The climate in the area has yet to call for the heavy, richer fabrics of winter, yet many residents are already focusing on what’s hot in apparel for spring.

Crystal Miller, director of local modeling agency Alex Varsavia Talent, said tailored ensembles similar to those in the 1980s are making a comeback.

“When we were at [Dallas Apparel] Market, I noticed vests, fitted vests, were back,” said Miller. “The shorter trousers, gauchos, were also in abundance. Trends moved away from mannish tailoring; blouses and camisoles were dotted with lots of sequins and rhinestones and paired with tailored overwear.”

Which is good news for those who hated the famous “Annie Hall” necktie in the ‘80s.

“It’s definitely moving away from the breezy, loose bohemian fads,” said Miller. “Fashions are definitely more constructive.”

Miller also noticed a resurgence in the color green.

“And it’s not chartreuse, either,” said Miller. “It’s a bright, vivid Kelly green, which is good, because people of various skin types can wear it without looking washed out.”

Kelly green was in abundance in a display for spring sportswear at Stage.

“Any shade that’s complementary to blue is in this spring,” said Tammy Akers, Stage manager. “We’ve also seen a lot of chocolate browns paired with a pale turquoise, pinks or pale purples.”

Akers agreed that slacks and jackets have a more tailored style, but blouses allow for a more feminine touch.

“The blouses with a fitted, short vest are really taking off,” said Akers. “Halters in fluid fabrics like Rayon are also very popular and include embellishments like sequins and glittery thread.”

Prom night this year is expected to be an explosion of bright colors, according to Miller.

“We’re not talking about just bright colors,” said Miller. “We’re talking eye-popping, Dayglo colors like fuschia, yellow and green.”

For business wear, Miller indicated pastels are still popular.

“I saw a lot of lavenders and corals,” said Miller. “Not the orangey coral, but a softer, pinker coral.”

Miller’s teenage models fall into two fashion categories.

“I have the casual punk girls, who wear Vans and Converse tennis shoes, blue jeans and concert T-shirts,” said Miller. “I got kind of a giggle the other day when I saw one come in with leg-warmers on. I thought, ‘Not the ‘80s again!’”

The second sect of Miller fashionistas lean more toward the sophisticated, older looks.

“These girls wear rhinestone and sequined jeans with stiletto heals and sequined tops,” said Miller. “During the day! Used to be, sequins were for evening only.”

According to Chadwick’s, a catalog clothing retailer, fashion buzzwords for spring ‘06 include demure, clean and charming.

The clothier’s Web site indicated five spring trends include natural and pastel tones, stripes and prints, ladylike silhouettes, frilly and feminine details and embellished accessories in natural and pastel tones.

Marilyn Loftis, manager of Goody’s Family Clothing, said hems are dropping and waistlines are climbing this year.

“Fashion for spring seems to be moving away from the mini-skirt,” said Loftis. “Most skirts and dresses are knee-length, and the rise in the jeans and slacks is moving closer to the waist. I haven’t seen any of the really low-rise jeans in stores this spring.”

Dresses for summer have three distinct styles, according to Loftis.

“We’ve seen shirtwaist dresses, baby-doll dresses and simple shifts with hems landing right above the knee,” said Loftis.



Dressing for warmer weather

If the thought of rising mercury and bare skin makes you cringe and hide, breath easier. Here are several fashion tips to help you keep cool and look great:

• Instead of shorts, wear light dresses and flirty skirts. The best skirts are flared and knee-length. Always wear pumps with knee-length dresses and skirts. The wrong shoes can spoil a look. Kitten-heel pumps are a great choice and come in many styles.

• If you’re unsure about donning florals, don’t worry. Add a print bag or use a flower in your lapel. If you choose to wear prints, keep the print in proportion to your figure. Large florals make you look larger.

• Buy a few T-shirts to wear with jeans and choose a finer fabric to wear with suits for a professional look. White is great with black; mix it up with black or white sandals and purse or use polka-dot accessories.

• Bring out the bright colors. Add fuschia, yellow and green to spice up an outfit. It’s best to keep colors like lime green away from the face, as it makes many people look washed-out.

• If you want to wear tank tops and don’t want to go braless (no one should), choose a top with straps wide enough to hide the strap or try a top with a built-in bra.

Source: Sheila Dicks, wardrobe and image consultant, www.sheilafashionsense.com.

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