Although this is the time of year that finds college students interviewing, it is also a time for more light-hearted, off-hours dressing – spring is the perfect time to delve into just that! From a more casual point of view, I’m seeing even more variety in this year’s trends than last year – and I thought LAST year was pretty varied. That said, there are some common threads among the varied offerings being shown across the fashion magazines and in the stores, and I’ll touch on some of these.
A Bright Idea – Bright colors are a staple again this season, and what better way to get through the April showers and into a summer mood than through the colors of May flowers! Pantone may have told us that Honeysuckle is the color for the season, but I am invariably seeing my favorite color, bright orange, on the pages of all of the magazines and in stores. Pantone’s Fashion Report for Spring/Summer 2011 gave us many brights to choose from, and in addition to solids, they can be found in patterns like bold stripes, pretty florals, plaids and the like. For those men who may be color challenged, but want to stick their toe in the water, beautiful shirts, ties, and colorful seasonless cashmere sweaters that will serve you for seasons and years to come – they can be found at retailers from Ralph Lauren to LL Bean and others. It is fun to play with color and build it into your wardrobe – how will you add it to yours? Clothing, accessories, jewelry, ties?
Put it in Neutral – In a total about face, there is also a trend toward subtle neutrals. An overall neutral look is very sophisticated, and head to toe neutral can serve as a great canvas on which one’s jewelry and other accessories will really pop. For summer, I absolutely love neutral-colored linen – if you can find clothing in a silk and linen blend, the garment will wrinkle less. For women, the neutral shoe is a seasonless staple, working with everything from brights and other neutrals to charcoal, navy, and black. I recommend at least one pair of neutral pumps and one pair of flats.
That Snake-y Feeling – As a departure from last fall and winter’s leopard print, faux snakeskin and snake-embossed leathers are showing up on shoes, bags, and fabrics for spring and summer.
The Long and Short of It – Shorts are being shown in a very current way, some plain and some rolled up, paired with creative jackets, long cardigans, and blazers, and they’re being worn with flats and platforms alike! Provided you are age-appropriate and have the legs for it, this can be a fun weekend look. Remember – we don’t let the trend wear us!
Welcome Back – Vintage jeans, peasant-type blouses, longer maxi-skirts and platform sandals, are prevalent, all of them as part of a nod to the 70s with a modern twist….and then there is denim…
Got the Blues – Denim is being used in all types of garments, from shirts and dresses to skirts and tailored jackets. The classic denim jacket and our beloved jeans are showing up in light and dark washes and in white, from trousers and straight legs to skinny jeans and jeggings. Keep in mind that it takes time to find the right jeans, so be patient and have fun with the process. No “mom jeans” or “dad jeans” allowed!
Big Bad Shoes – Platforms are huge this season (figuratively and literally) along with espadrilles, chunky heels, and clogs. Not to be outdone, the classic kitten heel is holding its own and is always a good investment as it dresses up or down depending on your mood and your outfit.
Etcetera, Etcetera – Accessories that will update your wardrobe quickly include envelope clutches, jewelry with bronze or gold tones, and vintage-inspired sunglasses. I’m a fan of mixing metals, as you don’t have to buy as many new pieces, and the look off the different metal tones together gives great visual depth. Fabulous sunglasses will have people looking at you in a different light, and if you find a clutch with a pop of color, it is sure to be noticed and admired.
With so many varied choices this season, the thing I always remind clients is to take your time and have fun with the process. First, shop your closet, then shop with a plan. Playfully stretch your comfort zone, and you may just find that you absolutely love something that you would never have tried on before.
Have a great month and stay stylish!
Stephanie Deitzer, founder of Style at Work, believes that embracing one’s individual look empowers them in business and other life roles, and that finding this look should not only be enjoyable, it should be exhilarating. She helps clients with practical approaches they will use every day, creating a cohesive, efficient, exciting wardrobe – a style at work.