Spring Into Fashion

12 tips to keep cool while the weather warms up

Story and photos by Emily V. Smith

Funky Chunky Knits with Jacqueline Manhattan

No. 1 — Funky Chunky Knits

Hot off the presses: For spring 2011, chunky knits abound!

Yes, chunky knits are usually reserved for the winter months, but spring IS all about the act of transition, and often, in early spring, heavier pieces are necessary. Look for ones with short sleeves and/or a cropped hemline.

Personally, I love them. And if I wasn’t already pushing 6 feet and sporting a somewhat athletic build, I’d wear them everyday. Alas, I shall pass, but you, young (or not so young) fashion vixen, please give ’em a chance! They are beyond fabulous when paired with tailored high-waisted shorts and some lace-up granny boots. Make sure you don’t look like a linebacker by keeping a little skin showing … it IS spring, after all.

TIP: My favorite part of this outfit is the CASHMERE LEG WARMERS. I made them by simply cutting off sweater sleeves that I didn’t use anymore. They are lightweight and versatile … heck, you could even wear them as arm warmers. All it takes is a pair of scissors, so Mommas, make a pair for your little girls too!

* Esque stripe shorts from Maude Boutique. Hand-knit vintage chunky top and cashmere leg warmers from Potter’s House Thrift.

No. 2 — Accessories Worth Collecting: Old Watches

As a longtime and avid thrifter, I have amassed quite the collection of old, gaudy, vintage, plastic, gold, dainty, chunky, old man style, wonderfully unique watches … some of them work, some don’t. Eh, some WOULD work if I ever thought to put a battery in them … but I digress.

Either way, as an actual functioning timepiece or just as good-looking wrist bling, second-hand watches (especially when worn in multiples) look pretty stinkin’ hot. Try mixing them with a gold chain-link bracelet or two … maybe a leather cuff.

Multiple-Use Alert with Shayla Turner

No. 3 — Multiple-Use Alert

Silk tops have been on the scene for decades now. Halston did them in the ’70s, shoulder pads found a home beneath “power” silks in the ’80s, I wore my fair share of them tucked into tight-rolled jeans in the ’90s, and now, as I realize how (insert explicative here) old I am getting, my keen fashion sense tells Momma that those vintage silks can be revamped, remade and shine like a  new penny. Praise ye, sweet, sweet silkworm.

I have seen numerous simple silk minidresses in the magazines for spring ’11 (including my favorite magazine, Lucky) that are no more than an oversized button-down shirt. If you can believe it, the particular dress that caught my eye and prompted this segment was $725 dollars! No thanks.

It is an easy look to pull off. Admittedly a major thoroughbred clotheshorse, I shop several days a week. If I had a store and could stock it with amazing, oversized silk tops (to be worn as dresses), I could have done it a million times over by now. Lots of stunning silks are out there; all you have to do is look. This hot pink number set me back a whopping $2 at Salvation Army. Looks like I saved myself about $700. Nice.

No. 4 — Lovely Lady In Lace

Turn on your computer and type in “top fashion trends for Spring 2011” and you will likely find lace at the top of the leaderboard.

I love lace. Lace is ladylike. Lace is provocative. Lace can be innocent and girlie or raunchy and dark all at once. For the most part, lace works within the context of your outfit and serves as the catalyst that sparks the initial fire. Envision a Doris-Day-meets-Stevie-Nicks type of ensemble. Va-va-voom!

As a child of the ’80s, I most often link my love of lace to Madonna circa 1984. It was then I learned the significance of the lone glove look. Well, if you dare to venture from the likes of a simple glove and turn up the drama a few trillion notches, take a few pointers from my version for spring 2011.

TIP: Maxiskirts (floor length and sweeping) are fabulous this spring and look so floaty in lace. Try an amped up navy dress with neon yellow opaque tights underneath. The granny boots and cashmere T-shirt keep it simple to frame the show-stopper neck piece that is like the cherry on top of the outfit. In your face lace with a dramatic slap of the wrist. *Zing!* Momma likes it lacy.
* Satchel and lace dress from Cheap Thrills. Granny boots from Goodwill. Cashmere T-shirt from Prairie Grove Thrift. Rhinestone necklace from Mae’s Emporium.

No. 5 — A Devil’s Icebox Kind Of Evening

First off, let me say I look forward to the warm days of spring like no other.

Over and over throughout my life, I have often busted out my shorts WAY too early in anticipation of balmy, 70 degree temperatures. I seem to follow the same pattern come every springtime, only to be bitten (literally) in the buttocks by the bitter chill of winter that still lingers in the night air.

Stop regretting your less-is-more philosophy when it comes to your spring attire. It is OK to keep your winter staples out of storage for a little longer as we wait for spring to fully arrive. It is a good idea to stay warm, regardless, since nothing is less fashionable than a hacking cough and a snotty nose. Hack. Hack.

Besides, there is something to be said for the handsome combination of a thickly knit wool fisherman’s sweater with a metallic pair of shorts. It is an unlikely pairing that is what spring is all about — refreshing and different. Ahhhh … breathe in the spring, folks.

* Esque gold short shorts from Maude Boutique. Vintage hat from Cheap Thrills. Espadrilles from Goodwill. Vintage wool sweater from Potter’s House Thrift.

