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Spring Fashion 2012: Five fashion experts offer advice on how to look your best for less
What's spring without fashion? Probably something like a vacation without sunshine, it's a much needed break but not quite as enjoyable.
Warmer-weather means retiring the boots and heavy jackets in favor of lighter, often brighter apparel. Pulling last season's clothes out of storage and, if our budget permits, heading to the mall for a few new outfits. It should be fun.
But, unless you're at least somewhat of a Fashionista, it can be tough to decide what to buy and trickier still to figure out how to incorporate this season's trends into your existing wardrobe. But, even the most fashion-challenged among us can look stylish with a little help from the experts.
To navigate the Spring 2012 fashions, I reached out to several professionals. Luckily they had a lot to share. While they didn't agree on everything, the one trend cited by almost everyone on our panel was prints, prints and more prints. Look for everything from oversize florals to geometric shapes and abstract art to tribal-inspired patterns to birds.
A few noted that color-blocking will be big as well. Overall, expect to see plenty of color this season including soft pastels, with an emphasis on the citrus shades of tangerine and lemon; bold, bright colors, especially corals and turquoise; and even neon.
Other trends mentioned by our mavens were:
•Ladylike, knee-length skirts and maxi-dresses (no mini-skirts this season, but expect to see plenty of pleats)
•Peplum on dresses, skirts and jackets is making a comeback
•Safari jackets (for men and women)
•Loose-fitting, wide-legged slacks
•Sports-inspired-clothing including anoraks, mesh, and the high-contrast colors direct from the playing field (thanks to the Olympic games)
•Hats ranging from printed caps to classic straw hats
Few people can afford to revamp our closets completely, particularly in this economy. Most have to settle for buying a few items and incorporating them into our existing wardrobe. For those of us without an innate fashion sense this can be challenging.
So what are we to do? Style experts say start with the clothes you already have.
“Find your closet favorites, whether it be a pair of jeans, skirt, crop pants, a dress, etc. and then build on that specific item. This way you know you are investing in pieces built around something you already wear and adore,” suggests Keith Fulsher, EVP, Chief Merchandising officer, Dressbarn. Jewelry is another great item that can be used to bring new and old pieces together, as well.”
Rosa Mae Neel , Esq. founder of Prune agrees. “Look for colors that are already in your closet that embody the spirit of the new season - maybe a red top that you can pair with that new magenta peplum skirt. Channeling a trend doesn't have to be formulaic. You can make it your own by creating a statement with pieces you already have. Look for staple pieces that are already in your closet (like a knee-length pencil black skirt) and add a bold floral print shirt or scarf to make it trendy.”
What if you can only buy one or two items? ”Use updated prints to bring pizzazz to your existing solid colored wardrobe pieces,” says Lizandra Vega style expert with Perennial Resources International. “Pair new tops with existing bottoms which tend to stay newer longer.”
Where to Shop
Not close to a large city or shopping mall? Just want to let your fingers do the walking? Not a problem. With online shopping you can browse and buy the latest fashions with a click of your mouse. Here is a list of the best places to shop as suggested by our experts.
If you don’t want to splurge on a dress for a one-time occasion, try renting it from Rent the Runway at a fraction of the cost suggests Neel. She also recommends ShopItToMe.com which will alert you by email when your favorite brands go on sale online.
Down to Business
So what about business? Wearing new trends can be more complicated when you’re interviewing for a new job or attending professional networking events. But it is possible to be fashionable and businesslike at the same time.
“The one thing to instantly update a business wardrobe would be new on-trend shoes. People should feel comfortable in what they're wearing during a networking event or job interview. If you don't feel comfortable in your clothes, it will show on your face and make you appear more nervous,” says Sean Phillips, fashion expert and founder of StLouisInStyle.com.”As long as you have a basic suit to wear to these types of business occasions, add some style with a great pair of shoes.”
Another way to add a kick to conservative business attire is with an interesting blazer or colorful handbag. Just make sure it works for your industry. “If it’s appropriate, try a contemporary style blazer in a shade of pink to update your look and set you apart from the crowd,” says Marcella Milio of Vestiti! a wardrobe and style consulting service. “Depending on the type of position a rosy-hued blazer may not be suitable. In that case you can instantly add interest to your look with a colorful handbag, but always in a structural, lady-like shape.”
So what if you can only buy one item this season? “Make it a boldly printed scarf or a statement bib necklace with colorful jewels. Something beautiful and classy near the neckline to frame and draw attention to the face,” says Neel.
Just add a smile, which is always in fashion, and you’re ready to go!