Spring is finally here in Baltimore, and local boutiques are filled to the brim with new clothing for this season. But when picking out new go-to pieces, it's easy to get lost in a sea of mint green, bold stripes and sequins. To get you started, we asked boutique owners about their top picks for spring — and the fashion dos and don'ts that everyone should know about.
Lisa Ponzoli, owner of Babe
1716 Aliceanna St., Fells Point
Favorite spring trends: "Sheer fabrics, easy bodies, florals, stripes, layering, skirts and the high-low hem are really strong."
Dos & don'ts: "There are still some girls out there who are shying away from the super-skinny-leg jean. Get with the program! It is more flattering (and more contemporary) than a basic bootleg jean, and it gives you way more options for tops and shoes."
Go-to item: "I am the denim jacket's biggest fan. It is perfect for the transitional seasons of spring and fall. Over a dress, it gives structure yet keeps you dressed weather-appropriate for chilly days and nights."
What's in the store: "We have picked up a few new lines we are really excited about: TBags Los Angeles, Tolani and Bardot are a few of our new favorites."
Priya Rayadurg, owner of Cloud 9 Clothing
1111 W. 36th St., Hampden
Additional stores in Canton, Towson and Rockville.
Favorite spring trends: "Color, color, color! From pale mint and rich royal blue to black and white graphic prints and bold stripes. Peek-a-boo cutouts in dresses and tops are a popular trend, as well as pantsuits and printed pants."
Dos & don'ts: "Do try at least one of the spring trends. Don't be afraid to try something different and new."
Go-to item: "A dress. From colorful solids to stripes and florals."
In the store: "We have brightly colored tops with peek-a-boo backs from Double Zero ($38) and a great peek-a-boo dress from BB Dakota ($92). We also have your spring staple dresses from Free People, Kersh, Angie and Double Zero ($55-$128)."
Lisa Schatz, owner of Cupcake
813 S. Broadway, Fells Point
Favorite spring trends: "Lots of color! Strong prints, high-low hems, cutouts and lace."
Go-to item: "The printed dress."
What's in the store: "We have a Parker silk and leather-trimmed maxi dress ($279) and an adorable Lavender Brown high-low tank top ($39)."
Lesley Jennings, co-owner of Doubledutch Boutique
3616 Falls Road, Hampden
Favorite spring trends: "Spring has always been synonymous with color, stripes and nautical themes. Doubledutch is guilty every season of overindulging in these, especially with stripes. But this year, a nice alternative to the horizontal is zig-zag and chevron stripes, as well as the vertical railroad. As for color, coral is still holding strong from last year but mint (or anything green really) is going to be strong — especially with accessories. Some other themes that we will carry are large floral and graphic prints on denim or chambray, as well as an animal image or two."
Dos & don'ts: "I've always encouraged our customers to wear what they feel comfortable in and what fits their personality. It truly doesn't matter what the fashion police think because whatever they say 'don't' for one season I guarantee will become a 'do' in a few years. A prime example — mixing patterns. For years, I've been told I can't wear that print with that print, and now that the big design houses are doing it, it's OK. As well as wearing leggings as pants — for years, that was a no-no, and now with all the graphic print leggings in season, these have become a must."
Go-to item: "Large graphic mod patterns and shift shapes of the '60s. Definitely patterns with large checks and polka dots, especially in black and white. You need something to balance out all those Cadbury egg colors!"
What's in the store: Zig-zag pattern dress by BB Dakota ($54.95), mint flats with bow on side by City Classified ($32.95) and large polka dot on chambray button-up by QSW ($62.95).
Marc Sklar and John Massey, co-owners of Gian Marco Menswear
517 N. Charles St., Mount Vernon
Favorite spring trends: "One of our go-to items is our travel blazer, an unlined hybrid jacket made in a cotton and nylon that repels rain. It is available in basic colors (ideal for every outfit), comes out of a suitcase unwrinkled (ideal for travel), features more pockets than a herd of kangaroos (ideal for security) and is made for us by Swiss Army-Victorinox. Our shirts, either Egyptian cottons or handkerchief linens, feature bold colors and sophisticated patterns. To the cognoscenti, they are always fashionable. In short, we are buying haute fashion (which lives forever) not style (which may have the life of a fruit fly)."
Dos & don'ts: "The main do is to wear clothing that fits the wearer. Although many styles from the 1930s are making a resurgence, clothing that fits like a barrel is not. Loose, baggy, amorphous and nonfitting clothing has a place, and the place is in the 'donate' section of the closet."
Go-to item: "The beauty of our merchandise is that it is timeless — every item can become the new staple. At Gian Marco, the question will not be what is the basic 'go-to' item; it will be 'It's all good; what must I leave without?' "
What's in the store: "This season, Swiss Army-Victorinox has created the above-mentioned travel blazer and several fantastic plaid shirts both long- and short-sleeved. Ross Graison's collection —- outstanding linen designs which must be seen to appreciate —- are also here. A new vendor out of Australia makes the tennis shoes for their Olympic team — we have had them design some great tennis shoes in bright and bold colors. ... Edward Armah's individual interpretation of reversible bow ties and pocket circles are flying off the shelf."
Jenna Hattenburg and Jessica Soulen, co-owners of Hunting Ground
3649 Falls Road, Hampden
Favorite spring trends: "We sell both new and vintage clothing, and we have noticed fashions leaning towards a '90s look. For ladies, floral dresses, bodysuits and crop tops will be popular. For the fellas, '80s surf style, heritage lines and a classic American look."
Dos & don'ts: "For both guys and gals: mixing vintage clothing with new items. Don't be afraid to layer. Sheer tops over bright bandeaux for the girls. Guys shouldn't be afraid to add a pop of color. Bright socks or shoelaces are an effortless way to do that."
