Step into spring with refreshing fuss-free fashion

The winter has dragged on for long enough — it’s high time for a change in season. This year’s fashion is fuss-free, a refreshing palate cleanser after months of excess, writes Carolyn Moore.

This year I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I bought a winter coat… in February. I tend to shop with longevity in mind; wearability has become more important to me over the years than checking off a hit list of trends, and as the interminable winter dragged on and on, it was apparent that the coat I was set on getting one more season out of just wasn’t going to stay the course.

So when a beautiful kimono sleeved coat landed in COS in the new year, I thought of the months of cold weather that reportedly lay ahead and made an investment for winters to come. Sure, it came at the expense of buying into some of the more lust-worthy spring trends that were also dropping in store, but where was I going to wear a lilac trouser suit or a floaty handkerchief hem in March? Trudging down to the local shop in the snow to buy briquettes?

Nail two trends in one with a surprisingly versatile satin slip in the colour of the season — lilac. Dress itup or layer it over a tee and team with trainers. €125, stories.com
Nail two trends in one with a surprisingly versatile satin slip in the colour of the season — lilac. Dress itup or layer it over a tee and team with trainers. €125, stories.com

And so now we find ourselves well into April, and finally ready to start updating our wardrobes for a season that’s almost over before it’s begun — how does the savvy shopper step into spring? The answer is, by sidestepping the fads and buying into the spring classics that will instantly update your look, carry you into summer in style, and refuse to look dated when you turn to them again next year.

Trying Crayola brights on for size? Keep it sophisticated with feminine flourishes for a look that’s more style star, less Bosco presenter. Top by Tara Jarmon, €189, Bluefig, Ballincollig. Step Into Spring
Trying Crayola brights on for size? Keep it sophisticated with feminine flourishes for a look that’s more style star, less Bosco presenter. Top by Tara Jarmon, €189, Bluefig, Ballincollig. Step Into Spring

One benefit to buying late in the season is that, at this stage, the solid trends have identified themselves. It would have been easy to dismiss the Chanel-inspired plastic mac as one of spring’s sillier offerings, but now — as one wet day spills into another —they’re starting to look like the season’s must-have, if for no other reason than they allow us to showcase our other spring buys underneath. (The Vogue-endorsed, keeping-you-dry-in-style part is just a bonus.)

Plastic fantastic — the practical hit of the season is undoubtedly the humble raincoat, with ‘Vogue’ declaring it the new leather jacket. Transparent PU parka, €79.95, mango.com.
Plastic fantastic — the practical hit of the season is undoubtedly the humble raincoat, with ‘Vogue’ declaring it the new leather jacket. Transparent PU parka, €79.95, mango.com.

Likewise, keeping in mind that Ireland’s summer would be what many other countries consider spring, the season’s other stellar buys have an outerwear slant. The enduring appeal of the trench speaks for itself — show me a woman who regrets adding a trench coat to her wardrobe and I’ll show you a liar — and even radically reworked, they have longevity built in. As evidenced by River Island’s cropped version (below), the key signifiers of the trench coat — the colour, the storm flaps, the straps, the buttons — never fail to register as timeless, so if you have yet to add one to your outerwear arsenal, now is the time for action.

Meanwhile, the return of the pastel power suit solidifies its status as an investment buy.

The pastel power suit is going nowhere, so this is a sound investment. Tailored jacket by Filippa K, €435, Olori, Cork. (Matching trousers €250.)
The pastel power suit is going nowhere, so this is a sound investment. Tailored jacket by Filippa K, €435, Olori, Cork. (Matching trousers €250.)

Alone, the pastel tailored jacket makes a perfect summer cover-up, be it casually paired with jeans or worn with a dress at a wedding, and teamed with a well-cut T-shirt, the oversized suit is the update your working wardrobe has been waiting for.

Go tone on tone with your power pastels, or mix it up with off kilter colour combos. Nothing will freshen up your spring look like a wash of mint. Skirt, €79, stories.com.
Go tone on tone with your power pastels, or mix it up with off kilter colour combos. Nothing will freshen up your spring look like a wash of mint. Skirt, €79, stories.com.

The denim jacket too offers endless versatility; pair it with athleisure for a Brit Pop feel; wear with a tea dress to channel a grungier vibe; or do double denim, ‘90s style, keeping it fitted on top and baggy below. The right shape in dark denim will absolutely be a keeper.

2018 sees the return of dark denim. Nail your proportions for ‘90s style that’s on point, with fitted shapes on top and volume below. Kevyn jacket by Part Two, €129.95, Itso Me, Douglas.
2018 sees the return of dark denim. Nail your proportions for ‘90s style that’s on point, with fitted shapes on top and volume below. Kevyn jacket by Part Two, €129.95, Itso Me, Douglas.

And that’s really the key to buying well this season: it’s all about the cut. While the trench and jeans combination is instantly identifiable as a classic, it’s the updated proportions that keep the look fresh from season to season — nail that and all you have to do is augment your investment buys with a few frivolous finds. In this department —with fantastic florals, whimsical slip dresses and kitschy accessories — spring 2018 does not come up short.

Florals for spring? Groundbreaking. But for 2018 they’ve been given a retro twist, so step back in time and get your groove on, sixties style. Dress by V by Very, €52, littlewoodsireland.ie.
Florals for spring? Groundbreaking. But for 2018 they’ve been given a retro twist, so step back in time and get your groove on, sixties style. Dress by V by Very, €52, littlewoodsireland.ie.

Typically, spring fashion is all about fuss-free dressing; a palate cleanser after a season of excess, comprised of pared-back staples — the light knits, khakis and cotton shirting that make you side eye the sale rails heaving with sequins and wonder how you ever fell for their superficial charms. But this year (a sign of the times), designers felt compelled to inject some fun into our spring wardrobes.

The skinny ribbed knit is back, in cropped and full-length options! Bring the ‘90s classic bang up to date with this Sportmax midi dress with midriff cut outs, €780, Brown Thomas.
The skinny ribbed knit is back, in cropped and full-length options! Bring the ‘90s classic bang up to date with this Sportmax midi dress with midriff cut outs, €780, Brown Thomas.

Whether that meant reworking the classics with little design twists or adding sprinklings of sequins to everyday pieces, the end result is a season of feel-good fashion to lift the spirits. A kaleidoscope of colour options, from pastels to primaries, means everyone can find a colour (or three) to get behind, and though they’ve been reimagined with new proportions, the proliferation of perennial spring favourites means no one has to step outside their comfort zone to step into spring this year.

If pastels aren’t your thing, primary pops should hit the spot. Layer ‘em up for fearlessly fashionable style, or play them down with simple, subdued separates. Trousers, €29.95, Zara.
If pastels aren’t your thing, primary pops should hit the spot. Layer ‘em up for fearlessly fashionable style, or play them down with simple, subdued separates. Trousers, €29.95, Zara.

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