Alluringly Demure

Style guru charms us into putting a spring in our step this season with

The catwalks of London, Milan and New York have been awash with pastel colours, floral prints, and 1950s-style skirts this season. The 1920s look set for a revival too – with chiffon being the fabric of choice for some gorgeous floaty dresses. Generally the look is very feminine, very colourful and very pretty. In fact, spring /summer 04 has been hailed as containing the most wearable and inspirational fashion for years.

But we’re in York, a place the spectre of style seems to have bypassed in favour of sister cities Leeds and Newcastle. Lament no longer. Dry those tears and get yourself onto the high street – it really is looking surprisingly good. Armed with our indispensable guide you’ll be able to achieve this season’s key looks on a shoestring.

The high street is full of fifties inspired patterns, polka dots, stripes and ginghams in bright feminine colours. Miss Selfridge, Topshop and River Island are all carrying a good range of both clothes and accessories at fantastic prices. A 1950s-style skirt is an absolute must for the summer, and for those of you not so constrained by budget, Oasis and French Connection have some bold floral designs that are sure to get you noticed on the beach.

Feeling a little flush? If you’re intending to have a shopping spree at the same time as your next student loan instalment clears, why not pay Sarah Coggles a visit and be one step ahead of the rest. Coggles stocks higher end fashion, from the urbane and affordable Diesel, to top end labels like Matthew Williamson. Similarly in Van Mildert, who carry designers such as Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana, you will find unique garments with a more exclusive appeal.

The roaring twenties, an interwar decade of opulence and glamour are making a noticeable comeback this season too. That was pretty much the look we achieved in our selection from Topshop (see inset). The key elements; a chiffon flapper dress in a pastel shade complimented by some glamorous accessories – fabulous for a sophisticated night out. Lose the accessories and pair the dress with some jeans for daywear with a bohemian twist.

Top tip! For those with acutely tight budgets, fear not. Get into the season and get yourself down to the haberdashers. Splash out on some ribbon in the most exquisitely feminine hue you can find. The catwalks were full of it courtesy of Prada. Tie it around your waist, wrists and ankles, and pop a bit in your hair. You’ll look so pretty and you’ll be smiling all the way down the high street; having achieved the primster look at a fraction of the price.

All this talk of looking cute and adorable putting you off? In an era of female emancipation ‘pretty’ can be picked up and dropped as the mood takes you – so don’t worry if you can’t keep it up for the whole month, 75% of the time will do just fine. If you’re not normal that girly, just put the clothes on and they’ll give you an instant feminine allure … promise.

So remember, spring into spring with delicate pastels, floaty dresses and a touch of fifties style – think prim, think ultra feminine and make this a season to remember.

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