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Finding Fashion: Spring trends—fun, feminine, frugal!

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March 30th, 2009

Second in a three-part series on fashion for the mature woman

How to look great on a budget

By Michele Harris

Spring fashions are hitting the stores, and this year the biggest news isn t about colors, patterns, or hemlines. is year it s all about looking great without spending a fortune.

Spring trends

Celebrity stylist Mark-Alan Harmon, a regular contributor to Style Network, E! and CNN Showbiz Tonight, advises women to take stock of what they have that still works before they start buying.

It s important to look through your wardrobe and evaluate the items you ll need and want for the season, Harmon says. Knowing what you have, what you need, and which trends you d like to follow will help you put together a list of must-haves for a modern, trendy closet within your budget.

According to Harmon, some of this spring s hottest trends include bright colors like fuchsia and lemon yellow, which evoke feelings of optimism and hope.

And after years of those unforgiving (and in most cases unwearable for anyone over the age of 25) low-riders, high-waisted pants and skirts are making a return.

The hourglass figure is the silhouette of the season. Play up that waistline with cinched belts that are also back in style. In the accessories department, pick up a great oversized bag in one of the spring s hottest looks python print.

Location, location, location

Where people are shopping is likely to make as much news as what they are buying. Analysts predict shoppers will be buying less and looking for bargains. As the big department stores struggle to stay afloat, outlets and other discount options are more popular than ever.

We are the shopping venue of choice for the frugal fashionista, says Senior Vice President of Marketing Karen E. Fluharty of Prime Retail, which operates 21 Prime Outlet malls in cities such as Orlando, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Austin, and Williamsburg, Va. Our shoppers know they ll find great designer and namebrands at a fraction of the cost.

Online bargain hunters are finding treasures at sites such as SmartBargains.com and Overstock.com, which off er designer apparel at substantially reduced prices.

Looking good is the best revenge

A member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America and a tenured professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Seventh Avenue designer George Simonton has designed clothes for the world s best-dressed women for over 44 years.

His fashions are available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Lord & Taylor. One of Simonton s latest ventures, Simonton Says, designed exclusively for TV and online retailer QVC, makes his couture-inspired styles affordable and available to everyone.

Women of a certain age want to look fashionable, and they want to be comfortable yet smart looking, Simonton says. at s one of the things I do with my clothes for QVC; I make sure they are fashionable and youthful looking, but at the same time, woman-friendly.

What are the hot trends for Simonton s customers? The nautical look is always a classic. Everyone sort of reinvents that every spring and summer. I m talking about that Ralph Lauren style where people look like they have a yacht waiting for them even though they really don t, he jokes. Everyone likes to look like they are on vacation.

He says that cheerful, happy clothes during these hard times are also big sellers this year and the one must-have is a fabulous knit top.

Making trends work for you

Just because something is in style, doesn t mean it s going to work for you. Pick and choose the trends you like and work them into your own personal style.

For example, despite the changing season and the warmer temperatures, many women don t feel comfortable revealing too much skin. Simonton recommends mixing in shorter styles like Capri pants or three-quarter-length sleeves for the spring and summer. Even if you are heavy, you probably have great ankles and wrists, he says.

Pair a trendy new top with pants you already have. Many women like and feel comfortable in pull-on pants, Simonton says, but not all pull-on pants are created equal. Too much fabric, he cautions, makes the garment look like a paper bag. Simonton says pants that are slightly less elastic are more flattering.

Well-groomed is timeless

Simonton doesn t believe that age should dictate style, with one exception. I think the only rule older women follow is that they are clean, neat, and well-groomed.

While the younger crowd likes the messy look like they just rolled out of bed the mature woman is more appreciative of being wellgroomed.

Michele.Harris@erickson.com

Wardrobe essentials

Cardigans and knit tops Tribal or ethnic prints Sheer or lace tops layered over tanks Nautical styles

Colors to look for

Black on white prints

Pink from fuchsia to pale

Yellow from light daff odil to lemon grass

Accessories

Trench coats

Large patterned bags

Colorful platform shoes

Grecian sandals

Python bags, belts, and bangles

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