Spring Trends 2017: Do with them what you will

The last frost is upon us and I finally feel I can, in good faith, write about spring trends. There’s a lot going on: some fun, some fantastic, some silly.

Flowers? Yep. Check shirt? Yep? Massive bell? You betcha. Let spring begin!

What follows is a list of easy, wearable trends. Some of which I’ll choose to incorporate into my wardrobe, some I won’t. You pick and choose what works for you and add them into your rotation as you see fit.

We’ll start with on-trend pieces I will not be wearing this spring.

Some perfectly stylish things I don’t want.

Cold shoulder / off the shoulder blouses and dresses

You might want to wear it because:

You probably have fantastic shoulders. I think everyone does. Shoulders are gorgeous. Cold shoulder is a fun way to show some skin without revealing too much.

Why I won’t be wearing it:

It makes me feel like an extra in a PBS special on Zachary Taylor’s inauguration. Plus I get cold easily.

Distressed denim

You might want to wear it because:

Distressed denim is everywhere, from Forever 21 to Chico’s. It’s an easy way to keep things casual, no matter what you pair with it.

Why I won’t be wearing it:

Something about buying new clothes that already have holes in them chafes against my penny-pinching sensibilities. I think a better option is vintage denim: sturdy, worn pieces from the 70s and 80s that can be found in specialty shops and occasionally the back of your sweetheart’s closet.

Um… have I seen your vintage sheering Levi jacket? Yeah… It’s… in my spring wardrobe.

Embroidered denim

You might want to wear it because:

It’s a fun, pretty take on denim

Why I won’t be wearing it:

I can’t justify the expense right now. But if something shows up at Buffalo Exchange next fall, I’ll snag it.

It’s awfully tempting.

Wide leg crops

You might want to wear it because:

Wide leg crops are a fresh silhouette, a strong, fashion-forward statement.

Why I won’t be wearing it:

I have a few friends I think would look adorable in these, but wide leg crops do nothing for my shape. They manage to obscure my curves while accentuating my width. Plus they’re total bike-chain bate.

Rainbow stripes

You might want to wear it because:

Part of a larger wink from the late 70s, early 80s, rainbow stripes are this year’s reflection of the Gen X childhood. You can find just about anything in rainbow stripes: t-shirts, scarves, shoes. I feel like every woman who didn’t quite get her fill of rainbow stripes during middle school is celebrating right now.

Why I won’t be wearing it:

Sometimes a trend feels too trendy. I like rainbows as much as the next person, but this trend is so “on” I feel like I need to wait a little before I can enjoy it authentically.

If I were spending the summer in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical..

And now, a few trends I will be wearing this spring.


Pink is on trend for spring? What a shock. Honestly, I love pink, and I always have. I’ll probably find a few more pieces to tuck into my spring wardrobe.

You can incorporate it by:

Adding a t-shirt, or a swapping out the expected white jeans for pink. Actually, swapping out your traditional white anything for pink would work. The soft blush that is making the rounds this spring is a nice color for nearly any complexion, so don’t shy away from it if you like it.

Adith, Elaine and Nina, looking good and right on trend at the First United Methodist Church.

Army Green, aka “Kale”

Apparently we’re calling this color Kale now. That’s fine. I love kale. It’s everywhere. Since green is the color of foliage, it pretty much goes with everything. Seriously, if there is a flower in a specific color, it goes with green. I use “kale” as a neutral at this time of year.

You can incorporate it by:

Wearing it with more feminine looks, over a floral dress or paired with delicate jewelry. Kale jeans, cargos or a skirt look great with boho floral tops.

I think I’ll just wear this dress for the next three months straight.


Woohoo! Gingham’s back. I’ll be wearing this new Talbot’s check shirt all spring. Along with an old Talbot’s check shirt I bought at the Goodwill way out on West 6th street in 2002. I love to wear gingham with an unexpected black blazer, with shorts, with denim… OK, I’ll wear gingham with anything.*

You can incorporate it by:

Swapping out a white or chambray shirt for checks. Or buy a stand-alone piece, like a bathing suit or spring clutch. If a check top feels a little too farm girl for you, pair it with a pencil skirt or sharp black jeans. If you still think you’re channeling Dorothy, don’t worry. Skip it. It’s just a trend.

It’s like plaid, only for the summer.

Utilitarian Chic

Ever since The English Patient came out in 1996, I get unreasonably excited when this trend blows through.** Tough, beautiful, classics have always appealed to me. It says, “Yeah, I might go to work today, or I might hop on a plane to Wadi Sura and make an important discovery about Neolithic cave art.”***

Because everyone had perfect hair and make up in North African prior World War II. Everyone.

You can incorporate it by:

Find a few key pieces, a utility jacket, a khaki skirt, cargo skinnies, and wear them when you would have worn denim. Seeking out softer fabrics, like Tencel or a linen blend, keeps it all from standing out too stiffly.

Pink and green isn’t so preppy when you add extra pockets everywhere.

Remember that a stylish wardrobe may or may not incorporate any of these trends, as the wearer sees fit for her life and style. Keeping informed about trends helps you cultivate a good working relationship with current fashion, as discussed in last week’s post. Have fun with these, and enjoy them as the nights get shorter and we look forward to warmer weather and brighter days.

Up and coming artist Julia Chou wears distressed jeans with confidence at a gallery displaying her work. Chou’s former history teacher enjoys the art while wearing pink, on trend or otherwise.

* I think that’s a sign that a style is really you. I have no trouble incorporating gingham into my rotation, and it feels always perfectly comfortable.

** Is it really unreasonable?

*** But not waste away with a cranky guy who is obsessed with Herodotus.

One last shot of Kristin Scott Thomas as Katharine Clifton. What could be more practical for the desert than an oversized leather jacket and sheer silk scarf?