Canal Street Florals

Are fake blooms a faux pas?


“Are those real or fake?”

I clapped my hands over my mouth after the horrifying question had already flown off my tongue. You don’t just ask someone if her flowers are real or not.

If I were a less-rude person I might have tried to quietly determine their mortality by digging my thumbnail into the leaves. If it left a sappy mark, I’d have my answer. Since I was raised in a literal barn, however, I accidentally vocalized what the rest of us were thinking and thus my poor manners exposed the flowers and my friend.

Usually I can spot a faux orchid from a mile away (pro tip: if they’re dead, they’re real — no one can keep those asshole flowers alive). But I wanted to be sure because these fakes were particularly convincing. Their bright white petals stretched outward while the pink and yellow centers puckered up like lemon-faces, yet it was their decidedly un-plastic green stems that tricked me.

My next question was, “Where did you get them?”

Fake flowers aren’t anything to be ashamed of. I, for one, am not waking up at 5 AM to visit the local flower market so I can pick out the freshest begonias of the season. (Mostly because I have no clue what a begonia is, also because I’m not spending more on plants than dinner.) But for some reason there seems to be a quiet stigma attached to them…similar to the idea of wearing a knockoff designer bag from NYC’s notorious Canal street.

Maybe it’s because floral arrangements are currently “the new food” of the fashion world — a trend I’ve gleaned via Instagram wherein peony center pieces are now posted with fervency once reserved for macarons. And it makes sense when you consider fashion and flowers’ similarities: Instagram being one, the fact that trends and flowers die almost as quickly as they’re posted, being number two. Both are for pure aesthetic pleasure; they’re extensions of emotion and mood. To style a bouquet, Leandra pointed out, takes just as much skill as a perfectly layered outfit. And mark my words — there are judges of taste in both arenas.

Will the Suzy Menkes of the flower world please stand up.

My own fauxrchid anxiety stemmed from that of an old boss. She was very, very chic and devastatingly stylish, and she cringed at the thought of orchids’ fabric variety. When she had her second baby and I wanted to send her flowers in congratulations, the amount of panic that went into selecting the right arrangement felt as if I’d forgotten to study for my final exam in botany.

I clearly failed.

Upon my suggestion of a certain bloom-on-bloom-pairing, the florist assisting me raised her eyebrow so high that it was almost as if I’d asked her: “Your boobs. Are they real, or are they fake?”

I ended up dropping 200 dollars on my boss (who was worth it) and a bouquet that may have very well not been. Because while I can determine various shades of runway green, my own thumb remains a rather pathetic flesh tone. I’d love to be the woman practically drowning in vases of cherry blossoms and tulips, but I’m probably a lot more apt to splurge on designer shoes, all while relishing in the fact that I got my orchids from Zara.

Looking for ways to wear your Canal Street Florals? How about try a universally-flattering orange lipstick or a great blowout. Also, speaking of inspiration from the streets of New York, have you checked out our Summer 2015 Office Apropos yet? 

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  • GapToothedGirl

    You’re super fun!! I love your posts!
    xox, Gap.

  • slightly over the top
  • Loved this piece. I think good fake flowers bring as much awe and applause as their real counterparts. Except it’s a kind of “Oh, wow, you had me fooled there!!” awe.

    We have these large fake flowers that are quite whimsical and very clearly meant to be art pieces rather than real, so those to me seem acceptable because they aren’t trying to be anything they are not. My favorite bouquet in the house, though (aside from the occasional real one of sunflowers), is a bouquet made of buttons. It’s so cute and funky.

    And apparently we have “an abundance of flowers” in the backyard, says my mother, because she counts all the weeds as flowers. We have a decently-sized tree growing in the middle of the lawn because my mother refused to pull out the lil tree when it was in its weed-like baby state. I am not complaining. It will be a beautiful tree, and it’s one extra plant to absorb CO2!

  • Anne-Catherine Frey

    Haha Leandra you just made my evening!!

    • Mardigrassss

      It was written by Amelia…

      • Anne-Catherine Frey

        I’ve seen it, I meant it in a way that it’s on her blog! It was not quite clear, guess i was still laughing about this fabulous article:)

  • yvespink

    Very artistic flowers are pretty

  • Forgeous!

  • Dominique
  • Somebody from Somewhere
  • Tracy

    Leandra, you are so funny!

    • Leandra Medine

      Amelia wrote this!

  • i love fake flowers, i aint got time for the real thing!

  • Agoprime
  • I’ll still take fresh flowers over fakes — the most beautiful things in this world are usually temporary and flowers definitely fall under this category…and hey, if you can’t afford flowers, just lie on them in a park somewhere and have a good hour amid fresh flowers!

  • Leandra Medine
    • Amelia Diamond

      oh right

  • I don’t enjoy a fake flower, or an impostor plant for that matter. I do, in fact, kill everything. So, there is an internal dilemma happening. I received an orchid planted in a mossy stone platform, an enclosed in a beautiful glass cloche for my wedding. I watered and cared for this plant, made sure it had proper humidity – and it thrived! Turns out it was fake, and I was none the wiser, because I knew nothing about orchids at the time or gifting fake flowers. It was quite embarrassing, but everyone has a faux flower story, keep it between us, ok?

    • Amelia Diamond

      This is really funny

  • Living in Seattle you can get a beautiful bouquet of real flowers at Pike Place Market for $10, sometimes even $5 when the stalls are closing. I love seeing a flux of Valentine’s Day procrastinators anxiously running to the market for a last-minute bunch!

  • yeah but do you sell peonys?

  • ee_by_cc

    THIS post…golden! After having planned my wedding last year, I was appalled (mouth-agape and everything) about how much it costs for flowers. Then, not so funny. Now, great fodder for blog. Thanks for a laugh out loud moment at work today.

  • Haha I too was raised in a literal barn.
    Great post.


  • As much as we would like to quote The Devil Wears Prada, we love these florals and think that are the perfect embellishment for spring and summer…

  • I think its good to mix it up and have some faux but I love surrounding myself with fresh flowers.


  • Shanna Ossé

    “…if they’re dead, they’re real — no one can keep those asshole flowers alive).” Oh God how accurate! My mother is still trying to keep them alive… I’m from Canada, trees can’t survive the weather what makes you think a flower can?????

  • Ask Socratic

    Great piece!