Swing Back Into Spring Styles With Soft Tones and Do-It-Yourself Fashions

Back home in the Bay Area, I never thought about shopping for spring and summer clothing until March when, if I were lucky, the temperature would slowly climb to the cool mid-60s. Here in Irvine, however, it’s mid-January and a ridiculous 85 degrees. Even though I’m wearing denim cutoffs, I feel like I’m about to pass out as I trudge up a slight slope in Aldrich Park.
What does this tell me (besides that I’m ludicrously out of shape)? It’s time to shop for the new season.
This spring, I’m determined to bring some color into my dark, gloomy winter wardrobe, which is currently dominated by black and gray. I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting with different color palettes, fabrics and shapes.
Soft tones in creamy, nude shades were big on the runways this season, as seen in the parade of sandy-colored gowns worn at this year’s Golden Globes. Stella McCartney mixed pieces in shades of nude, ivory and peach, to breathe new life into colors that would seem muted against basic black.
In typical springtime fashion, shades reminiscent of Easter eggs have re-emerged, but this time, more dusty than pastel: ice blue, pale rose and light mint green. I plan on pairing these sweetly colored pieces with faded, distressed denim for a fresh look that won’t make me look like a marshmallow Peep.
Alternatively, highlighter hues lit up several runways, including several outfits in Alexander Wang’s Miami Vice-inspired show and Luella Bartley’s self-declared “Sunday best on acid” collection. While Wang employed clean lines and a 1980s vibe in his designs, Bartley’s cheerful designs have a ladylike look with a kooky, frilly twist. If you’re reluctant to sport a head-to-toe supercharged ensemble, take inspiration from the pieces from Marc by Marc Jacobs and mix khaki with brights.
I plan to continue my love affair with pyramid studs this season. I’ve adored the things since my high school days when I lived in studded belts and band tees and half my hair would change from Fuchsia Flash to Vampire Red. I even studded my Converse. Now that I’m slightly more mature (and my hair is, sadly, back to normal), I still wear the sneakers occasionally, but I adorn myself with studs in a more subdued way — in the forms of earrings, bracelets and the occasional belt. Studs and other metallic accents have stuck around since last season and continue to embellish belts, jewelry, clutches and even moccasins.
Precious metals shone on the runways in the form of stunning frocks. My fantasy wardrobe would include Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière’s futuristic dresses that transformed the models into walking disco balls and the gorgeous stud and gem-encrusted Little Black Dresses at Balmain. In a perfect world, I would parade around in every one of the stunning silver mini dresses at Collette Dinnigan, from the drop-waist flapper-esque dress to the dress that resembles a mirror mosaic.
For now, I’ll head back to reality and talk about the trends that are a bit more accessible and easy to recreate. Rodarte’s collection practically had “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) written all over it — dresses were slashed, sweaters were shredded, gowns seemed to be dipped in Rit dye and delightfully useless chains were affixed to certain pieces. As haphazard as this all may sound, I found beauty in the randomness and deconstructed elements of Rodarte’s spring collection. As an aspiring designer who finds some strange enjoyment in ruining perfectly good items of clothing, I’m quite inspired by Rodarte’s designers, the Mulleavy sisters, this season.
Feel like updating a top with minimal effort? Follow both Rodarte and Jeremy Laing and make precise cuts in a tank or T-shirt to create a paper lantern effect. Just don’t hack away at it carelessly, or you’ll end up with tatters that come off as crazy rather than conceptual.
Perhaps even more wallet-friendly than completing a DIY project is wearing updated classics and pieces that are already in your wardrobe. This idea of “recession chic” has arrived in full force in the fashion world; however, as a mere college student, I have always shopped with a recessionista’s attitude. Besides bargain hunting, this includes supplementing essential pieces like cardigans and blazers with accessories. An easy way to update a look is with a belted waist. This season, anything goes, from skinny to studded to wide obi belts à la Louis Vuitton. As far as jewelry goes, attention-grabbing earrings from the past have made a comeback.
Now that I’ve outlined some of the trends for spring and summer, I can’t wait until this sporadic weather settles on sunny.