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FASHION Spring promises to be wardrobe friendly



Published: Tue, February 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The season embraces some of the trends that made 2004 a memorable year in fashion.

HARTFORD COURANT

Fashion's pendulum has a mighty swing. One season the buzz is all about lace; the next it's all about leather. As soon as you acquired high-heeled sling backs in every color, you're told that the ballerina flat is in. You tossed all your frilly blouses for the menswear-tailored shirts, only to discover the poet blouse is back.

Been there? Done that? Everyone has.

So what makes spring 2005 a season of promise? For one, the pendulum isn't going to swing in a manner that will completely negate your recent wardrobe purchases. The new season actually embraces some of the trends that made 2004 a memorable year in fashion: bright colors, layering, embellishments, feminine skirts and feminine touches like flowery prints and sweet bows.

Touch of retro

"I think that spring 2004 was a skirt season and it continues for spring 2005. If spring 2004 was all about feminine and flirty with a touch of retro, spring 2005 is all about mixed combinations of the unexpected -- long with short, loose playing off of lean, sleek with ornamental," says Tom Jullian, fashion trend analyst for Fallon Worldwide. "There also seems to be more of a trouser story with fluidity and motion, kind of getting away from that hipster pant with low rise. I'd also acknowledge the bold plethora of color, citrus cool to nautical bright. I still see the pinks and salmons."

Stacy London of TLC's "What Not to Wear" predicts the continuation of layering sans bulk.

"It's going to be about great, easy layering and fuller proportions in skirts. There's a buzzword of 'bohemian luxe,' and we've been gearing up to that in the last few seasons," she says. "Embellishments and mixing of prints and textures will be big. Brighter colors, lighter fabrics. Layered with embellished layers."

London doesn't see as much tweed this spring as last, when fashion was enamored with the nubby fabric. "But there are tons of jackets. So many jackets. A jacket with everything. There's a change in the silhouette to the fuller skirt and there's a longer, baggier pant coming back."

This new year in fashion plans to have a lot of movement, shift gears so that by the end of 2005 the pendulum swings back again, predicts David Wolfe, fashion trend analyst for the Doneger Group.

All that jazz

"2005 will be a year that starts out with a crescendo, a big fashion bang. Color, print, pattern and embellishment will reach an explosive high. More gimmicks, details and whatever per square inch on garments and accessories," he says. "But by the all of 2005, consumers will probably have had enough, more than enough, of all that jazz and will be looking for something calmer and more elegant. I'm dubbing it 'Deluxe Minimalism' -- simpler styles, less trim, but always in beautiful colors and rich materials. Class will try to stage a comeback, but first we have to figure out a way to ignore Paris Hilton!"

OK, so ignoring Hilton's fashion flubs might be in the cards for 2005. If not, there's still a great deal to look forward to, London says.

"There are great alternatives for women. The designers themselves are realizing a need for versatility," she says. "They recognize that women want choice, they want options. I think there's a real understanding now between the designer and the customer about what women need."

If that's a pendulum swing, it's certainly a welcome one.




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