One of my favorite experts, and someone I’ve learned a LOT from, is Mary Lou Andre, the Founder and President of Organization By Design, Inc. Mary Lou has put together a list of her top 10 Fashion Picks for Spring 2011, and I’d like to share her list with you!
#1 A Versatile Dress.
Choose a sleeveless style that can be paired with jackets, cardigan sweaters and a variety of shawls and wraps. While still a great choice, think beyond the LBD (a.k.a. the little black dress). White, red and coral offer a fresh twist on this perennial classic.
LYR Note: If you’re not quite happy with your upper arms, consider a short-sleeve version of this classic dress – pick one that does not have additional embroidery, sparkles or attention-getting accents, and make sure it fits your upper arms well without looking tight. A tight sleeve will negatively affect the fit of the dress and call attention to an area you may not want to show off just yet.
#2 A Leather Jacket.
Whether you are conservative or in need of connecting with your inner biker babe, there is a leather jacket for you this spring. Coordinated correctly, they work as well with jeans as they do with a wide-range of dresses, skirts and traditional pants.
LYR Note: If you are more conservative in your style, choose a jacket with minimal ornamentation, zippers and detailing. This will also make the jacket more versatile. If you’re on the dramatic side, still be careful with the ornamentation – a highly-detailed and “metal” jacket will be wearable in only certain places. The business office probably isn’t one of them – so be careful!
#3 Pleated Trousers.
Lighter weight spring fabrics make this traditional pant more comfortable, soft and chic. Many have wide, flowing legs meant to skim the ground — others have a slimmer cut, landing at the ankle with a cuff.
#4 Shades of Yellow.
A pop of color lightens up black and white, navy, brown and gray for spring. Yellow is the perfect accent for all your base neutrals this season.
LYR Note: Be careful with the shade of Yellow you choose – warmer-toned skins will look best in golden yellow or those with a sunset orange tinge, while cooler-toned skins will look best in clear or neutral yellows without a lot of gold or orange.
#5 A Printed Trench.
If you already have your bases covered with a black and/or beige trench coat, consider adding a printed trench for extra style. We are partial to animal prints and florals this season.
#6 Open-Toe Pumps and Flats.
Whether for work or play, an open-toe can help lighten your look without being too over-exposing. Part sandal (you can see some of your toe) and part traditional shoe (they have a full backing around the heel), they are being shown on every heel height from stilettos to kitten heels to wedges to booties.
Whether cascading down the center of a simple sheath dress or creating soft, feminine details on tees, jackets, blouses and skirts, ruffles add style and can also camouflage a variety of figure challenges when strategically worn on your body. Skinny belts can create just enough of a horizontal balance to a long row of vertically placed ruffles.
LYR Note: If you are full-busted, be careful of where the ruffles hit your body and check not only your impression from the front, but from the side as well. I tend to avoid a lot of BIG ruffles, but will on occasion do smaller ruffles that run down the center line of my body – they can work well even on a curvier figure.
#8 Big, Bold Accessories.
Items such as over-sized cocktail rings; weighted cuffs; thick, woven belts; long, layered necklaces; and oversized sunglasses add an interesting contrast to spring’s lighter weight fabrics and can ground your look with serious style.
LYR Note: Make sure “over sized” means over-sized for YOUR proportions. At nearly 6 feet tall, what is oversized on ME will drown / swamp / weigh down a woman of shorter stature or a smaller frame. Over-sized can be made right for nearly everyone – just be careful of proportion.
#9 Top Handle Bags.
Their signature “clutch” handle makes them more structured than last season’s hobo-inspired looks. Many also feature a longer strap so you can wear them messenger style across your body. Pick a hue you love and wear it with everything!
#10 The Jumpsuit.
Finally, our list would not be complete without mentioning this fresh trend. Many are sophisticated enough to go to formal events when you add the dressy extras!
LYR Note: Tailoring and fit are critical when considering a jumpsuit – if you are shorter in stature, choose a lighter weight fabric so that it does not literally weigh you down. Be careful with patterns and prints – will the print flatter most areas of your body, or just one? Ensure that you are able to move around and get in and out of the jumpsuit easily – a garment that is hard to wear will languish in your closet.