summer florals: wearing white one last time

As we begin the Labor Day weekend, I am prone to ponder the moratorium on “wearing white” after Labor Day.  I am a relatively newly relocated East Coast-er and I am just beginning to grow accustomed to the change of seasons and all that implies.  The transition from summer to fall brings subtle shifts in weather, emotions, expectations and perhaps most importantly – fashion and design :)  I will pack away my favorite white pants (that have the perfect hint of stretch) and nautical themed tops, but I will keep the memory of my first swim in the Atlantic and first Yankees game (Yay?  Boo?) close to the surface.

Here, one final ode to summer. A last celebration of white in all its glory, as expressed through flowers.  With the assistance of the sensational photographer Jennifer Davis, I treated these soft, white arrangements like little supermodels and set them about to strut their stuff on a blazing, hot day in a city park.  Farewell, summer. –Sarah

CLICK HERE for more images and Sarah’s how-to for creating this arrangement after the jump!

I love these modern, cube-shaped, white glass vases.  I loaded them up with dahlia (a reason to love the coming of fall!), ranunculus, tulips, spray roses, hydrangea, stock, calla lilies, orchids, lisianthus, sedum, snowberry and the “preppy” striped snow-on-the-mountain.

To achieve this look with your own design:
o    Select flowers that are as fresh as possible, even when choosing from a grocery store or bodega.  Pull bunches or individual stems out of the buckets and inspect the leaves and stems for yellowing, breakage or slime before buying.  Make sure the blooms are tight and don’t be shy…ask the shopkeeper when the flowers came in.  People are generally honest ☺
o    Choose a wide variety of flowers for visual interest – at least 4-5 different types of blooms in an arrangement looks sophisticated and can actually save money (you can combine less expensive and more expensive bunches in the same arrangement).
o    Mix carnations and ranunculus in with more expensive dahlia or calla lilies.
o    Mix open, round headed “face flowers” (like hydrangea, lisianthus) with tubular blooms like stock.
o    Try using a range of white and ivory shades to lend texture to the florals.
o    Clean all blooms free of leaves and blossoms that will fall below the water line.
o    Use a clean, white container in a sleek shape.  I like the contrast of a square or rectangular shape to pair with the soft, fluffy look of these florals.  As always, I recommend a place like IKEA for inexpensive modern vases.  You could even use a ceramic container or planter pot (check for holes!).
o    Cut the flowers on an angle and cut them short, so the head of the bloom sits just above the neck of the vase.  This puts the bloom on center stage (instead of the stem) and creates an abundant look with fewer flowers!
o    Use very few, if any, greens or filler…if you create a tight, “pave style” design (with the blooms cut short) you will not have to fill in.  You can dazzle with the beauty of your main attraction flowers.

Spectacular afternoon light glowed behind our “models.”

  1. Madeline says:

    Oh, I absolutely love these! So delicate and beautiful!

    I , sadly, can’t have cut flowers at home because my cat would eat them all… Yesterday he tried to eat my orchids!

  2. Val says:

    Forgive me, but I thought the rule of no white after labor day or before easter didn’t apply any longer? Maybe the fashion industry has yet again changed their minds…

  3. Alix says:

    Boo to the Yankees.

    Actually, the moratorium on white after Labor Day traditionally applied only to accessories: shoes, belt, bags, etc. White shirts are a year-round item! White pants, maybe not so much, but I’ll wear my white denim til Columbus Day.

  4. Lecia says:

    Dreamlike, beautiful. And the summer white, on the eve of LD weekend kind of makes my heart ache.

  5. Love the fresh, whimsical look of these white arrangements (I’m always a sucker for hydrangeas and ranunculus). Sad to see summer go, but I’m so excited for the fall. AND sometimes I like breaking the “rules” and wear a cozy white sweater or scarf in the winter to match my surroundings :)

  6. wow – they’re gorgeous! Such a classic look!

  7. Jenna says:

    Yay Yankees!

    And beautiful flowers. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Courtney says:

    I usually stay away from lots of white but I love it! Especially the containers which I think are similar to the ones we used for my wedding. :-)

  9. iris says:

    I’m pretty sure that “no white after Labor Day” fashion rule is one of those that’re supposed to be broken by the modern woman.

    …just like wearing pants and miniskirts ;)

  10. Sarah says:

    Hi there! Yes, I think most fashionistas have decided the “no white” rule is now defunct. I thought it was so quaint, though, so I used it for inspiration.

    @Courtney: The VERY containers from your wedding :)

    @Iris: Indeed, we are liberated from silly fashion rules!

  11. Bernie says:

    Love the flowers! Here in Fl. white is a year round color. We pretty much dont adhere to ANY fashion “rules”…..OK I must admit I still cant get on board to ADULTS wearing shorts to church on Sunday.

  12. amya says:

    love the white ladies arranged on the steps. gorgeous photos, gorgeous flowers.

  13. John Chen says:

    Wow!…Such a very beautiful flower… stunning and surprising flowers…

  14. Skye Diamond says:

    beautiful writing. beautiful flowers.
    a lovely way to say goodbye to summer.
    poignant fragrant classic.
    Labor Day=the USOpen.
    tennis whites, anyone?
    loved the designs!

  15. Linda Landig says:

    So ethereal and lovely, like passing clouds or flower girls. Thanks for sharing the joy!

  16. Therese says:

    Romantic, modern, and so chic!

  17. max says:

    Beautiful compositions and such a lovely pics!


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