From bright, Pucci-print legwear to Jackie Kennedy pillbox hats, the hottest accessories for spring will have a definite '60s feel. Even in workday wardrobes, "flower power" is back with a vengeance.
"The flower motif is going to be the basis for almost everything," says Ray Michener, manager of Ruth Shaw. Handmade silk flowers will bloom on the lapels of tailored jackets, while bold floral prints will perk up scarves and leggings. Linda Scherr, owner of Rococo, is carrying earrings adorned with enameled daisies.
Another 1960s-inspired sensation is the small, structured handbag, "versus the big, floppy shoulder bag that people have been carrying for the last few years," says Ms. Scherr. "The little handbags lend themselves very well to sheath dresses, for that Jackie O feel." The smartest purses will sport quilting or gold trim, according to Nancy Chistolini, vice president for creative merchandising for Hecht's.
Jackie Kennedy's little white gloves will also be making a comeback, predicts Nancy Sachs, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue in Owings Mills Mall. "You will see them accompanying a lot of those special dresses and suits," she says.
The '60s influence is even making itself felt in footwear. Casual shoes may sport Pucci prints or other bright designs. Spring boots, short or over-the-knee, in black or white crinkle patent leather look great worn with leggings or short shorts, says Hess Shoes spokesman Michael Azzolini.
Vinyl shoes are also big news. "See-through vinyl gives the foot a very naked look," says Mr. Azzolini. "You may see either a metallic trim or a metallic bow with the vinyl, so that on the foot, all you see is this line of color."
The ever-popular espadrille will be brighter than ever in shades of fuchsia, bright blue and purple. Some manufacturers have fancied them up even further, adding studs and metallic rope trim.
In dress shoes, slingbacks and pumps with mid-to-low heels are in this spring. "The emphasis in shoes is on interesting heels," reports Ms. Chistolini. Look for stacked heels instead of covered, advises Mr. Azzolini.
As for color, "black is still one, two and three," says Mr. Azzolini, but shoes with positive-negative coloration, such as black and white or navy and white, are a very fashionable choice. Mr. Azzolini is also enthusiastic about "washed-out metallics, leaning toward the pewter and silver family more so than the bronze and gold. That becomes a very neutral coloration for spring."
J. C. Penney spokeswoman Jan Flora says shoes with a nautical flair will be popular. "We're going back to a dressier look, kind of a yachting or club theme," she says. "With that, you would wear your espadrilles or boat shoes, or a spectator shoe if you're going out with a crest-and-anchor motif."
Thanks to shorter hemlines, legs will be on display, making legwear a crucial spring accessory. "I'm buying a lot of patterned tights and capris with big floral prints, and a lot of lace treatments," says Ms. Scherr. With business suits and dresses, the preferred look for hosiery is very pale and sheer.
Ecological themes will be very strong, particularly anything relating to the sea. Watery shades of blue and green are being used extensively in sportswear, so why not choose a marine-inspired accessory, such as shell jewelry or softly tinted pearls?
Hats are becoming a must-have accessory, for reasons of health as well as fashion. Big, slouchy, wide-brimmed shapes that protect the face from the sun's damaging rays have been strong sellers at Hats in the Belfry's Harborplace location, says owner Linda Kurpjuweit. "People say their doctors have told them to wear hats," she says. Basket-weave straw hats look delightful in tropical colors such as salmon, mauve and fuchsia, perhaps trimmed with fruit or flowers.
Demure pillbox hats and cloches are also in vogue, and many styles will have a touch of whimsy, such as fluffy feathers or splashy sequins. Ms. Kurpjuweit predicts that unusual baseball caps will be a hit. "It seems like that wearing baseball caps is the new yuppie thing," she says. "We have them with fancy trims, jewel-encrusted trims and scarves."
Brightly colored headbands or headwraps are the perfect match for another reborn 1960s fad, the flip hairdo. And for a look that's really retro, just tie a crisp white kerchief over your tresses.
Scarves will be blazing with color, boasting psychedelic designs, polka dots and the ever-popular floral patterns. The environmental look is also making an impact, as shell and marine-life designs turn up on silk scarves.
In jewelry, the rule to remember is "less is more." "It's very pared down," says Ms. Sachs. "Accessories are not being done in multiples. There won't be that overabundance of jewels on top of jewels." Instead, try wearing one dramatic accent piece, such as a chunky choker, a necklace made with oversized, pastel-tinted plastic pearls, or a wooden cuff bracelet.
"A lot of the spring jewelry is very reminiscent of the '60s, big and clunky," says Ms. Sachs. "I see very bold gold. Shiny patent leather is going to be very big, and bold gold will be a great accent."
After two years of producing stretched-out earlobes, shoulder duster and chandelier earrings have become "sort of passe-looking," says Ms. Sachs. "Things are basically going to be a clip," agrees Mr. Michener. "We'll see lots of neat, square earrings, many with big stones."
Ms. Scherr will be carrying some longer earrings, "but they're not as heavy and bulky as before," she says. "They're generally going to have one strand. It's a lighter, softer look."
Ms. Chistolini feels that pendant necklaces will be making a comeback this spring. "We're seeing a lot of pendants with just one charm or item, such as a little perfume bottle."