BY HARRIETT HENDREN
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Spring is a season of liberation when it comes to fashion. Time to escape those woolen layers we've been wearing for months and start looking for something a bit more simple and carefree.
This year, black and white are back in a big way, and the hot color is a fresh grassy green that brings to mind a rolling field in April.
Not just for women, these colors show up in men's clothing as well, including fresh white pants. There's nothing stiff about these slacks; instead, you'll find easy relaxed jeans in soft cool fabrics that are fit for warm spring and summer days.
Western wear for men is back, to a degree. This time it's not the flashy Urban Cowboy version, but a no-fuss look that can be seen in a simple white shirt with snap buttons and a fine fabric.
Designs for women are decidedly feminine - everything from A-line and tiered skirts to dresses and strappy sandals.
Julie Miller, owner of AJ's Casuals, a boutique in Lexington, Ky., says whether it's for the Kentucky Derby or an evening out with friends, women are looking for something that's feminine and uncomplicated, staying away from fussy suits.
"I love dresses and we just sell a lot," she said. "Across the board to all ages." And, she adds, "Skirts are still big."
A white cotton Diane von Furstenburg dress she pulls from a rack, beautifully simple with an empire waist and a full flowing skirt, seems made for sultry summer days to come.
Shorts are a sure thing, says Leslie Beatty, of Ilo, another Lexington shop. "There are shorts everywhere; long shorts, short shorts. And the shorts are even going into the fall."
And there'll be no skipping pedicures this summer, the strappy wedge is huge. You'll see them worn with everything from the season's bright skirts to long city shorts.
Metallics are showing up in purses and shoes. Want to update your look with one special piece? You might want to invest in a pair of gold or silver sandals, one of Beatty's picks for the season's must-haves.
"If you don't have gold or silver strappy sandals," she said, "you should not leave your house."