It's the little things that count this spring. The unusual buttons on an otherwise classic jacket. The high-heeled shoes with updated platform sole that transform last year's little suit with new height. The use of gingham, plaid or unexpected color to add an element of fun to basic shapes.

In these cautious times, great seasonal changes don't make sense. It's a rare company that can afford to take a chance on clever new styles consumers might not be ready to try this spring. And, of course, there are even fewer customers who're willing, or able, to part with any of their limited funds for experimental fashions.

But since change is the very essence of fashion, watch for details to give a fresh look to women's fashions this spring. Pin stripes, vests and neckties add a menswear twist that's usually tempered with something feminine, like a shapely jacket or a chiffon skirt. Western accents also add new interest, maybe a silver buckled belt, a pair of cowboy boots or a prairie skirt.

For night, lingerie satin and lace trimmings offer a dramatic departure from the classic cuts most prevalent for day.

Hem lengths continue to inch down, but very slowly. While designers showed skirts below the knee on the runway, very few retailers picked them up for spring. It's a style to watch for as the weather warms up, when long, airy skirts will start to appear.

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