At its heart, all romance is innocent, but it often gets polluted with a lot of unnecessary junk. Such as it is with life, and such as it is in fashion. The difference between embracing a romantic look in fashion and embracing a romantic outlook on life is that style is a lot easier to maintain, day in and day out. Easier, but not a total walk in the park.
The innocent romantic look is definitely in, but — despite its apparent unconscious naivety — the trend is quite consciously stylised.
What is the ‘innocent romantic’ look?
Think Bambi eyes, whimsical hair and makeup, dainty accessories and dreamy dresses. Admittedly, there’s an element of childishness to this appearance, but it’s also incredibly refreshing and endearing. Not everyone can pull off this look (and not everyone will want to), but many women will readily and easily slip into this day-dreamy sartorial stance. Others, by necessity or choice, may only adopt certain elements of the style. In a world awash with stark, brutal seriousness, it can be nice to take on the world of whimsy now and then.
Here’s how you can realistically make the ‘innocent’ romantic look work for you.
Embrace the Light
Light colours are going to be one of the most powerful ways to rock naive romantic style. Think creams and whites and pastels and neutrals. Not all of us will look great in baby pink, of course, but remember there are tons of soft colours that can complement your skin tone, and help you play up your inner innocence.
You don’t have to go with a solid soft colour, either: part of being a romantic involves nurturing your sense of play, so you can choose a pale pink dress, for example, with a darker pattern, like this one from Aje. The dress is still undeniably romantic, but there’s an element of confidence to it as well. It says, “Sure, I may cry everytime I watch Dumbo, but I can also climb Kilimanjaro in record time. I am women, I am complex.”
Bows and ruffles definitely speak to your inner romantic, but too many bows and ruffles will make your look more avant-garde than sweetly sentimental. So, by all means, slip into something a little frilly, but don’t let the embellishments start to take over. The innocent romantic look thrives on delicate simplicity. Think lace. Think florals. Think a well-chosen bow or ruffle here and there, but don’t go overboard.
You want to wear something that looks like it could be worn barefoot, picking daisies in a field — not something you’d wear to an experimental art show opening at the met and look like you were part of the exhibit.
Long and Loose
While you can certainly wear figure-hugging dresses or outfits and still nail the naive romantic, you absolutely must incorporate an element of fluidity. This is part of the charm of the romantic: that dreaminess.
Sure, this style has a hint of sexiness to it, but it should not smack of sex. A tight pink mini-dress, for instance, might have a soft, romantic colour, but the confines of the cut make it too risque to be romantic. Again, there has to be some fluidity to your appearance, be it a tighter, knee-length cream dress with a cascade of ruffles that falls from one shoulder to the hem, or a loose crop-top with a billowing A-line skirt.
The three tips we just talked about? Now, apply them to your accessories, too. Opt for softer colours for your bling (metallics can be soft, too: think white or rose golds and silver), and steer clear of too much jewellery in general to prevent ocular overload. The innocent romantic look is supposed to be easy on the eyes: it isn’t supposed to assault the senses. Again, you can wear more confining accessories, like a leather choker, for instance, as long as this tighter piece is balanced out with loose, tousled hair, or an up-do reminiscent of a classic Gibson girl.
Keep your makeup simple, too: no smoky eyes (unless you’re using browns/beiges) or bold colour choices. The key to mastering the innocent romantic style is to look fresh, free, and dewy: not tired, weighed-down and confined.
You’ve got the tips, so now go rock the look — and welcome to your more whimsical world of fashion.