“We’re still in an economic crunch, but that doesn’t mean you should relive Spring 2011,” says Marian Frances Wolbers, a fashion industry veteran and instructor at Albright College in Reading, Pa., and author of “Uncovering Fashion” (Fairchild-Conde Nast, 2009).
Wolbers likens a wardrobe to a stable of horses to help people stock a current – and economical – closet.
“Thoroughbreds” are the items you choose for show, for distance and for beauty. “They’re costly but worth it,” she says, like a classic trench coat. “From $300 to $3,000 – it can be had!” she says. “And if you’re lucky, even $30 if you can find a great Burberry in a consignment store somewhere.”
Other “thoroughbred” items she recommends for this spring include suits and dresses in soft neutrals. She also recommends a “little black and white dress,” like this floral sheath.
“Warmblood” clothes – casual wear for the “daily ride” – can be freshened for spring, too, she says. This year’s updates include: “destroyed or super-distressed shorts or jeans, polka dot tops or rompers, lightweight maxi skirts, patch skirts (like this one), and anything eco-friendly.”
“Paint pony” items -- flashy and fun dresses, new accessories and this season’s sandals – are easy updates for spring. “These are things you update every year, so you don’t want to spend a whole lot on them,” she says.
“Make a yellow statement this spring,” she recommends. “This is your last year for a while to wear yellow, so go for it in a big way. Even if you traditionally avoid yellow because it pales you out – a common problem for certain shades of blonde – go back and seek a shade that complements your skin tone and hair color. It’s out there. Try heading toward a light, light canary or a deeper gold. Avoid the middle yellow – chrysanthemum – unless you have dark tresses. You’ll be surprised how this bit of sunshine lights you up when you walk into a room.” Happy yellow frocks can be found at all prices both for those looking to splurge or save.
Spring is also a great time for stripes. “These can be nautical or not,” she says. “Just get some stripes going!” She recommends J. Crew’s Sasha maxi dress or L.L. Bean’s seersucker shirts.
Wolbers also suggests pairing corals and neutrals as a chic spring update. “The most attractive pinks are tropical floral or watermelon hued,” she says. “Put it together with a cool khaki or white jeans, either with a tank or cardigan. The look is full-on happy.”
Top it all off with a hat. “Fedoras for women and 1920s close caps are hot,” she says.
Born in Chicago in 1953, Marian Frances Wolbers writes fiction, drama, poetry, and nonfiction. Building on her background as a photographic and cosmetics model, a writer for several large publishers, and the CEO of a tennis wear company, Wolbers wrote Uncovering Fashion: Fashion Communications Across the Media, published in April 2009.
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