We have to disagree with Coco Chanel, who said to always remove one accessory before leaving the house. With bangles and bracelets that look this chic stacked altogether, our motto is to add at least one more.
Get it now: Baublebar ‘Fluoro’ bracelet duo, $38; Baublebar studded black braid bracelet, $32; Baublebar ‘Candy Striper’ bangle, $26, all at baublebar.com
This literal take on animal prints appeared on the runways of Carolina Herrera and Marc Jacobs, and offers a fresh alternative to standard spots and florals. (Side note: Doesn’t this cardinal print frock look like it came right out of Zooey Deschanel’s quirky closet?) Styling tip: If you’re hesitant about the side cutouts, wear a contrasting tank underneath for coverage -- and a cool flash of color.
Get it now: Material Girl bird print dress, $25.99 at macys.com
c: color blocking
Whether you choose a palette of pale, subtle tones or a rainbow of vibrant, saturated hues, the trend to try this spring is color blocking. We plan to pair this accordion-pleated dress from Dana Buchman with nude pumps or sandals to maintain a long leg line and counterbalance the horizontal bands.
Get it now: Dana Buchman colorblock dress, $46.20 at kohls.com
Get spotted in an updated version of the classic polka dot print. The painterly, oval-shaped dots on Old Navy’s sleeveless chiffon blouse have a grown-up, not-too-girlie feel -- and offer a fun take on work wear when topped with a neutral blazer.
Get it now: Old Navy printed chiffon top, $24.94 at oldnavy.com
Think of these pumps as espadrilles, upgraded. They feature the traditional tried-and-true rope detailing, but done up in a sexier, work-appropriate silhouette. Plus, the thicker heel and platform offer the same comfort as the wedge variety. Tip: Feeling especially carefree? Order ‘em in cream instead of black!
Get it now: ‘Carly’ canvas pumps, $228 at anntaylor.com
Rather than the usual floral sundress, make this spring’s floral purchase an unexpected piece, like Pim + Larkin’s Liberty-inspired blazer. Brave fashionistas can sport the jacket with vividly hued denim (yellow, red or periwinkle work best), but it’s just as pretty with neutral pants or jeans.
Get it now: Pim + Larkin floral blazer, $79 at piperlime.com
g: geometric prints
Designers are taking us back to geometry 101 with patterns that highlight strong shapes and angular lines. Marni’s collection for H&M gets top grades, showcasing the Italian brand’s playful aesthetic and preference for bold prints. Keep jewelry to a minimum when wearing this Twister-esque silk dress, so you don’t give admirers a dizzy spell.
Get it now: Marni for H&M silk dress, $79.97 at H&M stores
h: hot denim
Stop traffic with the season’s must-have item -- colorful denim. From high-end shops to affordable retailers, you can snag the look at every price point. Work the trend with a simple white or black tee on top to let your legs stand out in shades of brilliant blue, flaming red or intense yellow.
Get it now: Rock & Republic ‘Hamburg' skinny crop jeans, $60 at kohls.com
This swingy, strapless number makes us want to book a flight to sunny South America ASAP -- or at least download “The Girl from Ipanema.” With a fiery tropical motif and flirty shape, it’s the perfect item to add to your suitcase, and reflects the island vibe that popped up on the runways. The only accessory necessary: an ice-cold pina colada.
Get it now: H&M Dress, 17.95 at H&M stores
Thanks to this year’s Summer Olympics frenzy, you can expect to see lots of athletic-inspired gear that goes way beyond the typical team jersey. Graphic, masculine touches (think bold stripes and opposing colors) are contrasted with feminine details, like the shimmery fabric of this Varsity-style jacket.
Get it now: H&M Jacket, $69.95; Bra Top, $29.95; Trousers, $59.95 at H&M stores
k: killer heels
Strut your stuff in a pair of majorly sexy, sky-high heels, like the ankle-strapped gals did on Alexander Wang’s catwalk. To copy their too-cool style for a fraction of the cost, we recommend these suede-and-metallic stilettos from Sole Society.
Get it now: ‘Portia’ heels, $49.95 at solesociety.com
Soft, delicate pieces with lace details and overlays, such as those seen at the Valentino show, offer a nice break from spring’s more in-your-face trends. Robert Rodriguez’s graceful shift gets it just right, providing conservative coverage without being boring or matronly.
Get it now: Robert Rodriguez lace shift dress, $395 at amazon.com
Make your bangles jealous and add a hint of sparkle to your LBD with another high-karat accessory: BCBGeneration’s rose gold clutch. The statement-making handbag has a sleek foldover style, and enough room for all your going-out goodies.
Get it now: BCBGeneration ‘Tate’ clutch, $88 at zappos.com
There’s no doubt about it: Neons are shining bright this season. But if you’re not ready to be in the glow from head to toe, turn up the wattage with a punch of shocking pink, courtesy of Ann Taylor’s glossy skinny belt. (It looks especially glamorous cinched over black capris and pencil skirts.)
