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A fresh wardrobe approach for spring

This season, it’s all about the boudoir, 1970s bohemian and military styles, so channeling your inner screen siren, haute hippie or G.I. Jane should be easy.

March 28, 2010|By Melissa Magsaysay, Los Angeles Times
  • LOOKING FOR SOME INSPIRATION?
LOOKING FOR SOME INSPIRATION? (Associated Press; Associated…)

Our weather may shift only slightly with the coming of spring, but the urge to purge long sleeves and heavier layers in favor of fresh new looks is undeniable.

This spring, you can update by adopting elements from three key trends seen on the runways. With soft looks inspired by the boudoir, 1970s bohemian influences and sharp military styles, channeling your inner screen siren, haute hippie or G.I. Jane should be easy. Filling in your closet with key items shouldn't be a daunting (or bank-breaking) hunt for all-new outfits. Instead, you can incorporate the season's trends sparingly by buying fringed accessories, a sheer blouse or relaxed khaki trousers to capture spring's strongest looks.

A peek into the boudoir

No more pinning your bra straps in place or worrying about special undergarments for a low-cut dress. This season, what's underneath is supposed to show.

That's according to the sexy, sheer looks on the Christian Dior and Nina Ricci spring runways, where satin bras peeked through light chiffon blouses and dramatic red dresses were made even bolder with visible black undergarments.

But how does this peekaboo trend translate to real life without resulting in a sexual harassment lawsuit? Ladies in L.A. have been layering lace bandeaus and bras under V-neck shirts, tank tops and airy button-downs so a sliver of a black undergarment peeks out from a white top.

Jeannie Lee, owner of Satine boutique in Los Angeles, carries lace camis, bandeaus and bras in her store especially for this reason. She sees her customers layering and incorporating them into a uniform of T-shirt and jeans with the idea that the pieces worn underneath will be seen.

"That's the difference between the East Coast or Europe and the West Coast," Lee says. In Europe and on the other coast, there is a more polished and refined approach, whereas "a black bra under a white T-shirt is [L.A.'s] answer to this trend."

While the bra and T-shirt look is one alternative, a more sophisticated translation is in lightweight and silky fabrics and soft, feminine colors. "Fabrics for spring are sheer and silky," Lee says. "Even T-shirts are lighter and sheerer."

Ann Taylor has silk tops with a pleated fan detail in front. They come in soft pastels, and the pleats have the same kind of 1940s feel that walked down the Dior runway. For an edgier option, Forever 21 has a black and white top with trompe l'oeil lace detail, and Christian Dior has nude-colored stilettos with subtle bra strap detail criss-crossing the entire shoe.

These soft colors and fabrics look elegant with Art Deco-inspired accessories to finish off the romantic, ladylike allure of the trend.

Military

The military trend is marching forward into spring with camouflage, khaki, cargo detail and army-inspired pieces rolling into stores at every price point. Cargo pants have replaced boyfriend jeans, and relaxed chinos in tan and olive green are the season's go-to lightweight pants.

Army-style jackets are being done in lighter weights, but with stronger patterns, such as an all-over camo print version from J. Crew. And if it's not the print, then it's the embellishments that add the military feel. Gold sequin appliqués, embroidery and brass button and zipper details are all over button-down shirts, cardigans, even bags.

Alexander Wang incorporated the look heavily into his spring 2010 collection, showing khaki vests, blazers and leather trousers on the runway in a relaxed and slouchy silhouette. At Chloé, the influence was lighter and the lines cleaner, seen in buttoned-up military-style shirts tucked neatly into khaki pants and tan sleeveless shirts nipped in with thin brown belts.

"What's nice about the military trend this time around is that it's evolved into something more understandable and not so severe," says Caprice Willard, regional planning manager for ready to wear at Macy's.

The slouchy khaki pants and olive green items of spring will move effortlessly into fall, when the army green color palette will be prevalent, says Satine's Jeannie Lee. "Military done well always sells," Lee says. "It's really easy to wear, and people relate to it for the historical references in fashion, like punk kids. It's always been associated with cool."

Lee says Satine has already sold out of Alexander Wang's military-inspired peep-toe booties, so expect there to be quite a fashion army marching around L.A.

That '70s style

Bohemian may be considered part of L.A.'s fashion vernacular, but this spring it's (thankfully) being done in a more textural and authentically 1970s manner with fringe incorporated into pieces from ankle boots to earrings.

"We are definitely registering a true '70s look in fringe, crochet and macramé," says Macy's Caprice Willard, who sees bohemian style evolving in the handicraft techniques and details.

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