The flowers of spring fashion bloom

By Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

During these final winter months, it is easy to feel dazed and tired, not just with our classes, but our winter wardrobes. While it is quick and simple to put on the yoga/sweat pants followed by a warm heavy jacket every day, it does in fact get quite repetitive and boring. However, spring and the warmth we’ve been longing for is quickly approaching and it is time to shove your UGG boots and peacoats to that dark place in the back of our closets and start shopping!

When looking at upcoming fashion trends, it is best to start at the epicenter of where these styles emerge; so what better place than straight off the runway at New York Fashion Week?

Living on the East Coast, a lot of us Ohioans and other bordering states look to New York City for inspiration on the latest styles and how to turn heads without putting in too much effort before our 8 a.m. class.

Girls and guys, listen up as I explore the trending looks of the upcoming season for women and menswear. As college students, money is sometimes tighter than we wish it were. However, you’ll see that if you shop right and follow a few simple tips, you can save yourself a few bucks and still look fabulous this spring.

When people think spring, the common visual image is pink or some lighter tone colors and a floral print for women. I myself am guilty of this too, so upon researching, it was surprising to see neither of these girly themes.

Last year for men, we saw a lot of polo-style shirts, cargo shorts, neutrals and boat shoes; however, we saw almost nothing of resemblance to these items this year.

In fear of losing my male readers too soon, we will look at menswear first. So guys, think military-inspired pieces. Olive-greens and a deep orangey rusts are in. A nice red or gold would look good, as well as different shades of primary colors too. If you want to go with a lighter colored piece, look for spearmint green.

“I love the bright neon tees and v-necks that are going to be big this year,” said UA student Mark Osterhage. “It makes me anxious for the weather to warm up!”

You might have noticed your girlfriend wearing a flashy-blingy collar lately, so follow her lead; but eighty-six the rhinestones and try to find a nice structured collared shirt. 1990s denim is back, so if you are not the jean-vest kind of guy, look for a denim collar shirt (you can almost always find one of these in the Ralph Lauren section), and you are killing two birds with one stone.

Stripes are big, but don’t go off picturing a “Where’s Waldo?” kind of appearance. Look for non-traditional prints like stripes going in opposite directions of each other, or using colors you might not typically put together.

If you have a more formal event to go to, or want to look exceptionally nice one day, guys tend to lean more towards black. This season experiment with brown instead. It still gives you the sophistication you want, but does it in a not-so-harsh way; after all, it is spring and the dreary dark colors need to stay on the hanger with your North Face jacket.

As far as accessories go, pick up a pair of neon colored shoes or a bright colored watch. A flashy accessory on a neutral-colored outfit looks awesome. On the runway, we saw a lot of shoes without laces. Look for a pair of loafers, as leather never gets old. While in past years this has been frowned upon, leave the socks at home!

I think most women would agree that shopping for spring and summer wear is the most fun of all. While boots and baggy sweaters are nice and cozy when it is cold, there is nothing better than a long maxi dress and a pair of sandals showing off your fresh-out-of-the-salon pedicure.

Remember Bermuda shorts? They’re back, and even better! Look for shorts and a matching jacket suit. This is Akron, so with our unpredictable weather, it is never a bad idea to have a little something to throw over you.

While pink is almost nonexistent on the runway, don’t think that spring trends are not girlish. In fact, dominatrix and feminine meet this spring. Now, don’t wear a corset or a Catwoman costume around campus, but try pairing leather and lace together. There are some really cool tops out that are loose-fitting but with leather accents that put a twist on ladylike.

While we saw brown popular among the opposite sex, women-wear has a lot of strong contrasting black and white dresses and pieces.

As far as dresses go, we see a lot of long maxi-style ones, but short sporty ones too. Beachy, tropical prints are seen, using shades of blues and sea-foam greens. Hunt for vibrant prints, stripes and Indian-inspired beading on a dress or top. Peek-a-boo midriffs are going to become increasingly popular, or dresses with slits in the tummy.

“I can’t wait to bring out my numerous maxi-dresses for spring,” said Emily Goudy. “It’s the perfect go-to outfit for any girl, whether it is shopping with friends, or you can dress them up with a jacket and accessories for a dinner date.”

The most common type of fabric is going to be sheer. Sheer dresses and shirts are exploding because they add a flash of skin and are light-weight, but do not show too much.

1990s denim is back as well as 1960s prints and structures. Everything seems to be very lose-fitting with exaggerated volume, which translates to comfortable. On the color palette, look for orange creamsicle, khaki, sage, shades of purple, gold, cobalt blue, warm, cool colors and again, black and white together always looks divine.

As far as shoes go, it seems that in the past few years, college girls are at one extreme or the other (like with flats and 7-inch pumps), but not this spring. Look for a low high-heeled shoe if you want some height and still be able to walk around campus without fear of breaking a bone.

Look for heels in metallic and bold colors with a chunky heel, pointed toe or decorated wedge. Last year gladiator sandals were huge, and they have returned but with a twist this year. Instead of straps that stop at the ankle, they are literally like what the Romans wore 2,000 years ago, and go almost to the knee.

Bold, thick, metallic, gold and silver jewelry will be in as well as fringed necklaces and bracelets. Big, boxy bags will take the place of last season’s cross-body fixations. We will also see the large see-through clear purses return; this is great for students because if you only have a class or two that day, you can fit your books in and leave the not-so-fashionable backpack at home.

“I’m really excited for the leather-lace combo because I love black-on-black,” said Valerie Boone. “I also really like the bold jewelry trend since I like to wear solid colored clothing; it gives me a chance to show my own style.”

One of the nice things about vintage styles coming back is that you can find some of the items in a vintage boutique for way less than you would at a department store.

On Grant Street here in Akron, there is The Funky Hippie, and on West Market Street there is a shop called Revival. In Hartville, there is a store called Twice is Nice Consignments that was voted #1 of Northeast Ohio vintage shops. And if you are ever in the Canton area, Encore Resale Shop has tons of antique pieces.

Also, as silly as it sounds, shop in the kids department. You can find very similar pieces of clothing for much less. And plus sizes are always available, so someone of the average size really can fit into a larger child’s size.

Style is defined as characteristics combined and expressed in a particular, consistent manner, but it is really so much more than that. By having your own unique, original style, you are given confidence, which is one thing you might not learn through a course here at the university.

With these few tips and insight on the upcoming fashion trends this season, I hope you find some fun pieces that reflect yourself and give you that extra spring in your step.

Happy shopping!