Beauty in simplicity

Spring is my favorite time of year for fashion. As much as I love my winter clothes, there is something so refreshing about exchanging my heavy sweaters and boots for light, airy fabrics and strappy sandals. Plus, the colors evoke such a sense of happiness. I love seeing the boutique windows adorned with all of the new spring colors.

Every year, the Pantone Color Institute releases a spring fashion color report. The report is compiled based on the major color themes used by designers at New York Fashion Week. This year, all of the colors are reminiscent of the hues seen in nature and are meant to represent our desire for ease and relaxation. 

Out of these colors, one is chosen as the color of the year. Previous colors have included a rich emerald, earthy wine red, and orchid purple. 2016 was the first time two shades made the list, with a warm rose tone and cool blue blending together to create a beautiful balance of color.

The 2017 color of the year is called “Greenery,” and it is exactly what its name indicates – a tangy yellowish green hue found in spring leaves and grass. The refreshing shade is synonymous with the environment and the new beginnings that come with the first greens of spring. The color of the year is also chosen based on the current culture, so this hue also reflects the desire to “go green” and reconnect with nature. Greenery was the prominent color on the runways of designers Michael Kors, Trina Turk and Gucci.

While it is not the official color of the year, the most prevalent color found on the runway this year was “Niagara,” a soft, denim-like blue inspired by the waters of Niagara Falls. Designers Carolina Herrera and Zac Posen featured this color heavily in their collections.

The rest of the report features some bold intense colors mixed with soft pastels – Primrose Yellow is a warm, sunny yellow; Lapis Blue is a dark, vibrant blue; Flame is a bold, fiery orange; Island Paradise is a cool blue-green; Pale Dogwood is a soft, feminine pink taken from the dogwood flower; Pink Yarrow is a lively magenta; Kale is a dark, lush green perfectly fitting its name; and Hazelnut is a neutral, earthy tan that will pair seamlessly with any of the other colors on the list.

These spring hues are meant to evoke a sense of simplicity, which is also reflected in the style of the clothes I have seen this season. If you are into the basics, this spring will be right up your fashion alley.

The major theme I have noticed this spring is the evolution of the T-shirt. Designers have taken the most basic piece of clothing and brought it to an entirely new and stylish level. I have always been an advocate of the jeans and T-shirt look, but I also recommend adding accessories or layers to take the outfit from sloppy to sophisticated. This spring, you don’t need any extras to embrace the T-shirt trend and stay fashionable at the same time. The T-shirt has been elevated to be able to stand on its own. Which new style you choose is up to you. Here are a few of my favorites...

The strappy T-shirt: Imagine a plain round or v-neck T-shirt. Now take thin straps and criss-cross them across the chest. Done. Why someone didn’t come up with this years ago is beyond me. It is such a simple detail, but it makes such a cute statement. This is hands down my new go-to top for the spring. My suggestion? Skip the necklace and let the neckline of the shirt speak for itself. Pair it with skinny jeans and some cute sandals and you are ready to go.

The cold shoulder T-shirt: Imagine that same plain T-shirt again. This time, cut out the shoulders. Again, why did this take us so long? The cold shoulder top is the perfect amount of skin for a subtly sexy look – it shows skin, but not enough to be inappropriate for the workplace or a daytime outing with friends. I wear mine with long, layered necklaces in complementary colors to add some sparkle.

The distressed T-shirt: You know where I’m going with this, right? Picture that T-shirt again. This time, take a knife to it in random places, poke holes in it, or rip the neckline. Basically, do anything to it that makes it look like you’ve had it for 50 years, and you have a distressed tee. In my opinion, this one is a little harder to pull off and still look put-together. The shirt will give you an instant edge, so don’t overdo it with the rest of your outfit. Since your top half is ripped to shreds, you want to keep the rest of your look polished – jeans, simple heels or sandals, and a blazer or kimono to throw over your T-shirt to add a dressier element. Stay away from distressed jeans with this look. Too many holes in your clothes give the impression of sloppiness... or a moth problem.

The graphic T-shirt: Graphic tees are any T-shirt with logos, slogans, bands or any printed design on them. My favorite graphic T-shirt I’ve seen this spring is a simple white tee with the words “Not Today, Satan” emblazoned across the front. That is my go-to phrase when I get frustrated. I almost bought it directly off of the model. Graphic tees are cute and can be dressed up or down. Just be sure your shirt is appropriate for the occasion. For instance, one of my friends recently went on vacation with her husband. He surprised her with a renewal of their wedding vows. Since she wasn’t expecting it, she was wearing a “Wine, Dine, Repeat” T-shirt. I laughed... a lot. While that situation was just funny, don’t get caught in one that is truly inappropriate. That shirt declaring your love of champagne might be cute for brunch with the girls, but probably shouldn’t make an appearance at the workplace.

Also, please make sure your graphic tees are age appropriate. There is something oddly disturbing about a grown woman (or man) wearing a giant cartoon character across their chest. Leave Mickey and Minnie to the kids.

The basic T-shirt: This one will never go out of style. I am wearing my v-neck maroon T-shirt as I type this. Solid colored round or v-neck tees should be a staple in every wardrobe. They are perfect to throw on for a day of running errands, going to class or chasing kids around. They can also be dressed up for the office or a night out by simply adding a colorful scarf, bold statement necklace, or a structured blazer.

So, there you have it. We’re going back to basics, and I couldn’t be happier. No matter which T-shirt trend you choose to try this spring, you know you’ll always be comfortable. And that’s really all that matters.

Emily Hall is the Fashion Editor for Signature Magazine. When she is not researching color trends, you can find her hanging out with her four-year-old, who says his favorite colors are red, green, blue, orange, brown, black and maroon.