Brighten up

April 19th, 2012

Keeping your clothes on-trend can be a pricey and time-consuming endeavor. As a college student with stereotypically limited funds, I knew I could only make a handful of purchases each season. So each bangle had to count. Each top needed to have more than three wears in it.

Full disclosure I am still very much this way—I painstakingly weigh every purchase I make, preplan how the new item will fit in with the old, and how many seasons of life I can get from my purchase. Aside from my time in the classroom at John Carroll, I must credit college for this great, shopping savvy life lesson. It made me a serial monogamist with the items in my closest. And it’s also taught me to take my classic pieces and make them work with what’s coming off the runway.

Thank goodness for this, because as the assistant editor at a women’s fashion and lifestyle magazine in Columbus, I see what’s coming in fashion. And I constantly have to hold myself back from impromptu shopping sprees.

With willpower in mind, I wanted to share a few of my favorite trends this season that can be done on a budget.

1. Color: It’s everywhere—and it’s bright, bright, bright. Add it into your wardrobe somewhere. A tangerine-colored necklace. Bright blue nail polish (my fav on-the-cheap add). But if you can only buy one colorful item, grab a great pair of colored jeans. Then mix and match that bright denim with other searing colors. Just be sure to cap it at three colors per outfit to avoid looking like a kaleidoscope.

2. Prints & Florals: I’m not talking basic stripes and polka dots. These are over-the-top, standout patterns in bright florals (yes, more color), bold prints (feel free to wear from head-to-toe) and wild patterns. They look great in a skirt, jacket or dress.

3. Boho Chic: Dust off those peasant shirts from last season; they are still hot as ever. To make last year’s purchase current, pair with a wide-leg pant. This is a great, casual spring look.

Overall, what I love about the hot looks this spring season (aside from the nod to retro style) is that the bold looks and colors will easily carry over into the summer season. Meaning, if you shop right, you’ll get plenty of wear out of each purchase.

Now, off trend, if there is one piece of advice I wish someone had told me (and then forced me to follow sooner), it’s to invest in a great pair of jeans. If you can splurge, do it here. It’s one of the first post-college, adult purchases I made and haven’t regretted the hefty price tag since. Guys, that goes for you, too. I am a firm believer that a great pair of jeans is the foundation any outfit is built upon.