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spring style survival guide: the must-have threads

Thank you all for tuning in for the third installment of a fashion nerd's Spring Survival Guide. Tonight, we feature a list of the seven pieces that will spring-ify your wardrobe with little to no effort on your part (since when is shopping effort, anyway?), since I've even done the legwork for you and found at least four to six options in each category that are perfect for test driving this year's hottest looks. Granted, some of them are just for looking ($3000 for a white lace dress, Oscar?) but hey - you can't blame a girl for dreaming...

the threads
There are seven key pieces to your spring/summer wardrobe: the skirt, trousers, jeans, shorts, outerwear, tops/blouses and the dress (shoes and accessories will be covered in a separate post). There are a number of hot spring trends that can of course be incorporated into any part of an outfit, but here I've outlined some of the best ways (in my opinion at least) to update your wardrobe for the waxing half of the year without going over the top. There is a fine line between fashion nerd and fashion victim, friends, and it's not one we like to toe.

the skirt
This season's skirt is anything but Sunday School; asymmetrical hems and funky prints make the latest designs sweet with more than a little sass. Pleats, polka dots, florals and watermark designs are the obvious frontrunners of swishy couture, but leather and lace kick up the edge factor and add a bit of spunk to the charm.

Not ready to bare your winter white legs to the world quite yet? I feel your pain, dearie. Maxi skirts with high-low hems and button up fronts are also trending high for springtime - invest in one in a light, airy fabric (like chiffon or lace) and it will carry you through the summer as well.

But don't... go for wide pleats or floral-ruffled-maxis - to do so risks looking like you borrowed from your mom/grandma's closet, and not in a good way.
Try it:

This slightly pleated polka dot printed skirt may be black and white, but it is perfectly on trend for spring,
especially when mixed with bright orange in another print. See the full outfit post here.

the trousers
The Sasso Ravello isn't the only Palazzo getting rave reviews this year - palazzo pants and wide-legged trousers are a huge hit this year, and what's not to love? Perfect with a pair of round-toe pumps or wedges, the light fabric and airy nature of these designs are the answer to your hot weather woes, ladies. Solid, neutral colors (think black, brown and beige) are the safest choices for wearing to work, but for those a bit more adventures, try a pair in a brilliant cobalt blue or saturated watermelon pink. Ready to go all the way? Push your look into high gear with a pair of boldly printed palazzos.

If wide legged looks aren't your thing, don't despair! Printed and brightly colored trousers in more traditional fits are also a huge hit this spring, so there's something for everyone where this trend's concerned.

But don't... pair your palazzo pants with pointy-toed shoes. Seriously, it just looks weird.

Try it:

Zara Wide Printed Trousers @

the jeans
Spring is a time for forgetting those winter blues - blue jeans, that is. The signature look of warm weather this year seems to be colored denim, in brights, darks and everything in between. Skip the cargo styles that are looking a bit unkempt this season and go for a sleek ultra skinny or cigarette leg fit in a rainbow of colors that are sure to brighten everyone's day. Dusty pink, tomato red, dark purple, lavender, mint green, bright coral, watermelon, forest green and sunshine or daisy yellow are your best bets with this trend, and the best part about it? You can totally justify wearing the same black tee every day this week, because your multitude of candy colored jeans keep it fresh and exciting (at least, that's what I tell myself).

But don't... buy a color/fit you're not comfortable in or know doesn't flatter you. Stay true to your style, not the trends.

Try it:

These GJG bright pink jeans are perfect for spring. See the full outfit post here.

the shorts
The summer version of the above trend, this year's brightly colored frayed denim cut offs might just cure my aversion to shorts. With that in mind, I apologize in advance and advise you not to look directly at my legs.

If the laid-back-yet-perky vibe of candy hued cotton isn't your thing, try channeling your inner sweet heart with some high waisted sailor shorts in lighter shades of neutral. While not considered a major trend this year (yet, anyway), the sailor buttons will slimify your middle, while the high waist will make your legs look miles long (especially paired with nude pumps/wedges).

More of a corporate ladder gal? Shorts make tweed summer fun, and a spark of metallic thread give off just enough of a bad girl glint to keep everyone guessing. Tweed shorts also look the best with tights-and-shorts trend that everyone is rather lukewarm about right now; personally I'm a huge fan of the idea and plan on making full use of it this spring. If you're looking for something a bit lighter weight than tweed, twill still has the same tailored look and looks fantastic with or without tights.

Despite my newly professed love for them, tweed shorts seem to be fading out (guess I was late to that party), and pleated, swingy shorts taking their place. Check out option 4 below for a gorgeous take on the trend by Zara (pretty sure Zara can do no wrong this spring, btw...).

But don't... wear daisy dukes. Seriously, leave those to Daisy.

