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Chasing the look

Here's what I'm seeing this spring

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Spring has sprung and so has the couture of this season’s fashion trends. Variety is the universal flavor of the season. Dresses that feature splashes of lace or long, flowing fabrics are making their annual debut. Expect to see slight variations on the classic spring and summer dress as the trend is the single shoulder strap or neck-wrap halter dress. Pastels (especially lavender, rose and green), nude, silver, bleached white, exaggerated fuchsias, turquoise and anything neon are favorite color choices.

I’ve noticed the ’70s safari look streamlined through from DKNY, Rag & Bone and even at Old Navy. I’ve never been a big fan of leopard print clothing, but I will give it a chance when Dame Lola’s reopens March 22 offering chunky wood bangles and necklaces in addition to zebra-striped sweater shifts to wear with khaki shirt dresses, jumpsuits, and long, wide-legged pantsuits.

The ultimate girly look of the season is my favorite — ruffles. It sports all the frills, flounces and trim a woman can float away in. Designer Ralph Lauren reintroduces floral prints with elegant, flowing tiers of ruffles on long gowns and knee-length skirts. Locally, I would head toward Vanity, the Tiki Lounge or the vintage section of urbanXchange to replicate this look. The style also reminds me of local designer Chelsea Barry’s clothing; flattering to any silhouette, women can choose from flirty skirts with a lace top to knee-length dresses to floor-length gowns for the most casual to the most formal occasion.

Secretly, I’ve often been pulled to purchase those strange, old muumuu-like dresses with outrageous prints that you find only in thrift stores and then turn them into more modern ensembles. After seeing spring collections from designers such as Anne Klein, Catherine Malandrino and even Target’s own Isaac Mizrahi, I’m convinced that other designers must have derived their inspiration from these vintage and so-strange-they’re-cool prints to the look Helium calls “Art Class Chic.” These unusual patterns are being turned into ’60s-inspired mini shifts as well as ’70s feminine cut dresses with long, sleek skirts and fitted tops. 

Exclamations of color or neon accessories layered over tonal or otherwise bland outfits are all the rage. The Victor/Victoria look combines fitted, boyish cut blazers, sweater jackets, or even boxy men’s jackets mixed with short, flowing skirts and dresses. Cinched waists, wide bell or A-line skirts and dresses take a tip from the ’50s with a more modern flare in tune with the season, offering fabrics in pale colors and simple prints.

Men’s design takes a cue from women’s fashion with overall improvement — a more streamlined look as opposed to last year’s baggy and casual look. Shirts are much more tailored and refined.  I’ve yet to see much of the neon trend taper to the men’s department; so far colors are more subdued with a rather classic edge. It has been nice to see new choices for men’s clothing. It’s fortunate men can loyally count on great designs from Tacoma’s own Daniel Blue. Although I still think it’s a shame there’s no local men’s boutique. Sorry, guys, head to Seattle or Target or the very rare urbanXchange find.

[Dame Lola, opens March 22, 8 N. Tacoma Ave.]

[Vanity, 3108 Sixth Ave.]

[Tiki Lounge, 17 N. Tacoma Ave

[urbanXchange, 1934 Pacific Ave.]

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