What’s strange about this picture? Trick question: nothing. Not any more, anyway. An outfit in top-to-toe green? Nothing to see here, people, move along. Perfectly normal.
But rewind five years and the answer would have been quite different: green was what you wore to be quirky or celebrate St Patrick’s Day. So this is the story of how the last alternative colour went mainstream.
Green is nature, the planet, the environment. That wearing green once marked your card as a little left of centre but no longer does is a basic signifier of the blindingly obvious – that we now take green stuff seriously.
Green made fashion headlines last year when Bottega green was pronounced the new black. A juicy, crayon-bright shade of apple, Bottega green was wildly popular, initially as a surefire way that as many people as possible noticed your snazzy new Bottega Veneta handbag and, soon after, as a fashion quick fix. Nobody wears Granny Smith green by accident, so a sweater in that shade tied around the shoulders, or even a neon-green manicure, worked well as a way of semaphoring your membership of the on-trend club. This kind of thing operates like a front-row version of the old school tie, but the point is that the design changes every six months.
The colour used to mark your card as left of centre but we now take green stuff seriously
This year, all kinds of green have had the green light. Not only acid neon, but olive and mint and emerald. And Kermit and Radox bubble bath. A blazer or a cotton shirt in Wimbledon grass-court green as a pop of saturated colour against white jeans and chunky flat boots is very Copenhagen Fashion Week (currently the most fashionable of fashion weeks. Do keep up). In Paris, a sleek, mini crossbody phone bag in Kelly green is the accessory to update your Breton top and jeans.
And there will be more to come. Because if you are power dressing for a party, then you are going to be wearing a slithery silk or satin dress, and ever since Keira Knightley wore that green dress on screen in Atonement, 15 years ago, it has been hard to argue that emerald is not the best of all possible colours for bringing maximum drama to a slippery cocktail dress.
One reason that green has not been a fashion mainstay is that, like yellow, it is neither masculine nor feminine. Being in neither camp has left green, well, sort of nowhere. But conversation around gender is rather more complex than it was in the days when pram blankets came in blue or pink and that was that. Green doesn’t issue you with a gender badge, and that makes it feel modern, relevant.
This year is not only about acid neon green, it’s olive, mint, emerald, Kermit and Radox bubble bath
A soft green is a way to do pastels without being twee. A recent study by Boohoo found that Google searches for “sage bridesmaid dresses” has risen 476% this year, its subtle chic hue as much of a calling card of the cool modern wedding as wildflower bouquets. Katie Arnott and Frances Cookson, founders of London-based contemporary and sustainable bridesmaid dress brand Rewritten, have sold green dresses since their first range five years ago. “We joke that we should be a green bridesmaid’s dress brand because they sell so well,” they say. Forest green is popular. “And olive dresses are like gold dust.”
Green is also having an interiors moment. It is likely you are already all over this – is there anyone who hasn’t bought a green velvet sofa, probably from Made.com? Green is everywhere, from houseplants to Bordallo Pinheiro cabbage crockery. My latest style obsession is not a pair of shoes but a yearning to paint a room in Palm, a Farrow & Ball shade described as “a love letter to the iconic palms that dot the LA skyline”. What’s more, it now matches some of my favourite outfits.