April 12, 2007

Avoid Winter in April

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With March 21st long past, it’s officially been spring for several weeks. But while clothing stores around the country have been optimistically pushing their spring lines for months, the weather in Ithaca has been an uncooperative business partner this season. Teasing us with just a handful of warm days a couple of weeks ago, it has been especially bitter in 2007 — it looks like this year’s April showers, more blisteringly snowy than the typical balmy, thick rains, will bring no May flowers as advertised.
This unrelenting cold can make life seem bleak and discouraging because, if you’re anything like me, after tirelessly shopping for warm weather spring looks since the new year began, you’ve been edgily awaiting a chance to unveil you’re new outfits with little success. The wait is over — even though a quick glance at Weather.com shows that the next ten days look grim, there is no reason to continue wearing earmuffs, furry snow boots and bulky down jackets if it’s spring you crave.
The easiest thing you can do to lighten up your look is replace pieces in drab black for shots of bright colors. Unlike heavy wool, fabrics like cotton and silk readily conjure a springy image, yet can still keep you warm. Above all, remember the indispensable fashion rule of layering, pairing your new items with limited winter-wear is a way to get by in style during this enigmatic season, a consolation prize for being unable to wear your outfits with the matching sandals and tank-tops like you’d hoped.
Colorful sweaters were invented for spring; a fresh, lighthearted change to winter’s somber sweaters. Chunky cotton sweaters, reminiscent of those worn on brisk days at the beach, are perfect for this season when worn under a jacket. Cashmere sweaters are also a fitting option for this cold spring we are having, as they are lightweight, yet will keep you toasty warm. J.Crew, a brand celebrated for its relatively inexpensive, high-quality cashmere, offers a line of long-sleeved cashmere tees and cardigans in a rainbow of hues. A more casual, relaxed spring option is a bright cotton sweatshirt, plain or with colorful designs. These sweaters can be worn over long-sleeved tees as needed on colder days, making them a great everyday solution to our weather woes.
One of the benefits of layering is the chance to wear our flimsy spring dresses and skirts, as they can be worn above leggings or tights and paired up top with one of the aforementioned sweaters. There’s a good chance that a spring dress will come dripping with color and patterns, and rightly so, but be wary then of the sweaters and leggings you chose to pair with these dresses. While bright colors can get us through a depressing spring, too much color is not only annoying (and blinding for others to look at) but it is also un-chic. Light neutrals, like white, heather grey and camel, look more appropriate. If you’ve had enough of leggings, then colored jeans and cords in bright hues like purple, aqua and yellow are a trendy choice that will keep you comfortable in the cold.
Perhaps though, outerwear and accessories are the most important pieces of your outfit. Instead of the fur-lined puffy coats, opt for lined waterproof rain-jackets or cotton jackets. Throwing on an oversized silk scarf in a fun color, or one with a spring-inspired print, instantly brightens the gloomiest of days. Also canvas totes in any color will lighten a look. Or, exchange your black head bands for colorful ones, like American Apparel’s skinny headbands in metallic-brights.
Be the boss of what you wear, don’t let something as fickle as the weather determine your style!