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Anyone who cares about style is influenced by what they see—whether they admit it or not. For the same reason writers read fervently and artists travel widely, style conscious people always study trends to cultivate the eye — even if they don’t execute them precisely as seen.

Unfortunately, the habit of reading too many fashion blogs, books and magazines can add an unwelcome burden—an unconscious list of Dos and Don’ts based on someone else’s taste. Those lists can confuse and stymy the imagination, especially when things on the Don’t list suddenly transfer to the Do list, as is the case with three new spring fashion trends.

Shift happens

A mere 18 months ago, I was shopping in a vintage store with a friend who is always on the cutting edge of style. She shot me a look of reproach/horror as I pounced on a delicious pink dress. “Contemporary girls don’t wear pink,” she said. Fast forward to this spring, when every shade of pink from bashful blush to bubblegum has come to the fore. Ditto for pastels, which were recently considered gauche unless you were a little girl or a mature lady. (With her silver hair, my Mom can rock lavender like none other!)

Just when many of us have finally learned to moderate our impulse for matchy-matchiness, the two-piece suit has returned—not that I ever fully banished it from my wardrobe. Tailored clothes have always suited me and I wore suits whether they were in or not.

Then there is the denim playbook. I don’t even know how long ago the fashion police outlawed denim over denim, but today, you can mix it until the cows come home. And never mind the eternal back and forth over low rise or high waist, straight legs or flared, dark rinse or light wash. This year you’ll see it all.

The point is this: it isn’t the exact interpretation of a trend that makes it interesting. It’s what you bring to the look and how you pair it with what you already own.

Today, I’m sharing three easy ways to add spring trends to your wardrobe without breaking the bank or violating your personal sense of style.  

Pink. Not a girlie-girl, but you want to try pink? Fine! Choose a handbag or clutch in blush. The structured trend in handbags adds edgy statement for flowing, floral fabrics. Make it blush and you’ll add a feminine touch without looking unnaturally coquettish. Best of all, blush is a neutral that goes with everything!

Blush Handbags

 

Suits. There is nothing more feminine than menswear. Wait a minute…did I just say that? What I mean is this: the conflict between a woman’s body and a masculine shape is always captivating. As a bonus, it flatters many body types. A man-ish suit is the perfect way to incorporate this year’s pastel palette, which is both yummy and ladylike in champagne, butterscotch, lemon, pistachio, peach, carnation, lavender or gray. Add layers of jewelry, textured tops, lace or camisoles underneath to enhance the yin/yang effect.

pastel suits

 

Denim with denim. Yes, it’s okay—top to bottom! Pair the archetypal denim jacket already hanging in your closet (has there ever been a better investment?) with a flounced denim skirt. Buy mid-rise or high-rise straight-leg jeans and top it with a chambray shirt, buttoned up to the neck. Or, if you’re on a budget, head for the menswear department at Goodwill, where you’ll find lots of jeans to fit the bill. Cinch it all with a big silver or turquoise Western belt.

To keep a Western look from becoming cliché, add something unexpected—like a vintage tuxedo jacket with satin lapels, a bright cotton jacket or sequined sweater, and the prissiest (or clunkiest) shoes in your closet.

Denim collection

 

As I write this post, we’re in the midst of what I hope will be the last of our winter storms–a mix of sleet and snow. It forced me to cancel a favorite yoga class! Mercy, I hope spring is just around the corner. How are you planning to wear spring trends—without feeling like a fashion marionette? Share your favorite discoveries here!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.