SPRING'S TOP TEN: A number of inspirations to perk up a wardrobe


Spring fashions are all about options and diversity and the rules are being broken.

This new laissez-faire attitude has sparked more excitement, more elegance and a color revolution. Nostalgia runs rampant.

Women's apparel draws its inspiration from the '60s with bold colors, flower power and Pucci prints. There's also a renewed focus on femininity, a la Jackie Kennedy's pared-down dresses and ladylike accessories. And with body-conscious silhouettes constructed from softer, more comfortable fabrics and more options than just micro-mini lengths, the '60s look is far more flattering the second time around.

To help you sort through the new crop of spring fashion, here's our list of the top fashion musts for spring.

WOMEN 1. A SIMPLE DRESS: Not only is a simple dress less expensive than a blazer/blouse/skirt trio, it's more versatile because it doesn't dictate any particular direction in accessories. Wear it one day with pearls and a couple days later with bright retro jewelry. Or, top it off with a jacket.

"Heavier women should invest in an A-line sheath. You don't have to be tall to wear a trapeze style (dress full from the bust out), but you must be fairly slim," says Shawny Burns, director of fashion for Bloomingdale's. "A trapeze has to be short in order to look right. Regarding color, Burns advocates white: "It's actually more versatile than black because it works with both pale and bright accessories."

2. SMALL STRUCTURED HANDBAG: Works well with today's sleeker apparel. The bad news: You can't carry much. The good news: You'll become more organized.

3. STRAPPY SHOES: Should be closed-toe, but heel height can vary. After seasons of pumps, it's a look that takes a little getting used to. But like the structured handbag, strappy footwear balances less fussy fashion.

4. PEARLS: First Lady Barbara Bush brought them back and they keep getting stronger and stronger. The news now is bigger beads and the infusion of color.

5. LEGGINGS: Team them with a T-shirt and tennis shoes for casual wear or dress them up with a blazer and a more sophisticated pair of shoes.

6. URBAN DENIM: High-profile designers like Donna Karan are churning out bustiers, dresses and blazers in denim. Besides being easy to care for, today's denim looks are more comfortable with the addition of Lycra.

7. ANYTHING FLORAL: From leggings to earrings, flowers pop up in pale, refined prints to bold patterns.

8. LONGER JACKET: Look for one that can go over a dress or stand alone.

9. PUCCI PRINTS: One of the most pronounced '60s themes. The look surfaces everywhere from casual footwear and leggings to serious scarves and handbags.

10. THE BOLD EYE: Another '60s influence. Get it through false lashes, bold eyeliner and strong brows rather than green or blue shadow. But be careful to balance makeup. If you're doing a very strong eye, tone down the lipstick.

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