Spring fashion: The new cool

April 07, 2011|By Clare Lochary | Special to b

It’s here. Finally. After months of sweaters and sleet and boots and blizzards, spring has returned. It’s time to put your winter wardrobe in mothballs and ease into warmer weather, longer days and, best of all, new, lighter, looser, cooler clothes. b checked in with some of Baltimore’s best fashion minds to find out what’s trending this  spring and summer.

Ahoy matey

Given Baltimore’s proximity to Annapolis, we probably shouldn’t favor Army green over Navy blue too much. Not a problem, since nautical details are popping up all over the place. “We like pairing navy and white stripes with accessories in yellow or orange for a little pop,” said Lesley Jennings of Hampden’s doubledutch boutique.

Blue’s hues

The cooler end of the spectrum looks, well, cooler, for spring: emerald green, sea blue and cobalt. One exception: Coral accessories add a pop of warmth.

’70s flashback

Is everyone else watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” on Hulu lately? No? Just us? Sure, every fifth outfit is a total caftan-headscarf-polyester disaster, but mostly Mary, Rhoda and even Phyllis are decked out in a groovy, easy-to-wear style that easily translates to 2011. Wider pant legs are key (more on that momentarily), and even preppy mainstay Tory Burch has tunics and caftans that look good and feel good to wear. For evening, give a nod to disco with a one-sleeve top or something metallic. 

A wider range of pants

Skinny jean haters, rejoice! The SJs are too constricting and heavy for warm weather, so there’s a definite shift toward a wider leg for spring. We’re not talking full-on “Saturday Night Fever” action, just a slightly roomier leg in the trouser, often combined with a high waist for a retro look. Lisa Ponzoli of Babe, a Federal Hill boutique, likes jeans with more of a flared leg for spring, too. Pair with a fitted shirt for balance. 

Ladylike hemlines

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a recession on, and people need to stock their wardrobe with versatile pieces that work in the office and on the weekend. Thus we have skirts falling to 1-2 inches above the knee, in fitted silhouettes to ward off dowdiness. (Cultural watchword: Vogue writer Sarah Mower called this length “the Middleton,” after the modest hemlines preferred by the world’s most famous bride- and princess-to-be.)

Hearty heels

Between boot weather and full-blown sandal season, buy some wedges and then some espadrilles. The former give a bit of structure to sheer, breezy pieces, and the latter make an easy transition into summer.

Lace up

Ponzoli has seen a lot of lace coming though her store. “We’re seeing a lot of softer looks for spring, and lots of sheers with layering,” said Ponzoli. Lace encompasses everything from ladylike frills to more bohemian crochet details. Ponzoli stocks tons of floaty Chan Liu dresses in taupes and whites, a welcome breath of spring.

Military ball

The color olive green and military-inspired jackets are all over the place this spring. These pieces play on ideas of hard and soft, strength and comfort, so they can provide a note of balance for a transitional season like spring. 

Prints charming

Aimee Bracken, owner of Form boutique in Woodberry, saw a lot of geometric and abstract prints at Fashion Week, and the trend just keeps coming.  

“There was not so much floral as it was more abstract — sophisticated but interesting,” she said. Wavy stripes with almost a tie-dye effect are also popular. Just keep it sophisticated for spring and hold off on the full-blown flower power patterns until summer. 




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