There is still snow on the ground, but I am already looking forward to spring – tossing the parka and gloves for lighter weight, happier clothes.
And this spring, designers are thinking happy thoughts. There are so many inspiring, cheerful, motivating trends this coming season it's hard to not smile when thinking of warmer months. Here are some items that are on my must-have list for spring:
Lands End Boatneck Sailor Tee
I already have one of these shirts – have had it for a couple years and it still looks like new. This top totally goes with the nautical theme this spring, but in a very classic, flattering way. The knit is heavy, it has stretch but has an almost twill-like texture. Mine has been in the washer and dryer dozens upon dozens of time and the only problem I have had is that the neckline sometimes folds over if it gets stuck in the dryer with heavy garments like denim (nothing an iron can't fix).
I think the reason I love this top from Lands End so much is that is fits the current theme of nautical-inspired fashion, but it's a timeless classic color combination and silhouette that can still be worn years from now without looking passe.
I have it in large regular and it fits my 12/14 shape in a relaxed/comfortable manner. It hits high hip on my 5'3″ self, bracelet-length sleeves that just scream spring. The ivory/true navy is a great classic color combination – the navy is dark and deep, the ivory has a very neutral undertone that works with most skintones. I love this top so much I am toying with getting another color combination in a smaller size so it's a more trim fit that would look great with skirts and under jackets.
Starting at $29.50, petite and regular sizes XS – 3X at Lands End.
Boden Sateen Pencil Skirt in Yellow Capri
I never wear yellow, it doesn't look good with my skintone. However that doesn't stop me from loving it. I always gravitate towards a garment that lets me wear it without it wearing me.
This skirt from Boden does just that, plus it really incorporates the spring trend of citrus colors accented against neutrals. I can see it with a crisp white shirt and a belt in hot pink or mango, with a navy turtleneck sweater and tan heels, with a blood orange tee shirt and a casual sandals, with a black blazer and pumps for a work meeting. Extremely versatile, and a piece that is on-trend for Spring 2011, but not passe a year from now.
$78.00, available in sizes 2 – 18, at Boden.
Enzo Angiolini ‘Sully' Platform Pump in Taupe Suede
There is nothing better in spring than a fabulous pair of skin-tone heels. It elongates the leg and coordinates with everything in your wardrobe. This pump, available exclusively from Nordstrom is on-trend with the nude color and platform heel, but classic with its suede exterior and peeptoe.
I prefer a skin-colored shoe in a textured fabric like suede – it blends into the leg better, and I find that nude-colored leathers can often look cheap or gaudy if the leather is too soft or too shiny. The reviews are pretty good, and there's a heck of a lot of style for a lovely under-$100 pricepoint. Pair with skirts, dresses, or even trousers for an elegant spring look.
$88.95, available in sizes 4.5 – 10, exclusively at Nordstrom.
ISAAC MIZRAHI LIVE! 100% Cotton Ruffle Front Chambray Blouse
I lived through the chambray period – I had chambray and denim shirts in every shape and size, chambray jumpers and shirt dresses and pleated paperbag-wait trousers. I usually believe that if you live through a trend once, you shouldn't wear it second time around. When I started seeing chambray in the stores, I was a bit horrorified – I immediately thought of an acid-washed chambray shirtdress I wore in high school with Sam & Libby granny boots.
However this season, chambray is done in a way that is fresh and modern. This shirt from Isaac Mizrahi's line for QVC has so many adorable details – the ruffled placket, the 3/4 sleeves, and I like that it is thin and breezy. I can see it with a tailored suit for a board meeting, with a crisp pencil skirt in a cheery color, or even tucked into some wide-leg denim trousers. Once Memorial Day arrives, this shirt would look amazing with some straight-leg white jeans and sandals.
Currently on sale for $33.28, available in sizes XS – 3X, at QVC.
Ann Taylor LOFT Woven Shift Dress
Shift dresses are my go-to each spring and summer. They are a classic, stylish way to stay cool and look professional at work, yet can easily dress up or down for weekend and evening activities. I love this dress from LOFT because it is so versatile of a color and a silhouette.
Pair the dress with nude pumps for day, or up the glam a notch for evening with some metallic sandals. With strappy heels and sparkly jewelry, this dress could look great for an evening wedding, with flat sandals and minimal accessories, the dress would also be great for weekend brunch with the girls.
To get the bright color combos that are so hot for spring, put a hot orange patent belt at the waist. After this trend has ended, this dress will still look fantastic on its own, or with a belt in a different color or fabric.
The slight cowl at the neck and subtle pleating at the waist makes this shift far more flattering and forgiving to curvy figures, and I adore that is comes in tall sizes so my leggy friends won't be showing too much skin at the workplace!
$79.50, available in regular and tall sizes 0 – 18, at Ann Taylor LOFT.
Amiee Lynn Skinny Patent Belt in Fuschia
You must be living under a rock if you haven't yet heard that Honeysuckle is the Pantone color of the year. This is a bright, vibrant pink, and I think a color that makes a great base hue for garments, but also for a pop of color to wardrobe basics.
This belt from Amiee Lynn for QVC comes in a bright fuchsia that fits the Pantone concept for 2011, but is a great price that won't make you have buyer's regret for jumping on a trend bandwagon. Wear this belt over simple sheaths, have it nip in sweaters when paired with wide-leg trousers or pencil skirts, replace the self-belt in your shirt dresses with this cheery number. Once it's in your wardrobe you will be amazed at how versatile it is, and how it can make your classic look fresh and new.
$17.50, available in sizes XS/S through 2X/3X at QVC.
Gap Wide Leg Trouser Jeans
After a winter of stovepipes and jeggings, it is so refreshing to see that the wide-leg jean has made a comeback. This version from Gap has simple lines so you won't end up looking like a fashion victim if you wear them past spring. In a dark wash, it elongates the leg and works with more colors and silhouettes already residing in your closet.
With a nautical-striped tee, it would be a great weekend look. Pair with a navy ribbed turtleneck and a hot pink or orange patent skinny belt for a great Casual Friday look. They would also be a fresh companion to a lacy blouse (another hot look for spring). A chunky platform shoe will balance out the wide leg.
Slash pockets can be a bit dicey on curvy women; I have found Gap to make the most flattering pants with this sort of pocket. However if they gap for you, there are plenty of other brands with similar trousers – in a pinch I have been known to seal up such pockets with a bit of Stitch Witchery.
$69.50, available in petite, tall and regular sizes from 00 to 20 at Gap.
What is on your must-have list for this spring? What trends do you plan on adding to your current wardrobe?