SANTA ANA, Calif. — It has been chilly lately, but soon enough the weather will warm and you’ll want a pop of spring to relieve the weariness of your wintry dark wardrobe.
But which of the many spring trends — cropped jackets, graphic black and white, vibrant color mixes and global print-a-paloozas — do you choose to get you through the winter blues?
“Spring ’13 trends offer something for everyone,” says David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, a New York-based retail and fashion consultant.
“There are a great many directions happening all at once with each designer/label offering looks that are true to themselves. Colorful and optimistic sums it all up, very possibly a reaction to a world fraught with problems and disasters. Fashion is acting as an escape mechanism.”
Eliza Morrison, sales associate at Copper Penny in downtown Charleston, agrees.
“We have a ton of color in our store right now,” she said. “Mint is going to be huge and black and white is going to be very popular, too.”
She said other popular colors are kelly green, cobalt blue and “really bright” neon colors.
But as far as styles, defining the waistline and playing with proportions are popular, but she said it’s more important to know your body type.
Gone are the days when you saw something on a runway in October and waited half a year for the trend to hit your mall. With the Internet — and the thousands of fashion bloggers and self-appointed stylists it has spawned — couture trends translate much faster into retail reality than they used to, Wolfe said.
Such “fast fashion” means antsy fashionistas can get a spring-look fix well before winter ends.
“There used to be a real ‘ripple-out’ timetable that said, ‘Paris now, Peoria in 18 months,’ ” Wolfe said. “That is no longer the case.”
And that ability to satisfy a fashion fan’s desire for the new hasn’t just made trends more accessible, it has made them easier to afford.
Wolfe points to the spring 2013 runways. They were full of black and white, which Wolfe deems “hardly a revolutionary idea,” and nearly immediately, fast-fashion retailer H&M is pushing black-and-white outfits. The Swedish retailer is selling a black-and-white-striped sheer blouse for $25 that looks like something off the Marc Jacobs spring runway.
But what to choose for your escape from now until actual spring without looking like you’re blindly following trends? After all, what works on the runways doesn’t work for your life.
“If you like a trend, you should try it,” says Sarah Bennett, personal stylist manager at Nordstrom in Costa Mesa, Calif. “Every trend is wearable; the key is tailoring it to your own personal style. Color is everywhere for spring. If you’re not ready for head-to-toe color, try starting small with a colored shoe or handbag.”
But the array of trends is dizzying. From the boxy silhouettes of Chanel’s sweet suits, Derek Lam’s saturated featherweight leather, Peter Pilotto’s hypnotic exotic prints, Chloe’s blinding white ensembles, Gucci’s giant ruffles or Michael Kors’ blue-green color mix, what’s a girl on a limited budget to do?
“With so many trends happening simultaneously, a smart shopper takes the time to familiarize herself with the options and to only adapt/assimilate those that truly suit her real lifestyle and budget. Forget Kim Kardashian and all those starlets on the red carpet,” Wolfe advised.
His easy solution is to choose something that looks like your style, but in spring’s favorite new colors.
“Color, color, color! But not any one specific color,” he said. “There will be brights, pastels, black-and-white and neutrals, too. ‘Proven newness’ is an important consideration. That means choosing something familiar (a garment or an accessory) that is in a new color or new material. It’s safe, but sort of exciting.”
Fashion blogger Beth Jones of B. Jones Style agrees. “Purchase one statement item in a bold color and pop it in your winter wardrobe, but get ready to wear it when spring comes around,” she said.
Another trend easily incorporated into your spring closet is lightweight leather. You might even have some left over from fall.
Ultra-soft leather details on shirts or dresses automatically make a piece look more sophisticated and give a classic sweater an unexpected edge.
Here, too, color can make it new, as leather doesn’t just come in black anymore (although black leather is iconic).
Choosing a trend that makes you feel like the ultimate version of yourself is the best way to introduce newness into your wardrobe.
“Fashion is a form of self-expression,” Bennett says. “It’s a way to tell the world who we are and who we aspire to be without saying anything. If we didn’t have fashion, we’d all be dressed the same; part of our identity would be erased.”
Post and Courier reporter Brenda Rindge contributed to this article.
Black and white and checks are huge for spring, and wearing it in a classic sheath is an ideal way to work the trend. Here: Kate Spade New York “Lorelei” dress ($378); Alexander McQueen black-and-white shoulder bag; Chanel sunglasses; and Sequin bangle ($28).×
Pairing bright colors in an unexpected mix, such as orange with blue and acid yellow, is an answer to spring’s head-to-toe color trend. Here: BCBGMaxAzria two-tone sheath ($268); Alexander Wang “Rockie” leather satchel ($795); Vince “Celeste” pump ($350) with colored bangles by Sequin ($25-$28) and Tory Burch “Lucas” link necklace ($295). All available at Nordstrom.com.×
The trends here include a bold color mix, leather detail and skater skirt. Pictured are: Aqua Milly leather collar sweater ($325); Miss Wu “Lush” striped silk skirt ($275); Vince “Celeste” pumps and bangles by Alexis Bittar and Sequin. All clothing courtesy of Nordstrom.×