• April 2010

Step into Spring fashion with stylist Charlotte Safavi

By Stylist Charlotte Safavi

Spring is a challenging time for fashion. With severe winter weather behind us, overall temperatures grow milder, but climate shifts are rampant. Still, change is in the air.

Brisk days summon soft cardigans, not chunky turtlenecks. Rainy days demand fitted trench coats, not shapeless puffa jackets with detachable faux-fur hoods. By the same token, warm sunny days do not call forth shorts and halter-tops — not yet.

Call it the tween of seasons.

When I think of spring, I see vivid color — despite the season’s potential for dull grey. Like in the proverb “April showers bring forth May flowers,” I picture daffodils, crocuses, tulips, hyacinths and more. And yes, I know neutrals are all the rage this fashion season, but I insist on splashes of color in my spring wardrobe, bright, fresh and happy.

To me spring is also about happiness.

An uplifting of the mood occurs once we switch to daylight savings time, once we get a grip on that lost hour, which in my case involves guzzling espresso. Then I’m ready to cull the obvious winter culprits from my wardrobe: the heavy coats, the tall boots, the wool pants, the pom-pom hats and the cashmere scarves.

But I go slow, just as becoming a teenager takes time, so does the advent of summer.

Here’s how I put a little spring in my step:

1. Go for Timeless Trench Coats: A double-breasted, water-resistant tan trench coat is a wardrobe staple, but think of alternative fabrics and colors, especially if you already have the classic. I used to own a white eyelet Michael Kors trench coat, which I wore to pieces. I now have cotton trench coats in apricot, bamboo-patterned navy and polka-dotted brown on beige. I have also seen elegant evening trench coats in bright silks that double as dresses or outerwear.

2. Leg It: My favorite buy this season is a pair of denim leggings, as an alternative to trousers, from Urban Outfitters. They are dark navy, look snug tucked in UGGS and work well with ballet flats. They can also be worn under a tunic or dress.

3. Khakis Make the Cut: Khaki is a great versatile lightweight fabric, whether cut into cargo pants, jackets or shirt-dresses. It feels right for spring and travels well into summer.

4. Think Outside the Bag: I was recently in New York and a colorful array of velvet pouches in a makeup shop called FACE Stockholm caught my eye. I picked out a few for mini-clutches. I pop a lipstick and a credit card in one and am good to go.

5. The Foot of the Matter: I don’t embrace sandals at this time of year. An open-back-only shoe makes more sense for hotter days, whether kitten-heels or wooden clogs, both of which are in style. I love my UGGS for cool days but they are not waterproof.

6. Invest in a Breton Shirt: If there is one thing to invest in this season, I suggest a striped nautical shirt. A long-sleeved Breton shirt in navy and white stripes looks smart with jeans beneath a trench coat right now, and will continue to look chic with shorts and flat sandals in the summer.

7. Fit for a Queen: A fitted cardigan in cashmere, cotton, mohair or silk is a girl’s BFF in springtime. When it’s cool, slip it on, and when it’s not, slip it off. Bright colors, skinny belts or below-the-hip lengths lend the must-have item a contemporary feel.

8. Something Floral: I noticed twisted-cotton Liberty-print floral scarves at Target recently. I also always like a swishy skirt with a graphic floral print to pair with a plain fitted-T, not too sweet and girly, but pretty nonetheless. A ring or necklace with a floral theme would be fun as well.

9. Singing in the Rain: A couple of years ago, I picked up a beautiful faux-bamboo handled orange umbrella on Madison Avenue. It came out of a fancy handbag shop but cost under $100. Every time it rains, I can’t wait to put it to use.

10. Glove Girl: I switch from cashmere-lined leather or cashmere gloves to thin leather driving gloves in bright hues for the season. On a cool day, they warm my hands and add a dash of color to my outfit, without feeling too toasty.

The bottom line

Fashion is subjective. Spring is inevitable. Have fun with it and think about how to put spring into your step, without losing track of who’s the adult. Summer will be here before you know it.

About Charlotte Safavi

Charlotte Safavi has written for many publications, including The Washington Post, The British Sunday Times Magazine, House Beautiful, Victorian Homes, and Better Homes and Gardens. Her style blogs also appear on The Huffington Post. Born in London and educated at Oxford University, her heritage is Iranian. She now resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and son. For more information, visit www.charlottesafavi.com