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Floral dresses and white trainers = the end of style

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Sigh, the sun has returned. It means one thing for London’s pavements: the invasion of an army dressed exclusively in floral midi-dresses and box-fresh white trainers.

The past few years have seen a sure and steady decline of sartorial individuality during summer and this particular look has taken the year’s top spot as most spied on the street. How have we walked blindly into this pandemic of dreadful dressing? It is now impossible to leave the house, go to work, the pub, or even the corner shop without being deluged by hideous, multicoloured daisy prints and stamped on by a glaringly bright white trainer. If you think I am being hyperbolic, you haven’t stopped to count them for yourself.

That is what I did this weekend on Dean Street. It was the picture of a London August: the road-side bars were spilling over — the gays and theys were holding hands with pride, and cackles of laughter mixed with sirens. I was looking forward to some curbside trend spotting; London has long been an epicentre for oddballs and old-worlders with unique tastes and ways of dressing — and where better than Soho to flaunt it?

The summer 2023 combination which is rife across London (Aspiga)
The summer 2023 combination which is rife across London (Aspiga)

But the Zara, Rixo and & Other Stories-clad masses will not be contained to Covent Garden or Clapham this year. I watched as two 20-somethings went by in matching (and ghastly) digitally warped rose printed dresses — a cacophony of yellow, magenta, and off-cream. Both wore their white trainers; one in the exact Veja lace-up shoes the Princess of Wales was snapped wearing at Houghton Festival last weekend.

The true scale of this situation dawned on me in Oxford Street. They were everywhere — it was like spotting an ant in the grass, then realising the whole ground is moving. And the same went for commuters in Moorgate today, where the tepid combination looks to be the working wardrobe for the City set as well. What a shame to spend £150K plus salaries on looking like a clone on the Central line.

“It’s a famine of beauty,” the late fashion editor André Leon Talley once famously declared, “my eyes are starving for beauty!” I promise you, he is turning in his grave. Enough is surely enough: these streets have seen Teddy Boys and Mods, housed boutiques like Quorum, Michiko Koshino, Koh Samui and The Pineal Eye and produced some of the greatest fashion designers to have ever lived.

How have we walked blindly into this pandemic of dreadful dressing?

Not everyone has to see the road as their catwalk, but if you need a sign to stop following the lemming throngs towards the first purple petunia dress you can find in Whistles, let it be this. Men, take note too: just an ounce of joie de vivre — (ssh! even a little risk) — in a look will feed fun back into the atmosphere.

It’s high time we took this to the top brass. Sadiq Khan, perhaps Ulez-style cameras for the fashion police? Cookie-cutter offenders can cough up a tenner to go to the crippled art schools. It is visual pollution, after all, sapping the personality from our streets.