may have noticed that my site got a little face-lift and now features my new logo (!) and a different color scheme. Bear with me as I work out the kinks in the adjustments — it may take a few days to have everything as I need it. Thanks for flying by!