Smashing fashion: From lace to chambray and florals to camouflage, just about anything goes this spring

Lace is one of spring’s hottest trends and is seen here in a lace-patterned dress (left, worn by...
(BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Story by Becky Cairns
(Standard-Examiner staff)
Tue, Mar 12, 2013
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Dainty lace dresses and metal-studded military jackets are about to spring across the landscape.

Look out, too, for bright floral prints, soft chambray shirts and assorted shades of mint green coloring everything in sight, from slacks to earrings to pointy-toed heels.

As far as spring fashion trends go, you might say it’s a bit of a mashup for 2013 — a combo of the bright, the feminine and the sporty.

The good thing about today’s fashion options is that everyone can find something that suits her own particular style, says Kelley C. Tarzian, media relations manager for Macy’s.

“It’s not just one particular look or color that every woman has to fit into,” Tarzian explains in a phone interview from San Francisco. A woman does best, she adds, when she knows her own style and knows “what makes her look and feel fantastic.”

It’s time, then, as the snow melts, to take your pick of eight of the season’s hottest looks. Tuck any of these items away in your closet and you’ll be style-smart in no time.

1. Oo-la-la, lace

Topping fashion expert Emily McIntyre’s list of must-have items for spring would be a lace dress. Take your pick from vintage creams and pale pinks to bold, bright blues, oranges or greens.

“It’s really modern and reinvented — it doesn’t look like Grandmother’s lace tablecloth,” says McIntyre at JCPenney in Riverdale.

In addition to dresses, lace shirts and even skinny pants are all the rage. Or if you want to try this trend more sparingly, look for insets of lace in a top or a skirt, or even a simple lace trim around the neck of a T-shirt.

“We’re seeing the lace as a layering piece with different backdrop colors,” adds Tarzian — for example, a navy blue lace dress with fluorescent pink underneath.

The types of lace run the gamut, from traditional to open-weave fabrics to crocheted items.

“Lace is pretty, it is feminine. You can wear it with denim — you’re sporty, but you’re feminine — or you can wear it to dress up in,” says Jan Robinette-Wells, a buyer for Dillard’s western division in Gilbert, Ariz.

2. Flirty florals

Florals are huge, both in overall popularity and in their physical size on garments, says Dillard’s Jan Robinette-Wells.

Some garments have flowers scattered all over them, like a garden, the buyer says, and others feature just one or two oversized roses or orchids, as big as your head.

“I call them exploded florals, steroid florals,” Robinette-Wells says.

You’ll see flowery designs sprouting up on blouses, dresses, skirts, swimwear, and racks and racks of jeans. Plenty of handbags and shoes are also bedecked with blossoms.

Even tropical flowers, like the kind spotted on clothing in exotic vacation locales, are part of the mix.

“Now there are no rules — you don’t have to be on a tropical island to wear that,” Robinette-Wells says.

3. Peplums

A pep-what? — you might well ask. But you’ll make their acquaintance soon enough, these flaring flounces of fabric adorning the waist and hip area of a dress or shirt.

The peplum is a fashion trend from the 1940s that’s been recast in a modern mold, says Macy’s Kelley C. Tarzian.

“It really accentuates your curves and it gives a shirt or outfit a really feminine look or feel,” she explains.

Shirts with peplums pair best with skinny pants or pencil skirts. Although this is a youthful style, it’s also something the fashion experts say women of all ages can embrace without feeling out of place.

“I’m 62 and I have one; mine’s black with little white stars on it,” says Dillard’s Jan Robinette-Wells. She adds, “I don’t look silly at all — I look very cute.”

4. Colors galore

Spring’s trendiest color is mint green, popping up on clothing and accessories of all sorts.

“I can’t tell you how many mint shirts I’ve sold out of,” says Emily McIntyre at JCPenney.

Pastels are another spring favorite, but Dillard’s Jan Robinette-Wells says this year’s shades have more depth and aren’t so washed-out looking.

“The pastels are more like sorbets, so it’s a fresh pastel rather than a pale pastel,” she says.

If you want to make even more of a color statement, Macy’s Kelley C. Tarzian says, fluorescents are also big, from eye-popping pink to flashing yellow to electrifying blue.

Neon pinks, yellows and greens are out there as well, and are worth another look, even if you’ve shied away from them in the past, McIntyre says.

“I can’t wear bright neon next to my face, but I can get away with it in a skirt,” she says.

The advantage to all these bright colors is that they can easily be mixed with staples like black, white or metallics.

As Tarzian says, “It’s an easy trend to incorporate with what most of us already have in our wardrobe.”

5. Sporty accents

Warmer weather means a more active lifestyle and that sporty feel isn’t just for gym clothes anymore, says Kelley C. Tarzian.

Mesh or neoprene fabrics are appearing on both casual and dressy clothing items, the Macy’s spokeswoman says, like a puffy neon vest matched up with a classic white T-shirt and jeans outfit.

Futuristic cut-outs, abstract patterns, colorful piping and zippers are other examples of how the sporty trend plays out.

Tarzian says she tried on a classic black dress recently that gained a whole new vibe thanks to the addition of a shiny, neoprene-looking material at the waist.

“It gave it that sporty, sort of edgy look,” she says.

6. Chic chambray

“A chambray shirt’s your best friend — you can’t go wrong with it; it’s never out of style,” says Dillard’s Jan Robinette-Wells.

Chambray is a lightweight cotton fabric that, when crafted in blue, often resembles denim. The classic chambray shirt is updated this spring with embellishments like beadwork, lace or white polka dots.

Emily McIntyre at JCPenney says chambray can be teamed up with anything, from bright solid-colored jeans — a 2012 trend that’s still popular — to floral slacks.

“You don’t have to wear your denim shirt with your denim jeans,” she says. “That might be denim overload.”

However, denim-on-denim dressing is also a trend — “the epitome of casual chic,” adds Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trend for Kohl’s Department Stores in New York City, in an email. For best results, “Mix pieces in different colors and washes,” Wacksman writes.

7. Soft blouses

Sheer blouses are a hit for this year’s warm-weather days, in basic white or in colors like coral, mint, yellow, lilac or blue.

Kohl’s Sofia Wacksman says a solid sheer top can be paired with a like-colored camisole underneath to intensify the color, or a print or contrasting camisole will create a much different effect.

Another option is to wear a nude-colored tank under a sheer print top, so it won’t distract from the pattern, she says.

Peasant blouses are also part of this soft-dressing trend, and are characterized by a collarless, open neck, Jan Robinette-Wells says. The shirts often boast lace trim, and are generally more free-flowing and less form-fitting.

Summery crops or skirts are a good match for peasant blouses, the Dillard’s buyer says.

8. Military jackets

For a spring coverup, try a military jacket, JCPenney’s Emily McIntyre says, whether it’s standard-issue camouflage or a girlie pink or mint green.

“Really, anything military-inspired is pretty big,” she says.

Jackets may be found in leather or traditional or colored denims, and metal studs are a common accent.

“Just for a little extra flair — not too much, but just for a little extra shine,” McIntyre says.

fashion, Spring, style
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