Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Outfits That Bloom in the Spring

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I've seen several signs of spring here in Maine this past week. Two motorcyclists last Saturday. Snowdrops are up in my neighbor's yard, and crocuses are pushing through in mine. We're hearing birds singing in the still-bare trees. And this morning, The Boy came downstairs dressed for school in a pink button down and khakis, accented by a green tie-silk belt and pink socks. 

Yes, my son is, in fact, Fred Astaire.

Spencer is always well-dressed, but very season-specific, so I knew when I saw him decked out like a model in the latest issue of the Brooks Brothers catalog, that Spring had well and truly arrived.

When I was a little girl, my sister and I always got new outfits for Easter. None of that mounds of tulle and poly lace stuff, either - my mother decked us in shift dresses with matching coats, or pink tweed suits. In pictures, we look like miniature Kate Middletons (without the glorious hair.) I don't go shopping for a new ensemble to wear during Holy Week anymore, but the urge to trade in the heavy, dark clothing of winter for something fresh and bright is irresistible. 

Of course, every year we're presented with "this year's hot spring looks!" I looked at various magazines' compilations of the top ten and, upon reflecting that I am not an anorexic sixteen-year-old, went with Spring Runway Trends Women over 50 Can Wear. (Why is this on That's what my parents use! Does this mean that as we age we will inevitably revert to broadband and drive Buicks?)


Some of the trends they mention are:
1. Bright monochromatic outfits
2. Leather skirts, pants and dresses
3. Bermuda shorts
4. Black-and-white graphics
5. "Statement" sunglasses
6. Stripes
7. Kitten heels (yes!!!)
8. Bright blues
9. Wide-legged pants, and
10. Beehive hair!

I'm not sure if these count as actual trends, or if they're more "stuff we have in the back of the closet from when we were teenagers." Sadly, my favorite spring looks, navy and lime green, navy and tan, and navy and white, do not appear on the list.

How about you, Reds? What do you change into for spring? Will you be picking up any of the 2013 trends? Will we see Hallie in her beehive 'do again?

 HALLIE EPHRON: Heaven forbid! Next you'll be telling me that "flesh"-colored lipstick and Cleopatra eyeliner are back, too.

Spring means time to check the lawnmower and stock up on shaving supplies. I look forward to going sleeveless and tightless and Ugg-less.

Our crocuses are up, too - but why are all of them in the driveway and behind the garage? I'm quite sure I didn't put them there.

RHYS BOWEN: When I was in Macy's right before Easter I was struck by the number of parents and grandparents buying cute Easter outfits for little girls, and I wondered how many of them would actually be wearing them to church.
My mother always bought herself a new Easter hat to compete with the other ladies at church. I don't remember getting anything new. 

Seriously lacking in the clothes department as I wore uniform for most of the year. (I have made up for that recently). I did buy myself a new Chico's cardigan and wore it for Easter and in spite of your trends, Julia, I'm delighted to see that this year the stores are full of MY colors--turquoise, teal, lime green. I'm in heaven.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Whoo hoo. Love this update! I'd wear a beehive, any day. How funny! But I won't, of course. Black and white, who'da thought? Kitten heels, check. And I even bought lime green suede Manolos. To wear with the black and white, of course. Spring though...situation. I better go start lifitng weights, since now my arms are gonna show. Eeesh.

JULIA: How about you, dear readers? Are you planning to update your wardrobe? What outfit says "Spring" to you? And isn't my son cute?

"HelLOO, Ladies..."


  1. Yes, your son is definitely cute! Love the pink shirt . . . .

    No wardrobe updating plans here . . . being pretty much set in my ways, I have a tendency to wear the same sort of things all the time . . . and I’ll be skipping all of those things mentioned in that “trending” list. Generally, my biggest “change” from winter is lighter weight fabrics and a not-so-heavy coat. This year, however, it’s still cold enough that I haven’t yet packed away the heavy coat, but the daffodils are beginning to bob their golden heads in the garden, so it must be spring . . . .

  2. Your son is adorable. No new clothes for me, although I do love those wonderful jewel colors. Maybe a new tank for the one day of summer we have in New England. Dee

  3. Yes, he has quite the flair. I love the pink socks!

    I want some new spring clothes and need some. It's so hard, however, to find clothes in styles that I think look good on me and are appropriate for the older, and as you say, non-anorexic woman. But hey, if turquoise is in, I'd better get shopping. I just wish I had a personal shopper who understood my tastes and body type and budget!

  4. The last thing is new is more stuff so I won't be doing any shopping to catch up on the Spring Trends.I do seem to own half a dozen lime green items so they may see some action in the coming months. And i have a white handbag that - every year - I forget to use.
    Sandals will be nice, wedgies. But there are maybe two people on th planet who really look good in Bermuda shorts and wide-legged pants. Gisele Bundchen is one of them. I am not the other.

  5. I hate, hate, hate shopping for clothes. I'll stick with what I've got until it falls apart and Good Will refuses to accept it as donations. So, no, I am not buying new clothing for spring. The stuff I bought in the last decade, or even the last century, will have to do.

    And except for a few crocuses, I think spring forgot to come to my town.

  6. The Bermuda shorts thing for women over 50 kind of threw me, too. First, you have to be tall and slim to carry it off. So...Hank. But then, can you imagine Hank wearing Bermuda shorts? To work?

