Style essentials for spring 2014

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Exhale — spring is here.

The season for renewal and rebirth is a perfect time to breathe new life into your wardrobe with the latest looks to trickle down from the runway to retail.

Collections for spring speak to the uber-feminine fashionista as well as the sporty girl with a softer side. The apparel spans whimsical prints, figure-flattering colors and dresses of varying lengths to pieces with looser fits that accentuate a woman’s more athletic side. Meanwhile, accessories command attention with their big, bold “look at me!” size in jewelry and eye-catching cut-outs in shoes and handbags.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are some of the season’s essential trends to consider adding to the spring shopping list.

Color contrast

Many designers dabbled in black and white in their spring collections. Some set a white floral or polka dot print against a black backdrop or vice versa. Joe Fresh and other brands used the opposing colors in sheath dresses ($29 at J.C. Penney) and tops for nautical-inspired stripes.

Two-piece flats

Style meets sensibility with footwear that’s fashionable yet comfortable for the woman on the go. But rather than the traditional slip-on shape, flats for spring incorporate cut-outs along the sides with the occasional pointed toe or ankle strap like sundew flats by Nine West ($69 at Macy’s).

Perf accessories

Leather isn’t just for winter anymore. Designers have dressed it up for spring with perforated, punched-out patterns and intricate laser-cut designs, particularly for shoes and handbags. The Stella & Dot perf double clutch in geranium (also available in citrine; features a lattice of perforation atop a hint of nude textured saffiano to quiet the bright pop of color.

Statement necklace

A single accessory can make over an entire ensemble. Among the key styles swathing necklines this season are floral beaded or jeweled necklaces (the Sabine scalloped flower necklace, for example; $150 at, along with chunky gold chokers or a bib of oversized pearls. Layering thinner pieces is another way to create the illusion of a single statement necklace.

Transitional outerwear

Fluctuating weather can make the early weeks of spring a tricky time for style. It’s not quite warm enough to shed the coat for a lightweight jacket, yet winter outerwear can be too heavy. (Plus, who still feels like wearing it?) The solution: a medium-weight piece in a seasonal hue or print. Some good options are a bold-colored trench coat (check out Dennis Basso’s at or a thinner parka in a pastel print, such as the Duena print hooded parka by Ted Baker London ($325 at Nordstrom).

Neutral hue nail polish

Dare to go bare — with nude-tone nail polishes, that is. Taupes, creams, pale pinks and light mauves are the family of fleshy colors to pull from for spring. (The Naturel collection from Zoya offers them for $9 per bottle or a sampler of six polishes for $54 at Crave a bit more color? Try pastels, such as the rainbow of lilacs, soft yellows, sherbets and robin egg blues in Zoya’s Awaken collection.

Slouchy chic pants

Spring style caters to comfort with relaxed-fit pants such as the Bricolage print pants with drawstring waist from Anthropologie ($78). Go for pairs in colorful prints for a sporty look with a feminine feel.

White out

Move over, little black dress. The LWD — little white dress — is competing for a spot in the closet along with skinny jeans, leggings, blouses, moto jackets and cropped tops, all in white. This monochromatic look first made a splash last summer, and if the runways of New York Fashion Week are any indication, it will paint the fashion scene white again this year. To add visual interest to the pure look, opt for pieces with unique cuts or silhouettes, eyelets and textures.

Easy, breezy bohemian

It’s summertime (soon enough), and the living is easy. Dress for the upcoming lazy, hazy days with airy maxi dresses, tunics trimmed with tassels, round sunnies and long layered necklaces. The H&M crinkled chiffon dress ($69.95) exudes this casual-chic vibe; try it belted with a pair of ankle boots or slip on sandals and let it blow in the spring breeze.

Berry, orange lip color

Put away the deep mauve blush and oxblood red lipstick for now. Spring is all about a fresh face with a bright lip. Pull off a pout that pops with glosses and matte lip colors in coral, cherry, peony pink, fuchsia and berry. The new Colorburst lacquer balm and matte collection from Revlon includes several of these shades.

Sara Bauknecht: or on Twitter @SaraB_PG.

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