Spring Forward

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Spring has sprung--at least in fashion, if not yet in Ohio. Ready to put yourself in sunnier spirits? I scoured runway looks and local shops, and picked the brain of local stylist Elizabeth Bean Smith, owner of Wardrobe Therapy, to offer some quick tips on refreshing your style for the season. Whitewash: White is hot--and everywhere. It might have been the single most prominent color in the spring fashion shows, as designers from the elegant Carolina Herrera to the edgier Band of Outsiders featured their own takes on it. You can go bold with an all-white suit, breezy with a simple white sundress, or classic with a crisp white button-up shirt and khaki shorts. "Get a great white blazer, white pants, a white blouse--so fresh," Bean Smith said. "If you're not in a career position, go with a white blouse and crisp cotton shorts." Shift into Neutral: Not to be mistaken for white, neutrals are another major spring trend. Think creams, beiges, khakis and tans. Even grays and light pinks can fall into this category. You can have a lot of fun layering various shades of neutral--especially with scarves. Think light and airy, almost ethereal. "We love the neutrals in everything from a blazer to a short to a shoe," Bean Smith said. "And we love mixing and matching the different neutrals." Pretty in Prints: Prints--from floral to 70s to Asian-inspired--abound this season. Try a printed top with high-waited jeans (another major spring trend). Or, for the most fashion-forward runway followers, be daring enough to pair mismatched prints. They key, according to Bean Smith? Make sure that one print isn't too overwhelming to another. Get preppy: If you're having trouble channeling your inner school girl, just look at a Tommy Hilfiger ad. Think skirts, cardigans, popped collars and oxford shoes. Nautical definitely fits under this category, too. Accessories are an easy way to pull this off--tie a scarf in your hair, slide on a pair of giant sunglasses and slip into some Sperry Top-Siders. Voila! "We love the Hampton preppy look--a great wide-legged trouser pant paired with a nautical stripe top," Bean Smith said. Fancy your Feet: If you're buying one new pair of shoes for spring and summer, consider strappy wedges. They're everywhere (in all price points), and they're quite flattering. "They give you height while being comfortable and practical at the same time," Bean Smith said. Her tip: If you don't love your ankles, do a wedge without an ankle strap. And neutrals work best, since they match everything.

-- Kristy Eckert