MintStyle

MintStyle: Seasonal Transitional Style

Though it’s still decidedly more frosty than fair outside, the tell-tale signs of spring make it hard to ignore the warmer weather just ahead. While you still might not be inclined to splurge on a head to toe spring look, now is the perfect time to eliminate heavier wintery looks and slowly transition your wardrobe to the next season.

But how do you gracefully ease from winter to spring without spending a small fortune? Start with your accessories and slowly add color in the form of accents or brighter accessories and layered, lighter textures in clothing.

Style expert Megan Oxland is a firm believer in extending the life of your clothing from season to season by tweaking your accessories and add-ons. She says, “Not only is this a great way to keep your wallet full and stay within a budget, but it also allows you to get the most mileage out of your wardrobe.”

Some easy ways to lighten up include:

Go For the Bold:

The biggest trend this year would be bright pops of color. The Pantone Color Report declares the top color for Spring 2012 to be Tangerine Tango followed by a variation of brights easing into neutral shades. If you add only one major piece to your wardrobe between seasons, make it bright and make it bold.

Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council of America says,“We’re moving into a season of color. I think it’s time to start to add bright colors to your palette. If you’re a really bold customer, you’re going to wear bright colors head to toe.” Giberson, herself, prefers her color in moderation and advises on a bright cobalt jacket (her pick for easiest to wear bright color) worn over a black dress or a bright yellow shirt worn with jeans.

A less pricey alternative might be a bright pair of hose. A statement handbag in firecracker red or bold fuchsia can be your accent piece for the next few months.  James B. Bunn, CMO of Brahmin handbags, is a fan of classic pieces with a modern dash of color.”Timeless pieces are more important right now than they have been in a long time, he says. The difference from previous generations though, says Bunn, “Is that color makes timeless pieces more fun and versatile because they have a lasting contemporary feel.”

Not ready to commit to a major colorful piece? Killian Rieder, Chamilia jewelry Design Director and Co-founder, believes that her “electric color palette” this season, which includes canary yellow, magenta and tangerine, not only “inspires women to accessorize their spring wardrobe” but “gives neutrals an edge or adds a lustrous color element to an already bright ensemble.”

Layer Up:

Instead of a bulky sweater, try contrasting color silk tees or lightweight sweaters. “After a season of wearing bulky cowl-necks, you can ease in to spring with thin cashmere silk blends and micro cashmere sweaters,” says Andrew Mitchell- Namdar, VP of Marketing and Creative Services at the Mitchells Family of Stores. He continues, “Layering also gives you the much-needed opportunity to “de-layer,” if need be.”  For a feminine look, Oxland suggests either a spring light weight tank paired with a winter chunky cardigan or taking a spring printed dress and adding a blazer and tights. In this way she says that not only do you keep warm but you “increase mileage in both wardrobes.”

Mix it Up:

When the weather can be changeable, NYC based stylist Colin McDonald favors blends such as cotton and cashmere, which provide the perfect balance of warm and cool. He’s also a fan of jackets with detachable linings, preferably in a bold color, so that you can unzip as the weather warms up.

Make it Soxy:

A great way to ease from boots to bare legs is with a cute or quirky pair of knee socks. Poppy Gall of Darn Tough Vermont Socks says that “Skirts and dresses are in this season, which is great news for sock lovers. Plain or solid dresses are great because you can really take your outfit in a new direction with a pair of colorful socks like knee-highs.” Gall also believes, “A popular look for spring will be flats with colorful socks.”

Make A Splash:

Cute and quirky waterproof variations of British favorite Wellie (short for Wellington) boots have become a low key style staple in recent years. Zoubaby (www.zoubaby.com) are equestrian-style rubber boots that are personally monogrammed with your font style and color preference.  Bridget Davis, founder of Zoubaby, says that even all season boots can work well at work. “Skinny jeans, short skirts and dresses work great,” says Davis.  Gall suggests that you “spice up your tall boots with a pair of knee-highs that peak over the top of your boots!”

Get Crafty:

Have you ever been tempted to give your favorite jacket or sweater a makeover, but didn’t know where to start? Susan Beck, Executive Editor for Education at Bernina of America, offers a few tips for reviving your clothes:

-Most ready to wear clothes come with inexpensive buttons. Beck suggests replacing the original buttons with unusual and inexpensive ones, or even perking up a plain black jacket with silver or gold buttons.

-An easy way to add color to a tired cardigan is to remove the buttons, add a stripe of grosgrain ribbon right down the front and then re-add the buttons.

-Another simple tip from Beck is adding “trendy- raw edge ruffles in a sheer or lightweight fabric.” Simply take a strip of fabric, gather one edge and stitch to your garment. “Add the soft ruffle to the opening of a jacket, the hem of a skirt or sleeve edges.” Beck believes that a strong color or soft pastel will work best.

Even if you’re not handy with a needle and thread, there are many free online sewing tutorials. Berninausa.com also lists free workshops and classes across the country, including upcycling or repurposing clothing. Class prices range from $5.00 for a simple class, to $60.00 for a more complicated project.

There’s no reason to feel drab and miserable in between seasons and slowly introducing updated style elements to your existing wardrobe will allow you to shine any time of year!

Write to me at mintstylerachel@gmail.com with your burning style questions or suggestions.

Rachel Weingarten is a style expert, marketing strategist & personal branding consultant for CEOs, politicians and celebrities and the creator of MintStyle. She is the award-winning author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Rachel writes for top media outlets including CNN, Fortune, Forbes Life, MSN, USA Today, Yahoo Finance and many others. She is a regularly featured expert on TV shows including Good Morning America and The Today Show. Visit her online at http://racheletc.com , http://interrobangllc.com or on Twitter @rachelcw.