    I figure if you can't, then they have no place in a 50+ woman's wardrobe.

  7. You make me remember being a little girl in Burlington, N.C. where every female in town had to have a new navy blue coat and a huge straw hat to go to church in on Easter morning! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

  8. What a handsome, fashionable young man!

    As a youngster, spring always meant you could now wear white shoes. Our new Easter clothes were recycled from the equivalent of Goodwill, but I was too young to care. One of my oldest sister's favorite photos (mine, too) is one of me in my Easter dress, sitting in the puddle where the outside faucet dripped, making mud art. I'm told my sisters and brother were in the doghouse forever because they weren't watching me while Mom was getting ready for church. So maybe my spring colors should be brown, reddish brown, etc.

  9. I like clothes, but they don't like me. Size and fit are always an issue, so shopping is torture. Instead, I'm celebrating spring on my fingernails. Light, bright colors and springy patterns like flowers and concentric circles of tiny dots... yes, I'm one of THOSE people. I express my creativity in nail polish.

  10. And yes, your son is adorable. I love the color palette and may have to borrow it for my next nail polish creation - or quilt.

  11. Spencer is adorable! Maybe you could send him around the country as a personal shopper for the rest of us...

    Turquoise and lime green?? Yay! But after three weeks in the frozen tundra otherwise known as the UK, I haven't contemplated anything more spring-like than the possibility of painting my toenails pink.

    The big things on my list are some new comfy sandals, and some (ditto) comfy cargo shorts. I like my shorts to have pockets, and I want them to be stretchy enough that I can sit at the computer in them all day, because that is what I'm going to be doing!

  12. SHorts? NEVER. I mean--never ever ever ever. In any way.

    (I did wear hot pants, lavender linen, to a wedding onece. It was a lavender linen hot pants SUIT. SO sorry there's no photo--I think. But it was *1972*!)

    Two summers ago, I put my bermuda shorts someplace, and I haven't been able to find them since. ANd I do NOT miss them

  13. I'm with Hank. No shorts - not now, not ever. Black and white? Stripes? Denim jackets? Bright colors? Kitten heels? All of these items are already in my wardrobe marked 'eternal'. But they forgot slim white jeans, pencil cut denim skirts, and a nice Lilly Pulitzer sheath!

    Wide leg pants? That makes me think of Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story, so I will file that under wait and see.

  14. So funny, lavender hot pants to a wedding! I do love Bermuda shorts though--and wide-legged pants too! maybe I didn't realize just how out of style I am!

  15. Julia, Spencer is quite the fashion maven. Bet he's a trendsetter at his school!

    I'm so happy to see the trend for lower-heeled shoes this year. Ballet flats are also very popular, and widely available in a millions colors and styles. Yay! After 34 years with a man my same height I have lost the knack of wearing heels, anyway.

    Love the stripes, love the new, brighter colors like peacock blue, my new favorite color. Although I'm sure that by the time September rolls around I'll be more than ready for my collection of wool and cashmere turtlenecks!

  16. I agree with Karen - this post has been an eyeopener, Miss Julia.

    I LOVE wide legged pants. Can I just drag out the ones I haven't worn in about five years? Or are we talking wide in a new and different way? And I DO wear (Bermuda) shorts.

    I wouldn't mind a Kate Hepburn crisp white collared shirt, either. Timeless.

  17. So happy to see there are some kindred souls here who are worn out shopping for spring wardrobe refreshment. Usually I make do with 'whatever' from previous years/decades, but, OMG, I'm off on a rather posh cruise later and have had to face reality about my clothing stock. After many hours on my creaky old legs, I've made the sad discovery that "mature" women of less-than-perfect structure face a rude awakening when they try on this year's trendy clothes...even if they closely resemble what they wore in their teens and 20s.

  18. Oh, and aren't all of us ladies of, er, a certain age, really glad to see higher waistbands again? I'm so tired of trying to keep my trousers up over my hips. Not to mention the muffin tops from the hip-skimming, low-riding pants of the last 10-12 years.

  19. Your son is very handsome, Julia!

    I always buy myself something pretty and springy for Valentine's Day as a wardrobe pick me up. This year it was a pink linen blend scarf from J. Crew I've been wearing almost constantly, tied different ways, as a shawl. Shortly followed by two cardigans, one pale pink, the other deep pink (well they were on sale...:-). I love kitten heels and black and white prints are great.

  20. Spencer is adorable. The look is timeless. Button down and chinos make it so. The badge of pink and green say it loud... Nantucket reds, not far away.

    I have my Kiel James Patrick silk rep bracelets. What else do I need except to put in my order for smaller (yay) Nantucket reds this year.

  21. Spencer is a cutie !

    I'd have to lose about 1,000. pounds to wear what those models have on, wish they'd use "real" people for models

    I bought some new leggings and T-shirts :) cheap and comfy

    Until I Lose the weight I put back on past year (stress eating) I won't buy any "good" clothes

  22. Thank you! Someone who gets it. We have 3 little girls, and it drives me nuts that so much clothing that is sold is so inappropriate. Girls grow up fast enough as it is. Can't we just let them stay young? We found a site that sells beautiful, AGE APPROPRIATE clothing for girls. Here's the link, if anyone is interested.