When does Spring begin? Groundhog Day? Valentine’s Day? The official 1st day of Spring? None of the above! Spring begins when we long to shed the layers, the earmuffs, the mufflers, the grungy rubber boots…when we need a fashion booster that makes us feel optimistic, fresh, young, attractive, happy with ourselves, regardless of climate (including the financial one) or temperature….when we yearn for feel-good clothes like feel-good movies.
Spring 2009 comes in both as a LION and a LAMB…for Spring’s colors are both: full-strength pulsating or quietly diluted. Think purple/lavender, hot or blush pink, orange peel/orange sorbet, string-bean/celedon, lemon juice or egg yellow. You get the idea! Or mix the two…hots and pales..great new duos!
And then there are the non-colors, the always perfect neutrals, like light khaki, sand, ivory…combine those with white for a fabulous new combo! Pure white….white heat for a cool summer look. For crispness it’s sharp white and black, especially in graphic prints like grids, graphs, dots, stripes.
Speaking of prints: all the good ‘ole American classics are back: the nautical stripes, picnic checks, ginghams, polka dots. Again, the fun is in the mix, a fashion-y scramble of two or three…with some flower-strewn numbers tossed in as well. Try for eclectic, unorthodox fashion stews!
Now, seriously, you’d better opt for a new jacket…or two. There’s the faithful boyfriend (great with slim trousers or the age-appropriate mini)…the cargo or safari-chic jackets…long ,lean and fluid toppers… short and nipped in ones…boleros (great over tanks or sleeveless dresses) and sleeveless jackets/cardigans…trenchy jackets always (the trench coat is a perennial now ), and dressier versions embellished with cowl necks, bordered in delicate ruffles, lacey trims, a touch of metallics, of glitter, of lame. Everyone needs a “shining” moment sometimes!
Shoulders are sharper…. just a hint of the 80’s ( not Dynasty!) and with the importance of the jacket, hello to the monochromatic suit,
whether you opt for a skirt or trousers. Which brings us to pants:
The newest are comfy-wide on top, tapered, pegged and chopped a the ankle. Not to panic, because trousers… wide or slim… are always with us! As for shorts…. also called “mini with legs”… if you’re young, toned and hip, you might take them into town with a great jacket…or confine them to your sportier moments! When it comes to skirts…. chose the shape that works best for you: straight, A-line, flared…and yes, the circle skirt returns to fashion : think gingham with the ubiquitous white shirt! Let’s face it… there’s nothing like a great white shirt, always!
And then there is the dress, which couldn’t look better this season….Along with the classic shift/sheath and the shirt dress, there’s lots of news: the sport-dress, T-shirtdress , polo-shirt dress and some softer more fluid shapes; curvy, belted, with more rounded skirts. Plus more constructed numbers, geometric like sculpture in motion….and even double-breasted coat dresses.
Like colors, fabrics have a split personality: cottons/linens that are wrinkled/crinkled/rumpled and fabrics that shine/shimmer, like gorgeous silk charmeuses , lacquered linens and organzas, metallic linens, silk jacquards, summer brocades. Yards of chiffon.
Late-day is a case of hide and seek: subtle cut-outs and transparency, revealing a bit of skin under a veil of sheer. … playing with nudity not flaunting it… like sheer hemlines revealing a bit of leg, sheer insets here and there. Or dipping hemlines, short in front long in back. The cold shoulder is hot….one-shoulder looks reign . The newest night extra is fringe: lots or little, it’s sexy, it moves, it’s pure glamour.
The extras: belts, corset-high or classics firmly circling the waist.
Slouchy satchels, hobos, unusual totes, chain-handled lady-bags. And make it something reptile, albeit fake!
BUZZWORDS FOR SPRING 2009: the real suit…the spring/summer jacket….safari/expeditionary airs…ethnic influences
(Morocco, India)….the jumpsuit….town shorts….the lwd ( little white dress)….Americana ( gingham et al)….discreet transparency…unexpected marriages/eclectic combos ( stripes +dots, tailored jacket +chiffon skirt, hot + cool colors).
We need OPTIMISM (it’s recession-proof)…we need feel-good clothes….we need Spring in our lives. So for once in your life try being a sort of realistic Shopaholic. We’ll keep your secret! Enjoy!
Edie Locke, my dear friend and fashion mentor, was the editor in chief of Mademoiselle Magazine from 1970 to 1980. She is one of those women with the “gift” of style. She embodies the ability to interpret fashion’s latest trends in a manner that is chic, feminine and supremely wearable. Thank you Edie, for once again gracing us with your fashion wisdom! Love, Barbara