In Fashion: The short list of spring fashion essentials
Mar 30,2007 00:00 by Sharon_Mosley

Before you start fretting about a new swimsuit, before you start worrying about tan lines and before you get all worked up into a sweat about frizzy hair days, lighten up. Spring has officially begun and we're all in the mood to add something cool to last year's warm-weather wardrobes. So before you get all hot and bothered, take a chill pill and consider a few of these fashion trends to update your closet:

The Dress - It's the talk of the town. And if you're a separates kind of girl, then you'll want to shop for at least one new dress to update your wardrobe. Dresses easily flow from day to night with the right accessories. Dress down a look with pretty flats and an oversized handbag. Or, glam it up with patent peep-toe pumps and a metallic clutch.

SPRING IS HERE - Spring has begun and you should buy something cool to your warm-weather wardrobes. This shift dress from Maggie London would fit the bill. CNS Photo.

Go Sailing - The spectator look has long been a spring fashion tradition. Freshen up traditional 'nautical' colors with bits of spring - Kelly green and yellow. Feminize masculine pieces such as the peacoat with full-bodied skirts in stripes and dots. Try a sea-worthy take on preppy menswear looks. Or go for striped espadrilles or polka-dot pumps.

The Feminine Blouse - Indulge in a romantic blouse. Look for special details including pintucks, ruffles, and shirring. Sleeve details and voluminous silhouettes look great when paired with form-fitting denim or leggings. Try a frilly blouse for modern sensibility under a career suit.

The Cropped Jacket - This season's newest play on proportion is a versatile piece. Pair with a long tunic to have fun with lengths or with crepe pants for work-worthy sophistication. The newest trench coats are shorter, too.

White All Over - Perhaps the most versatile color of all, head-to-toe white epitomizes the freshness of spring. Accent with black to create a striking contrast or pair with nautical colors for a playful look. Try a pair of white jeans with layered cotton hoodies for casual cool. All-white looks even more dressed up by red patent heels.

Flats - Flats are versatile and comfortable for any occasion. Bejeweled flats and metallic gladiators have a youthful edge and add flare. The ballet flat in all its variations is a great shoe for all occasions.

The Tunic - Pair a tunic with skinny denim or leggings for a long, lean look. Billowy floral prints and structured solids over leggings show off proportions. Chunky jewelry adds balance to slimmer bottoms. Try a floral satin tunic or belted menswear shirt over leggings or slim pants or jeans.

Metallic Accessories - From handbags to shoes, the must-have accessories for spring in silver, gold or bronze go with everything. A soft gold satchel transitions from day to night. A silvery clutch is an evening essential.

Shorts - Hemlines are rising to lengthen the leg and offset voluminous tops. Dress up shorts with a well-fitting jacket over a pretty feminine top. Or, add long, colorful necklaces to elongate layered cotton camisoles in graphic prints. Try tie-front shorts or cargo shorts for casual days; longer Bermuda styles for more polished looks.

Natural Shoes - Footwear with all-natural fabrications are the perfect transition from spring to summer. Wear the taller wedges with dresses, city shorts, and full skirts.

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.

© Copley News Service