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Elizabeth Landers | The Clothes Make the Woman

Spring Fling fantasy

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 08:02

 

As the slush continues to rain down from the sky and the icy snow banks around campus turn a dingier shade of brown, the Florida girl in me yearns more and more for milder temperatures that promise light cotton and leather sandals. National retailers, as well as local boutiques like The Tannery and Louis, are completing inventory checks on the new spring collections — which is more than a bit of a tease as Boston and the rest of New England wallow in grey skies, ski clothes and self- pity. If you buy into the conspicuous consumption patterns that the average store regulates — and only the very wealthy can truly afford — it would be time to clear your shelves and restock with armfuls of lace and lilac hues. But if the Black Card somehow got misplaced, consider mixing these spring trends with pre-existing closet basics for a serious pick-me-up.

J. Crew continues to evolve as one of the best mid-price range clothing brands after retailer magician Mickey Drexler came on board a few years ago. Between his business savvy and the genius of executive creative director Jenna Lyons, the product is spot on for spring — quite literally, with some polka-dotted chambray shirts, which can be layered under wool sweaters for now, but can take center stage when it warms up. J. Crew continues to pair up with Liberty Art Fabrics of London on paisley oxford shirts and ditsy floral ID holders and makeup pouches. I’m a sucker for anything with a collar and hint of prep, so J. Crew’s meld of squeaky-clean lines reworked in bright colors always wins my heart.

Meanwhile, the MBTA buses roar down College Ave emblazoned with Gap’s advertisements for “The New Skimmer” — pairs of long legs wearing ballet flats sport a variety of pastel, camo and floral slim jeans. They look good, but this 1990’s retail relic has been struggling for the past several years to maintain relevance, as stores like UNIQLO have stolen most of their former client base. Regardless, colored jeans still reign as the perfect way to ease yourself into trendy looks, even if you’re a bit conservative.

Always a fan of bold statements in my clothes, I’ve recently been eyeing neutrals and light pastels paired with neon. Neon is the boy that keeps tugging at my heartstrings, the burgeoning coffee addiction that gives me a headache when I drink it but also gives me shaky withdrawals when I’m without for too long. Instead of pairing a bright shoe with all-black for a wintery sartorial kick, a neon orange bracelet or ribbon tied around a peach dress might be nice. Staying in the same color group is crucial: Highlighter blue offsets light sky blue in a lovely way.

Kate Spade, on a frothy pink high for its 20th anniversary this year, turned out the standard collection of pink and white- striped shifts, cap-toed skimmer flats and other feminine and work-appropriate items. As I am a recently self-declared sneaker freak, the Keds + Kate Spade collection of gingham and polka dots on canvas fulfills a functional and fanciful purpose with a college-friendly price. I’ll relinquish the wedge sneakers for a bit.

In a perfect world, I’d meticulously choose a few pieces from the pixeled print collections of British superstar Peter Pilotto (which I salivated over at Louis this weekend), Greek goddess Mary Katrantzou’s denim looks for Current/Elliott and all the lacy Valentino gowns I could possibly imagine. But to get my high-end fix, I’ll have to settle for the “Prabal Gurung for Target” pieces: rainbow, flower-printed short-shorts and ’90s throw-back mini dresses with peach and teal graphically interrupted with jet black-trim. That is a compromise I am willing to make.

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Elizabeth Landers is a senior majoring in political science. She can be reached at Elizabeth.Landers@tufts.edu.

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