Spring Chic: Secrets from Fashionable Women

Transitioning from one season to the next can be tricky in the Midwest.

Fashionable women can’t vacuum pack all their winter duds and depend solely on their spring collection of silky blouses and flirty skirts. Winter looms for months; cold ebbs and flows. Even still, small boutiques and large chains all have unleashed their cheerful spring collections, leaving many of us torn on what to wear.

To help solve this seasonal conundrum, we spoke with three of our favorite fashion pundits: Mollie Milano, owner and co-founder of Style Spies, and Carrie Kane and Sharon Watrous (pictured above), owners of Chalk Boutique in Evanston.

Spring Essentials from Mollie Milano

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Milano first suggests cycling in your favorite pair of white jeans. She just returned from a trip to Los Angeles where everyone was wearing them with boots and a warm sweater. They are just as warm as your go-to blue jeans, but will look fresh as warm weather approaches.

A sand-colored, suede bootie is another suggestion from her. Easily paired with skinny jeans or tights now, they can also be worn sockless with cute, colorful crops once the weather turns around.

For more overt color, the mom-of-two advises picking up a loose-fitting tank top in a bright hue. “It’s a nice layering piece to have,” she says. “You can throw on a blazer or cardigan over it right now and wear it by itself once the weather warms up.” Along the same lines, she suggests layering with a light-colored cardigan. “It’s a good way to pick up on the pastel trend, but not go crazy.”

Spring Essentials from Carrie Kane and Sharon Watrous

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Kane and Watrous agree on the importance of color and recommend incorporating it through the addition of an eye-catching handbag. “We all crave color this time of year,” Kane says.

The Evanston pair also suggests embracing leather and hint that “the trick is all in the layering.” With the chill still in the air, use a leather jacket as a sleek (and warm) accompaniment to a sleeveless dress. Leather legging also pair perfectly with a ribbed cashmere knit now and a fitted T-shirt and featherweight scarf once spring is truly upon us.

Spring Trends

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These North Shore fashionistas not only advised us on bridging this seasonal gap, but also alerted us to some must-have trends for spring.

All three agree on the prominence of print. Milano (pictured right) focused mostly on the floral trend, pointing out that it’s featured in collections at almost every price point. Watrous and Kane love the potpourri of prints making an appearance, from color-blocked cocktail dresses to animal-inspired handbags.

When it comes to color, Milano picks pastels to replace last year’s neon trend. “I’ve seen a ton of pastels, and I know that is usually the case every spring, but it’s even more so this spring.” She also earmarks emerald (the Pantone color of the year) and tangerine as bolder key colors.

The ladies from Chalk choose orange as an essential hue for the season—it’s “the new neutral.” They also selected bright, cool blues as another color to have this spring. “It’s an optimistic color,” Kane says. “Wear as much as you can handle.”

Milano asserts that camouflage is something else to be on the lookout for, clarifying that this isn’t the camo of the 90s, but instead is being used in more tailored silhouettes. She loves this pair of Elizabeth and James skinny jeans or this more relaxed pair from Baldwin Denim.

On the flip side, Kane and Watrous said to keep an eye out for lace this season. “It adds just the right amount of femininity to any tailored look, whether a classic pant suit or an asymmetrical hemline in a work appropriate skirt or dress,” Kane says.

And to wrap up their spring forecast, the ladies turned to beauty trends. Style Spy Milano elects the embellished nail trend as something every woman—even moms—should try. With stick-on’s in fun patterns from Sally Hansen, it’s easy to give yourself a celebrity manicure in just a matter of minutes (and at a reasonable price).

The two boutique owners looked to the spring runway shows for tips and trends. They recommend matte red lips for day or night or a dramatic smoky eye to balance a simple nude lip. When it comes to hair, they suggest styling it in loose waves or a sleek part.

Now that you’re fully equipped for both chilly transitional days and full-blown spring, you can confidently take on March—no matter what Mother Nature decides.