Now is the time to cast off the winter blues – literally! Shed those dark azure shades you've been wearing during the cold months and while you're at it, banish blacks and browns from your spring 2012 wardrobe as well. This season, fashion's top designers have decreed that we all need a burst of the happiest colors on the spectrum to lighten our spirits and make ourselves more attractive to others.
At the top of the list is the Pantone Color Institute's pick of the year: tangerine tango, a vibrant and juicy orange that sends a message of vitality laced with sophistication. "Consumers look to spring for renewed energy, optimism and the promise of a brighter day," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the institute, was quoted as saying on the company's web site. Designers featured in the Pantone Fashion Color Report as being among those who favored orange in their collections for Fashion Week included Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittadini.
Close behind the sunny orange shades on the season's palette are regal purples, rosy pinks, sea blue-greens, and plenty of yellow. Prints are predominant, too, especially florals. Here's our take on how to wear these style statements du jour with just the right Boomer-esque flair:
Pick Face-Flattering Accessories
There's no need to go head-to-toe with brilliant color. Instead, start with pants or a dress in a rich neutral like the shade Pantone has dubbed "Driftwood," a blend of beige and gray. Or look for "Starfish," a warm option that portends the summer to come. Both of these choices complement any color, so you can go ahead and add a pretty-in-pink scarf or jewelry that sparkles with refreshing ocean tones or a cheery yellow silk jacket. You'll be capitalizing on the mood-boosting benefits of bright hues as well as the way they reflect light to make your face look fresher – but you won't be overdoing it!
Don't Go Matchy-Matchy
An orange bag, orange shoes, and an orange scarf cancel one another out. Instead, get creative with color mixing -- and while you're at it, don't be afraid of clashes. Pink and orange can look wonderful together! Again, though, just a scarf in one color and a bag in another is all you need.
Use Flower Prints Sparingly
Let's be frank about this. As a Boomer of a certain age, you're setting yourself up as a punch line if you wear floral print dresses reminiscent of your grandmother's closet. Instead, consider a flattering trumpet skirt in a flowery fabric paired with a solid color blouse. As for floral print pants, wear them if your figure isn't overly generous. Otherwise, stick with your jeans and a flowery blouse or duster.
Take Advantage of the Magic of Color Blocks
We've touted this trend before, right after Kate Winslet caused a sensation at the Venice Film Festival in a Stella McCartney dress that seemed to slim the actress by at least ten pounds. We're delighted that color block frocks are still in vogue, and you will be as well if you try on some of them. You'll not only get an energetic jolt of color but you'll also be amazed at the trompe l'oeil effect that whittles waists while emphasizing feminine curves in just the right way.