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Jump Into Spring with these Easy Trends

On a particularly frigid day on the campus of Concord University, Concord Charlie saw his shadow in a hallowed tradition, predicting six more weeks of winter. He made his prediction on February 1, whereas the next day his nemesis, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow and forecasted an early spring. It's the first day of March, and I'm still wearing snow boots and a down parka. Yet the windows of local shops are decorated in bright happy colors, sundresses, and models smiling on billboards advertising spring break essentials. It seems a bit ridiculous to be shopping for spring clothes when the forecast is still calling for snow, but now is a good time to jump into the trends for the season so when the sunshine and rainbows come out, you're prepared.

Both stripes and graphic prints were heavily featured on the Spring 2013 runway. I'm totally in love with Tory Burch cardigans but since I can't afford (or fathom) paying close to $600 for a sweater, this Old Navy cardigan is a fantastic alternative (and is also available in plus size). I added a red tie-neck blouse and a full skirt for a fun look. This outfit is very simple yet it looks like a lot of planning went into the outfit. I chose simple accessories staying with the red and navy blue color scheme because the sweater does have a lot going on. For an activity such as downtown Charleston's ArtWalk on March 21, 2013, it may still be nippy and probably soggy, hence the tights and rainboots. Or it may be 80 degrees, which would call for a great pair of red wedge sandals and a simple navy crossbody bag. If you're not crazy about the skirt, you can always add a pair of jeans and keep the look of the outfit.

Another hot trend is bright colors. They're not quite neons (even though that's still popular) but these colors are vivid and highly saturated. For a great work look, I chose a simple tan shift with this drool-worthy bright orange blazer. Sadly, it's Alexander McQueen and tops out around $3K, but I'm hoping and praying and maybe selling my soul for something similar at a much lower price point. I found these awesome orange pumps with a blue paisley bow on the back and chose accessories from there. The cobalt blue might seem overwhelming with the orange, but keeping jewelry and bags simple will help. I also found a pair of hot pink strappy sandals with ankle straps which is the on-point trend for shoes. With the neckline on both the blazer and dress, a standout necklace is almost called for. Since the bright pink doesn't contrast as much as the blue you can go more daring on the accessories. If this much color seems a bit too much for your office, keep your accessories minimal and one color.

The biggest trend I've seen on the catwalk for not only Spring but the rest of the year is black and white. This outfit not only incorporates this basic color scheme, but also leather (real or faux) which was also all over the runway. The white sweater features a faux leather collar with pearl button details which add a bit of a whimsical touch. On the left, I chose a more glamorous look inspired by jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane. The leopard on the clutch and the simple yet elegant earrings give this look a lot of oomph. I own these kitten heels from Brooks Brothers and other than my wish for more traction, they are extremely comfortable. If you want a more playful look for Happy Hour, I added a striped clutch with matching striped shoes. The round jewelry from American Apparel adds to the graphic look of the outfit. This would be a great day-to-night outfit. To really take this trend by the reins, keep everything black and white. More or less, we've been programmed to add a pop of color to such a stark palette but I think keeping everything black or white is what really makes this trendy. Other than a bold lip, I'd keep makeup minimal and nails nude.

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