Shed winter blahs for the season's brightest hues


A bright approach is the right approach for spring fashion -- just add colour.

Take your pick of any of spring's brightly hued, mostly classic silhouettes, such as collared shirts and blouses, pantsuits, full and pleated skirts, dresses and gauzy warm weather fare.

"Invite colour into your wardrobe in colour-blocked and striped dresses and tops," says Natalie-Andree Vallerand, a spokesman for Mexx Canada. "Pants in saturated hues, such as red, also create some of the season's hottest looks."

Red's a great winter-chaser, but almost any bright or sherbet-inspired hue gives your wardrobe a shot. Intense neon colours and colourful jeans are also blasting away winter's blah shades.

"Jeans in shades of pistachio, soft lemon, strawberry, blueberry, orange sherbet and other ice cream-inspired colours are key this spring," says Eric Wazana, the creator of Second Denim Company in Montreal. "If you're looking for more high-contrast shades, I'd suggest red or white."

White remains popular and shades of green, especially pistachio, mint and sea foam are among the most popular cool-colour options to balance the season's predominantly warm hues of red, orange and yellow.

Everything's coming up patterned this spring. Ethnic, snake, geometric and floral prints are recommended by many designers, including Roberto Cavalli, Peter Som, Rachel Roy, Diane Von Furstenberg and Canadian Denis Gagnon.

"I was inspired by an English garden for my spring collection," says Gagnon, whose spring collection is uncharacteristically rife with floral-print skirts, tops, shorts and pants.

While floral patterns are to be expected in warm weather collections, recently developed digital screening processes make for super real, picture-perfect prints of all types, including the many snake patterns which also make up one of the season's most important trends.

"Fashion followers will dive into python and snake prints by literally wearing them head to toe. More modest fashion adventurers might choose to mix python and snake prints into their wardrobe in a neutral way, by wearing them with colour-drenched hues or to liven up basic black and white," suggests Marlene Robillard, a spokesman for Le Chateau.

According to Robillard, coloured suiting and wide-legged pants will help you get a leg up on the season. Flowing, wide-legged pants don't replace slim pants, but tie in well with other retro-inspired wardrobe items, such as lady-like, full-skirted dresses, sheath dresses, full pleated skirts and long flowing maxi skirts.

"Making a steady comeback on the runways is the fabulous wide-leg pant which creates a long and leggy look when paired with a tucked-in blouse or cropped blazer and the platform and wedge shoe styles that all designers are loving," says Robillard.

Loose flowing pants, feminine blouses and cropped jackets with more shoulder emphasis are among the many spring silhouettes that are poised to remain fashionable next fall and winter.


Colour complement

You'll look best in spring's warm wardrobe colours if your skin tone is predominantly yellow-based, ranging from ivory to golden and reddish beige and brown. Choose cool colours if your skin tone is blue-based.