New for 2009

In the words of style maven Tim Gunn, “Lighten up; it’s just fashion.” Those are certainly words to live by in these coming months, as heavy winter garb gives way to more warm weather-friendly attire. And as the New Orleans climate errs on the erratic side, adding lighter fabrics in punchy hues is sure to beat those winter blues. Resort wear, or “early spring” as it’s sometimes referred to, makes great transitional pieces, so pick up key items in a Technicolor palette; they’ll look just as great with a cardigan and tights as they will with sandals and a breezy tee.

1. As with the previous fall/winter styles, vibrant abstract prints still rule the runway for Early Spring. Look for an expressionist-inspired dress or top
and be your own work of fine art. Cornelia, 116 Louisiana Ave., 896-7824.

2. Even if your plans don’t include a tropical vacation to escape the chill, bright accessories in warmer tones, such as a tangerine Bottega Veneta bag, still work with your winter wardrobe and also with your upcoming spring picks. Weinstein’s, 4011 Magazine St., 985-6278.

3. Less is more when it comes to resort wear items. Choose one piece, like a dress with an embellished collar, then keep everything else neutral and to a minimum. Snap, 240 Metairie Road, 849-9988.

4. When looking for transitional pieces that will work seamlessly from one season to the next, versatility is key. In terms of shoes, opt for footwear in year-round textiles and fabrics in seasonless colors. These caramel-hued leather heels work just as great with a full flirty skirt as they do with skinny jeans and a sweater. Ele Shoes, 3316 Magazine St., 309-8674.

5. If you can’t decide on a color that will work both now and in a few months, think warmer tones of usually cool colors. Instead of a plum purple, choose a lighter shade in a textured fabric, and dove gray instead of charcoal. The look is original and unexpectedly soft. Pair it now with tights and later with pumps, and you’ll be workday ready. C. Collection, 8141 Maple St., 861-5002.

6. Tailored cream pants and a satiny tunic are the perfect palette to decorate around, and easily mix and match with any ensemble you create. Go for a shorter pant length that can tuck into boots now, and pair with sandals later for a more casual look. Angelique, 7725 Maple St., 866-1092.

7. Women’s suiting has always been a bit tricky: Too tight and the look is garish, too boxy and the look can add years – and pounds – to your frame. Look for new silhouettes, like shorter jackets and trumpet or pleated skirts, to look fresh during the day, then lose the jacket for an effortlessly chic look during those cool evenings. Interesting fabric, like perforated chiffon, adds a ladylike touch. Pied Nu, 5521 Magazine St., 899-4118

8. The easiest way to warm up any outfit? Go bold with gold! Layer on phenomenal gilded adornments too rich even for Midas to touch. Pair with a body skimming knit in a notice-me color for extra oomph. Mimi, 5500 Magazine St., 269-6464.

9. A chunky knit cardigan paired with a breezy bright skirt is so au courant, while a bold belt ensures you won’t lose your feminine form under all that fabric. Both work perfectly now and in the warmer months ahead. And if you do head away on a vacation to a tropical locale, these items are no muss, no fuss and stay wrinkle-free. Perlis, 6070 Magazine St., 895-8661.

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