Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered How to Make a Brilliant Fashion Statement in Spring 2009 #fb

April 1, 2009

My goodness, was that a long winter or what?  Even as I write this, tiny piles of ice remain on my front garden.  I try not to think that, at the rate it is melting, they will still be here in July!

While the temperatures are still cool (at least in the north), we must begin to prune our existing spring wardrobes and consider what new additions (or not) to add.  As always, I approach the spring fashions with a mix of wonder and disbelief.  The good news is that this spring I am seeing more of the good and less of the “what were they thinking” styles.

So, let’s take a look at current trends and consider what will make a remarkable and fun (fashion should be fun after all) addition to your wardrobe.


COLOR – Color always takes precedence over other style factors when considering what to buy.  If the color is not flattering, move on.  A style is rarely worth giving it a second look unless the color makes you sparkle.

This season, color is a mixed bag (see the “bothered” category for more on color).  All in all, color this spring is bright, bright, bright, especially yellow (be careful!) and blue. What we are not seeing a lot of (and this is almost always true in the spring and summer) is deeper colors.  There are a few here and there, but not many, unless, of course, you count black — a perennial favorite.  This is not good news for those of you who look better in deeper tones but it’s a problem you are probably used to.

Thankfully, pastels are not as prominent as they were last spring (they are dreary on many people), but you will find an overabundance of nudes and neutrals.  They were extremely popular at the academy awards (with mixed reviews), and while it can be refreshing, it is also a very tricky look.  If you get the shade of nude/flesh tone wrong for your skin, it is a fashion disaster.

Big Buddha HandbagCOLORFUL HANDBAGS – Not only are we seeing oversized handbags continuing as a staple in women’s wardrobes, but they are also super bright.  It can be a fun way to add color and interest to your wardrobe without having it overwhelm you.  Be sure, however, that the handbag is not as big as you are (petite women beware).  Try this great bag

MESSENGER HANDBAGS – If a handbag the size of Milwaukee is not your style, how about a sleek messenger handbag.  It is often called a cross body bag because it has a long strap that you wear across your body.  The bag should be relatively small and as flat to your body to your body as possible – do not overfill it or you run the risk of having one hip look enormous.  It is a terrific style for traveling or anytime you need both hands free.

FLORAL PRINTS – I’m trying to remember when florals have not been a popular spring trend.  It is certainly appropriate to the season and lovely for those who enWatercolor Floral Dressjoy wearing a flower motif.  This season brings a welcome new twist on the floral theme – watercolor florals.  The flowers have a softer, slightly more ethereal look to them (in keeping with the goddess motif that is hot this summer).  This means that women who usually avoid florals can wear them with style!  Check it out!  Want to be really on the cutting edge?  Buy a pair of watercolor floral print shoes – very beautiful.

GEOMETRIC PRINTS – If florals (even watercolor florals) are not your cup of tea, perhaps try something wilder like the wild geometric prints we are still seeing. With rare exceptions these designs are extremely bold so be sure your attitude, personality (think aligning your inner and outer beauty), and coloring can handle it.

ROMANTIC BLOUSES – Last year, we saw the return of the tie neck blouse.  Thankfully, that has transformed into this season’s version which is feminine and pretty without being cloying.  Soft ruffles cascade down the front of the blouse and many of the ruffles blend in quietly with the print.  The effect is gentle, understated and very wearable.

Maxi Dress -- Victoria's SecretMAXI DRESSES — They are everywhere (American Idol fans know this!) — long, almost hippie-style dresses, and young women are having a field day with them.  Those of us who are a bit older can still wear them but give yourself a reality check before purchasing (or wearing) one. You do not want to risk looking like Goldie Hawn at the Academy Awards (64 going on 24!).  They are meant to be worn casually with a relatively low heel or flat sandal or try this year’s necessity – the low wedge heel.  Oh, and one more thing (this goes for all the spring fashions not just maxi dresses) – no visible bra straps unless they are sparkly or very pretty (if you are not sure, they aren’t!).

BIG JEWELRY – I love jewelry that makes a statement.  Everyone can wear this trend.  It is just a matter of knowing how big you can go and that often depends on the flatness of the stones or metal, the color, the contrast, the smoothness vs. texture of the piece, etc.  If you are not sure what is right for you, consider attending my next jewelry workshop ( or simply play, experiment and have fun!

BIG SHOULDERS – Big shoulders are making a comeback and not soon enough if you ask me.  If you are rolling your eyes at this one it is most likely because you have naturally broad shoulders.  I, on the other hand, have narrow, sloped shoulders and so my hips always look bigger in comparison.  The interesting thing this time around is that the big shoulders are less a result of shoulder pads and more a consequence of interesting and well-placed design features that give the illusion of width.  I love it – keep it coming!


COLOR – Stop with the yellow already.  And, while you’re at it, get rid of the light gray.  It made a pronounced appearance last Fall and is still hanging on.  In fact, we’re even seeing yellow and gray paired together in one outfit – oh, please!  Not only are both colors hard to wear but those who can wear yellow look dreadful in gray and the reverse is true as well.  Make a bold statement and bypass both unless you are absolutely sure that they are flattering. If you must have yellow in your wardrobe (especially if you know it is not your best color), buy a bright yellow handbag and enjoy!

TAPERED TROUSERS – Wear these only if you can afford to add the illusion of pounds to your hips (the fullness of the pleats adds volume) and want your legs to look shorter.  This trend will, hopefully, be fleeting.

JUMPSUITS – While I am a fan of some jumpsuits, the elegant and slimming ones are too hard to find to make this a viable look.  Unfortunately, for the most part, this season’s interpretation of the trend is downright ghastly.  Who decided that strapless jumpsuits are a good idea.  To make matters worse, they come in a cropped version and a “romper” (a short jumpsuit) creating this season’s babydoll look that infantilizes women.  My suggestion: stay far, far away from this trend unless you are 10 years old!

SHEER DRESSING – This look always requires that something be worn underneath.  Since this style is generally worn in hot weather, wearing another layer kind of defeats the purpose.  But, if you don’t, you risk exposing everything like Sharon Stone did at the Academy Awards.  Yikes!
Faux Snakeskin Sandals
SNAKESKIN ACCESSORIES – Sadly, snakeskin accessories (snakes are often skinned alive because there is a belief that the skins are more supple that way) are considered status symbols this season.  Say no to such cruelty or try a pair of faux snakeskin sandals like these:


GLADIATOR SANDALS – Why is this trend still around?  When worn with a dress, these shoes are universally unflattering.  If you really feel inclined to wear them, do it with pants – otherwise they make your legs look short and your ankles look heavy – don’t say I didn’t warn you!

ONE SHOULDER TOPS – Okay, I’m probably alone here (especially if you watched the Academy Awards), but I’m not a big fan of one shoulder dressing.  Occasionally, it works brilliantly, but mostly it just makes me wonder where the rest of the dress is.  There are also a lot of variables with the one strap or sleeve, i.e., the way the bodice is cut, the angle from the shoulder to the bodice, the woman’s posture, etc. – this all makes a difference as to whether it works or not.  I’m sure some of you think I’m crazy and love the trend and that’s fine.  There is nothing wrong with it.  Let me just say it’s generally not my favorite-unless you are a Greek goddess (and you know who you are!) in which case, go for it.

For the most part, this season’s fashions are lovely. They are feminine without being overly frilly (an unusual feat for the springtime styles), and there is color to be found (and not just pastels!).  Remember to shop early since the season is short, and the best choices are often gone by the time it really gets warm enough (at least in the north) to enjoy them.  Happy Spring!

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Written by Ginger Burr of Total Image Consultants, ©Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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