The flower associated with youth and innocence is in full bloom on the high street...

Summer florals are nothing new in fashion, but this year one particular flower is taking over: the daisy. As the weather hots up, traditional black, white and orange daisy designs are flourishing, while more colourful interpretations are also in bloom.

The new trend featured prominently on the spring/summer 2019 catwalks, with a patterned cardigan at Molly Goddard, daisies covering colourful cut-offs at Marni menswear and embroidered on wicker bags at Loewe. Celebrities have also been getting in on the act: last month Alexa Chung wore a monochrome daisy-print dress for the launch party of her Barbour by Alexa Chung collection. Actor Hilary Duff was also recently seen wearing a maxi dress bedecked with the flowers in LA while, in London, model Daisy Lowe did justice to her name in a floral navy midi dress and boots.

John Dole, head of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, believes that the current appeal of the daisy print lies not in the flower itself but what we tend to associate with it.

“Everyone can relate to daisies,” he says. “Daisies remind us of flower gardens, cottages and other bucolic settings.”

Environmental psychologist Dr Tina Bringslimark agrees that “being out in nature can improve moods and have a stress-reducing effect. Daisies are, in general, associated with summer, light feelings and the easy living that comes with warm summer breezes.”

Little wonder that after a slow start to the summer, many of us are turning to our wardrobes to put us in a sunnier mood.

At Topshop, last year’s daisy-heavy Austin dress reportedly sold out in record time and has since been restocked on several occasions. This summer, the brand brought out six new mini versions of the dress, several of which also feature daisies. And while fashion fans are currently enamoured with Zara’s now-ubiquitous polka-dot dress – which has even prompted a dedicated Instagram account – the brand’s ruffled daisy print offers a fresh alternative.

Elsewhere, online fashion retailer Asos currently stocks more than 50 daisy-print pieces, ranging from mini sundresses in black and white to men’s revere collar shirts and a retro bubble backpack.

Loretta Breuning, the author of Habits of a Happy Brain, believes the daisy habit starts early: “We tend to associate daisies with the ideas of youth and innocence. We might associate it with the fun of picking them one by one as a child. Experiences that you have when you are young build stronger neural pathways and associations because the brain is more plastic at that age.”

(Amanda Holden, left, in Topshop’s Austin daisy dress; a model wears a daisy cardigan in the Molly Goddard SS19 show, centre; and Alexa Chung, right. Composite: Instagram, Rex, Getty)

By Leah Harper - Guardian