Try it:

Greedy Sunrise Colorblock Shorts, via

the layers 
Those neon and pastel trends seem to be invading nearly every aspect of our garments - even the blazers this year come in a wide spectrum of colors, from hot pink and cobalt blue to pastel peach and sunshine yellow. Blazers are second only to cardigans in my closet, and I love how the bold colors of this year's career wear staple give it an attitude it's never had before. Liz of LateAfternoon recently styled a gorgeous peach Zara blazer with a floral blouse and metallic shorts to summertime perfection (check out her outfit post and I'm fairly certain you'll agree with me).
As a side note, if you're ever looking for inspiration for pastels, cupcake chic, and/or print mixing, I would definitely recommend that you check out the aforementioned Liz of Late Afternoon. It's the first style blog I started reading regularly, and although we have very different looks, I often draw inspiration from her blog and her outfits. She's one of the people who's helped to draw me out of my style shell (though she doesn't know that!) and I have a lot of respect for what she's been able to accomplish through her blog. And she does look damn good as a cupcake!
Chanel-inspired blazers are also having a serious moment, and why not? They're a classic for a reason, and the booming trend means you can get a similar look for quite a bit less than the original.

If you dislike the structure of the blazer but still need something frigid office worthy, reach for a cardigan; this season, the eternal style staple gets an update in the form of maxi lengths, crocheted textures and 70s-esque fringe. My personal fave is the maxi cardigan in a loosely knitted, soft texture - perfect for doing battle against a raging office AC, without the work-out ready faux pas of a hoodie. Cardigans are also perfect for a bit of light layering at music festivals, where weather is somewhat unpredictable and performances often run into the late evenings, it's nice to have something loose and flowy to throw on over your sundress or cutoffs.

Color shy? Not a fan of fringe? Try a printed blazer or cardigan - floral blazers are the perfect way to bring a bit of spring indoors when you're stuck at your desk on a gorgeous day, and leopard cardis are pretty much just awesome.

But don't... mix too many trends at once. Hot pink blazer + leopard print cardi + floral print blouse = fashion victim.

Try it:

This soft, knee length taupe cardigan is perfect for pulling on over just about anything. See the full outfit post here.

the blouse
Chambray (translation: denim) button downs are pretty much a requirement for spring/summer style; the go perfectly with everything from white lace skirts to black leather shorts to ball gown skirts. They are the perfect tool for dressing down your dressy items and keeping everything easy and cool. My chambray soulmate is a dark wash, perfectly fitted, rolled sleeve and beat up snap button composition - I know it's out there somewhere!

Printed blouses are a major thing this year as well, and Zara has pretty much nailed the look in their March and April collections. Since I've already dedicated an entire post to the gorgeousness of Zara's spring line, I won't sermonize again here - but you should really check out the look books, if you haven't already (March / April).

Truthfully, there are dozens of trendy new tops out there, but aside from the above, I'm not really into very many of them. My sprint/summer fave? Perfectly fitted tank tops layered beneath massively oversized ones (all of varying colors), then mixed with pretty much everything I own. The sporty, boxy tees I'm seeing this season may be added to this rotation as well.

But don't... be caught unawares by a sheer or semi-sheer top. Always be sure to check if your bra is visible through your shirt, and invest in a nude one for those times when it does!

Try it:

Zara Crepe Floral Blouse @

the dress
Oh, the dress! Quite possibly my favorite part about spring and summer, despite my aversion to showing my bare legs in public. Floaty sundresses are a perennial warm weather favorite, though this year's funky (and somewhat longer) hemlines are making them feel all fresh and shiny and new again.

Retro sheath silhouettes with color blocking, neon piping and striping are the way to make a statement with your work-to-night-out look - the shape keeps this dress work pretty, while the colorful accents make it night-out hot. Apply blazer or cardigan for day; sexy t-strap wedges and statement necklace for night - easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Last but certainly not least, no warm weather style post would be complete without including the LWLD (Little White Lace Dress). Perfect when paired with anything from a blazer to a beat up denim vest or just on its own, the LWLD is the epitome of summer style: pure, effortless, young. If you can get only one item off of this list, ladies, make it this one, and make it a good one. Make it your signature fair weather piece for years, and you will always be memorable.

But don't... think you can get away with a strapless, thigh-length sundress at the office. I don't care how laid back your workplace is - it just doesn't work. Well, unless you're a lifeguard. Then I guess it could be okay.

Try it:

Zara Lace Dress @

so now what?
So, you've dutifully endured this entire post; you've taken some notes on what you want to try and forgotten about what you don't; you've even clicked through the beautiful options I linked for you at the end of each section, and you may have even been cool enough to purchase a few. Now you have all of these wonderful, fun, lovely ideas on how to remix your closet into something vaguely springy and stylish and you're ready to join the cool kids at their table.

Even cool kids need help every now and then though, so feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions or need some advice on what to wear with what, or how to style something! I'm sort of an expert on being super cool, you see - so just think of me as your Cool Kid Consultant Extraordinaire and drop me a line any time you have a question, emergency or even just want to chat.

the end
I'm still in mourning for winter, but the waxing half of the year is all about being young, carefree and uncomplicated; I aim to channel that perspective into my look and outlook this year. I know I just spent a really long time going on and on about this year's many trends, but true style is about finding what works for you and rocking it like it's nobody's business (cuz really, it isn't).

It was Miucca Prada that said, "Fashion is instant language."
Our style is how we describe ourselves to the world around us, without ever actually saying a word.
So don't ever be afraid to break the rules.

P.S. Don't forget to check out the other posts in this series!
a fashion nerd's Spring Survival Guide


Anonymous said...

A very informative and well organized posts. I liked how you included your own photos as well. I love blouses and wide leg pants because of the cooling effects on warm days here in NYC.

jbooth said...

Thank you! I'm glad you found it helpful :)

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