No. 6 — One For The Fellas

One for the Fellas with Anthony Hopson

OK , so I am a female, as you have probably guessed by now, and as much as I like to think that I know most everything, I am, unfortunately, unable to provide with you fashionable male readers with an equally thorough approach to your spring 2011 wardrobe as I have so graciously offered the women. All I can really say is “Sorry.”

What I can do, if nothing else, is provide you a worthy example of what one stylish local man is sporting for spring. Enter Anthony.

I met Anthony out and about in Fayetteville recently. His style was so unique that I asked to snap a couple of shots and the rest is history. Take a clue from Tony here and create a style that is unique to you.

Men, fashion is easy, but it can be made even easier if you enlist a fashionable female (or male) friend to offer a push in the right direction. Truth be told, I simply *adore* being asked by male friends to help dress them. I can put an outfit together at the shake of a stick, and if I can offer my services to a compadre in need, I am happy to do so.

TIP: Try Anthony’s casual Friday look by wearing your tie a little loosened with your sleeves effortlessly rolled up a bit. Who cares? Not you. It’s Friday, and you are looking good.

No. 7 — In Yo’ Face, Punk

If you can still stand it, and punk isn’t something that makes you wanna puke, it is “in” yet again for spring 2011.
Sid and Nancy eat your heart out.

As I say with many things so overtly in your face, a little goes a long way in the punk department. And yet, somewhere along the way, I found myself pleasantly immersed in a plethora of leather. In fact, I made an entire outfit out of it without making my model look like the biker from The Village People. I found patents, supple suedes, soft, buttery leathers, even this 1980s tie-dyed, dolman-sleeved number, pictured here, that I scored at downtown Fayetteville’s legendary Cheap Thrills. The shorts were cleverly made by cutting off some leather pants I found at The Attic in south Fayetteville.

TIP: For a unique new piece of convertible jewelry, hit up Hobby Lobby for their selection of leather cords. I found an amazing shade of turquoise blue leather that wraps as a necklace, bracelet, OR headband. The possibilities and the colors are endless.

No. 8 — What I’m Sprung On

I am a selfish gal, or so I have been told a time or two thousand. Momma wants what Momma wants, and right now, for spring 2011, Momma wants as many ankle boots as she can get her hands on. As versatile a wardrobe staple as any, the ankle boot is the chameleon that can be worn spring, fall and winter alike without worry of being out of season.

Next on my want list, a beat-up, broken-in, heavy-duty satchel. What better way to carry around your life, and your laptop, than in a durable, functional piece of leather?

TIP: Let your satchel double as your weekend bag if getting out of town or as a book bag for all you fashionable students attending the UA. It beats a run-of-the-mill backpack any day of the week!

* Vintage leather satchel from Cheap Thrills. Red suede boots from Goodwill.

No. 9 — Enormous Hats

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: All women look better in a wide-brimmed hat.

There is something nostalgic and alluring about the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” drama that a semi-obscured face evokes. On the plus side, it is an elegant, cheap, stylish and nontrendy way to protect your baby soft skin from the harsh, unforgiving sun. In fact, you might as well consider a hat, much like the one pictured here, a wardrobe staple for the duration of spring AND summer. Good skin is irreplaceable, and sun protection will never go out of fashion.

* Sun hat from Cheap Thrills, lilac chunky knit crop sweater from Potter’s House Thrift. Leather cord from Hobby Lobby.

No. 10 — Mixing Fall, Summer For Spring

Thankfully, the notion of one-season-only wear almost no longer exists in the world of fashion. Unless trying to incorporate a floor-length wool overcoat or some other overly heavy piece of outerwear, chances are you are safe in attempting an intermixing of your closet’s seasons. Many high-quality pieces transcend seasonal boundaries and mesh with other multiseasonal items to create unique pairings during the less predictable seasons of fall and spring.

Try it as we did here: a white gauzy dress from summer topped with a thin cropped sweater from fall. Add a substantial pair of ankle boots and you are ready for a rainy April afternoon dog walk. And, you are gonna look horribly fashionable doing it, might I add. Go on, scoop that poop, pretty lady.

TIP: For a fresh, spring look, while you are at Hobby Lobby buying leather, browse their floral section. Often, single stems are on sale, and they make *the best*  hair accessories. I like the roses and hydrangeas best.

No. 11 — The Timeless Red Lip

All the pin-up girls and screen legends of decades past had it right. Nothing keeps ’em coming back for more quite like a pouty, red lip.

Universally flattering on ALL skin types, a flash of red lipstick is sometimes all it takes to elevate a regular outfit to another level. If you think red may not be for you, try something a little more subtle like coral, which is also an across-the-board flatterer. Food for thought: A red lip makes the teeth appear whiter. Yep, look it up. Then go get yourself some red lips quick.

No. 12 — Sheers

Another big trend for spring this year are sheer, peek-a-boo fabrics.

Don’t scare off just yet. As with the punk phenomenon, sheers are to be approached with a bit of caution. You must be a bold soul to pull off such a look, but it can be done as long as you keep the rest of the outfit classy. This silk dress has a sheer top half that gives the illusion of skin without showing too much. Add leather ankle boots, a gold chain rope choker and a massive hair bow and you are ready to ride atop a backseat as queen in the May Day Parade. Go on, wave to the crowd like you mean it. Wrist, wrist. Elbow, elbow.

TIP: Scarves of all varieties can be found at local thrift stores. Again, my collection of scarves is reaching embarrassing numbers, but, it is difficult not to indulge.

Categories: Advice, Fashion, Features
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