Go-to item: "For ladies, an easy-to-wear cotton floral dress. For guys, a classic gingham or chambray button-up."
What's in the store: Mink Pink Red Sky floral dress ($74). Penfield Springdale Red Check button-up for men ($62).
Jade Greer, owner of K Staton Boutique
1007A W. 36th St., Hampden
Favorite spring trends: "When picking out spring items, I saw lots of mint green and black and white, which is different from the normal bright colors we usually see. Also, glasses that have a bit more personality. Big, colorful and bold! One trend that works really well for our girls is feminine A-line sleeveless dresses. They work on just about all body types and are perfect for Baltimore's hot weather."
Dos or don'ts: "I would say a 'don't' would be trying to wear something just because it's trendy. The best thing any woman can do is be true to herself. That means knowing your body and figuring out how to incorporate the trendier pieces ... A fashion 'do' would be have fun with color. Pastels are a must."
Go-to item: "One would be a long, flowy maxi dress —- they're always comfy and in style. Second is a great pair of leggings. Lastly, a fun, oversized, spring-colored handbag."
What's in the store: We have some amazing new handbags in awesome springtime colors by Urban Expressions ($70-$95)."
Toni James, owner of Katwalk Boutique
Katwalk, 1709 Aliceanna St., Fells Point
Favorite spring trends: "Oversized chunky statement jewelry, mainly bracelets, necklaces and rings. Embellished caftans worn for day and night, not just the beach. Sequined jeggings worn dressed up and down. Ethnic-inspired looks, large floral patterns and black and white bold stripes. Leather shorts in metallic gold and pastel colors. High-tech sporty wear such as windbreaker jackets, two-toned jackets in leather and micro-fabrics and oversized sweats."
Dos & don'ts: "Invest in a great wedge sandal that can be worn with your caftan during the day and evening — not too much bling on the wedge; you don't want to overpower the look. Never wear a three-piece stripe, floral and mixed pattern ensemble. It's fun to mix stripes and patterns, but always add a solid in between."
Go-to item: "A great jacket -— either a moto jacket or two-toned structured jacket."
What's in the store: Sequin jeggings by La Cite ($138), gold leather shorts by Clover Canyon ($238), windbreaker by Katwalk ($44) and tribal denim pants by One Teaspoon ($164).
Susannah Siger, owner of Ma Petite Shoe
832 W. 36th St., Hampden
Favorite spring trends: "More structure that's deconstructed for spring. For example, a Pikolinos lace-up oxford made of laser-cut leathers. Or a fall shoe done up in a springtime color like the Mary Janes from Italian design team MJUS that we had made in a 'whisper of lavender' [almost bone] color."
Dos & don'ts: "Do wear baby wedges, neon colors in moderation with black or neutrals, linen ankle boots and heavily burnished hardware and leathers. Big, big don'ts: flip-flops and broken-down canvas shoes that make me want to cry."
Go-to items: "Architectural, blocky-heeled sandals, minimalist flats and digital prints."
What's in the store: Florencia by Pikolinos ($155), Bambi by MJUS ($150), Allegra and Casi Casi by Camper ($140-$169) and Mary by Desigual ($130).
Ray Mitchener, owner of Ruth Shaw
5100 Falls Road, Village of Cross Keys.
Favorite spring trends: "Bold florals, brights and color blocking —- royal blue pants with a black and white bold blouse. Also, sheers -— a sheer panel on pants or a sheer tunic over a slinky dress."
Dos & don'ts: "Always the same one. Never, ever, ever wear stockings with open-toe shoes. And women of a certain age should give up on the holey jean look -— you know who you are. But my all-time biggest fashion don't: Stop wearing gym clothes all day long!"
Go-to item: "A great blazer over just about anything. And don't forget your summer scarves — very chic."
What's in the store: "Rag & Bone white Jefferson Blazer ($79). Textured and cool, adds a finished look to everything. J Brand Ready to Wear Marisa Dress in black ($495). Like having a slinky dress under a chiffon tunic ... very hip."
Rob Fetner, manager of South Moon Under
815 Aliceanna St., Harbor East.
410-685-7820; southmoonunder.com for more locations
Favorite spring trends: "I think that spring fashion this year has a lot of overlapping themes and trends. One of the major trends that I have noticed is a resurgence of all things '90s. Crop tops, slip dresses, graphic tees and tanks, and denim -— whether it be jackets, button-down shirts, baggy jeans or cut-off shorts — all are heavily rooted in this era. Fluorescent colors, bold prints and lightweight, sheer fabrics are all going to be seen frequently."
Dos & don'ts: "Don't go overboard. Find what trends you gravitate towards most and incorporate different aspects into your own wardrobe and lifestyle. This way, you don't break the bank and are still up-to-date with the latest fashions. Accessories are always the easiest way to incorporate trends without looking like you've tried too hard."
Go-to item: "I think having a pair of distressed [jeans]. ... The fit of the jeans is totally up to you — whether they're skinny or baggy, the amount of different ways to wear them is infinite."
What's in the store: "We have a great pair of lightly distressed jeans by Joe's Jeans ($165). We also have a great tie-dyed denim button-down by Blank NYC ($88)."
Sima Blue, owner of Trillium
2360 W. Joppa Road, Lutherville
Favorite spring trends: "It's all about color!"
Dos &don'ts: "Do make your accessories work for you with great jewelry, a colorful clutch. Don't overdo. One important piece says it all. ... Less is more!"
Go-to item: "Brightly colored jeans."
What's in the store: "Minnie Rose summer cashmere or cotton ruanas in fabulous colors. Plain, fringed or ruffled -— take your pick (cotton from $115; cashmere from $198)."