This spring, you’ll find all your favorite patterns out there – stripes, polka dots, florals, even some gingham checks. But the stripes might be at a diagonal, the polka dots the size of saucers and the florals – well, let’s just say that growing conditions were ideal. Blooms are big. Sometimes explosive.
And since life is not always a picnic, gingham checks get a sophisticated lift. A theme on some runways – Diane von Furstenberg is one designer who showed them – the graphic checks have now landed in stores and on websites on trench coats, shirts and even some pieces suitable for the office. New York & Company includes gingham in its 7th Avenue Suiting Collection – jackets, pants, pencil skirts – as well as on dresses. In a window display at the mall, bright yellow adds a pop of color to black-and-white gingham pieces.
As for those polka dots – a perennial favorite that shows up on everything from phone cases and handbags to capri pants and maxi dresses – designers and retailers mix them with other patterns this spring. Dots with dots. Dots with stripes. Dots with plaids or paisleys. A little daring, for sure.
A few other trends to check out:
• Culottes: That’s right; they’re back – from sporty to quite chic. You can wear them casually with a cropped top – not necessarily midriff-baring but rather proportioned to the fullness of the pant – or you can dress them up.
“They are flattering. They may not work for everybody, but they do work for a broad range of women,” said Julie DeLoreto, manager of Leelee, 5444 Main St., Williamsville.
“I was watching ‘Good Morning America,’ and Tove Lo was singing. She had on a pair of culottes with a bra top and a blazer. She made it really funky, but not every woman has to do that. The culottes also are appealing to women in their 40s and 50s. They’re also great travel pieces – easy, comfortable, no-wrinkle,” said DeLoreto, noting that fabric options include rayon, polyester and cotton.
While the drapey culottes are dressy, cotton chino culottes are much more casual. For a nautical look, wear them in navy blue with white sneakers and a striped top, DeLoreto suggested.
• Stripes: An essential ingredient to the timeless nautical look, stripes show up in many other ways. A mannequin sports a sleeveless sheath with bright stripes at J.C. Penney. A striped straw tote from Dana Buchman at Kohl’s reminds one of espadrilles. Stripes are a big consideration for spring.
“The classic pattern gets a playful update with a fun mix of widths and shades. Work it in big or small doses, and ground it with solid hues in the same color family or denim,” advises editors in the March issue of People StyleWatch.
• Lace and eyelet: You can go all out or add just a touch. But it doesn’t have to be frilly. Consider the modern shapes at the Gap, where fit-and-flare dresses, shift dresses, shirts, peplum tops, skirts and bomber jackets come in solid-colored eyelet fabrics. Some are white; others indigo, black or navy. The shift dress comes in an eyelet-striped pattern, a fresh take on the feminine look.
• Spring jewelry: “Statement necklaces are still in, but we find a lot of fabric necklaces now – which are beautiful. They have stones in them, but the background is fabric,” said Sandy Wisbaum, co-owner of Wear House Accessorized, 2395 Maple Road at Transit in the Tops/Marshall’s Plaza, Amherst.
Other jewelry trends: Long necklaces. Lots of flowers and colors. And gold.
“Gold is everything now. It keeps going back and forth; now everything is gold. And hoop earrings are back; they never really went away. I think they are wonderful. You don’t have to think; they take no thought,” Wisbaum said.
• Soft pants: Slip into a pair of these, and you may never want to take them off. Some styles have elasticized cuffs for the track pants-inspired look.
• Jumpsuits and rompers: Lord & Taylor devotes a category to these on its website, showcasing styles from Free People, Trina Turk, Guess and others. They show up in collections elsewhere, too.
• Fringe: It’s hard to believe fringe not only is sticking around for another season but that some consider it a “must-have.”
Aimee Heckel from ShopAtHome.com wrote: “A little bit Western, a little bit boho, fringe accents can be found anywhere, from handbags to boots to necklace accents and far, far beyond. We love fringe for its movement, texture and its simple but big impact. A little bit of fringe goes a long way in making a style statement.”
Or, as the editors at People StyleWatch put it: “Pair it with simple pieces for a modern look.”