Get it now: Ann Taylor neon belt, $30 at anntaylor.com
Water-inspired imagery and seashell accents, along with cool shades of seafoam green and ice blue, were popular themes at the Chanel show. If you’re ready to trade in your land-lubbing ways, set sail in this map-print halter dress by designer Eva Franco. It’s romantic enough to make any sailor drop anchor and ask for directions.
Get it now: Eva Franco ‘A La Cartography’ dress, $394.99 at modcloth.com
Have fun with sleepwear-ish prints, loose-fitting silhouettes and silky fabrics, all of which these cropped trousers from Robert Rodriguez incorporate beautifully. Disclaimer: This does not mean that “pajamas jeans” are acceptable attire or that anyone should leave the house in flannel jammie bottoms.
Styling tip: To keep your outfit from turning into a disheveled nightmare, pair sleepwear-style pants with a fitted blouse or button-down.
Get it now: Robert Rodriguez dot cropped trouser, $295 at amazon.com
q: queen mum
The Duchess of Cambridge’s effortlessly chic style has translated into refined ladylike looks on the runways and in stores. Think belted sweaters, tailored skirts and peplum jackets in pretty pastels and ethereal whites. To dress like the former Miss Middleton, slip on this elegant pleated skirt and gossamer top by Wai Ming. No prince charming required.
Get it now: Wai Ming ‘Heather’ pleated skirt, $174, and ‘Sammy’ silk tee, $108 at ivyhillboutique.com
r: roaring ‘20s
Hollywood movie-makers and HBO showrunners aren’t the only folks obsessed with the Prohibition era. Boxy, unstructured frocks and drop waists swung onto spring’s fashion scene with gusto. This navy shift from Shabby Apple, complete with an oversized satin sash at the hips, captures the time period beautifully, and is ideal guest attire for a warm-weather wedding.
Get it now: ‘Grand Noeud #12’ shift dress, $225 at shabbyapple.com
Like florals and polka dots, stripes are a style mainstay and will remain wardrobe staples season after season. This year, they have a whimsical, seafaring spirit. Case in point: This adorable skirt from Jack by BB Dakota, which features watercolor ribbons of primary blue and yellow. It’s cute without being too precious, and would be perfect paired with dainty flats.
Get it now: Jack by BB Dakota ‘Camila’ skirt, $59 at piperlime.com
This red-orange shade was namedthecolor of 2012 by Pantone specialists. Seen as an optimistic choice, tangerine plays well with the other vivid hues of the season, making it a smart manicure choice. We favor this perky polish pick, from OPI’s new Holland collection.
Get it now: OPI Nail Lacquer in ‘A Roll in the Hague,’ $8.50 at salons
u: undressed lips
In a sharp contrast to the flood of flashy fashions, spring makeup is clean, fresh and barely there. Both Christian Siriano and Peter Som went with understated faces, focusing on flawless skin and naturally flushed cheeks and lips. Copy the pretty pout with a flesh-toned lip pencil followed with a swipe of pale gloss for a little oomph.
Get it now: Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Exposed, $24 at tartecosmetics.com
v: vibrant hues
Whether it’s a pair of pants or a pretty pedicure, designers are practically begging us to add a pop of color to our spring wardrobes. For an instant rainy day pick-me-up, wrap a cheery scarf, like this one from Old Navy, around your neck. It’s a surefire way to lift your spirits, without breaking the bank.
Get it now: Old Navy ‘Lightweight Pom-Pom’ scarf, $14 at oldnavy.com
Woven belts, totes and footwear in straw, raffia and leather are part of our summer style lexicon. These buttery suede boat shoes from The Frye Company have just the right amount of texture, comfort and slip-proof practicality. Now all we need is a yacht to take us away…
Get it now: The Frye Company Quincy Woven Boat Shoe, $158 at thefryecompany.com
x: x-posed shoulders
Forget décolletage, fashion’s new erogenous zone is the shoulder. Cutout blouses and asymmetrical tops are taking over the racks, allowing you to reveal skin without feeling overexposed. This top from Sofia by Sofia Vergara features delicate straps for extra security and comfort -- and boasts a flouncy peplum waist, another big theme for 2012.
Get it now: Sofia by Sofia Vergara ‘Cold-Shoulder’ top, $21.99 at kmart.com
Show stormy weather who’s boss with a water-resistant trench in sunny yellow. Top designers, including Oscar de la Renta and Derek Lam, showcased the shade in their collections; think of it as a ray of light after winter’s beige and gray.
Get it now: Merona belted trench, $49.99 at target.com
Standing alongside the season’s striking geometrics are their crooked cousins: the zigzags. Try a chevron pattern in a daring color palette, but stick to classic shapes, like this pleated scoop-neck dress. Plus, you earn extra style points with this piece thanks to its of-the-moment tangerine hues.
Get it now: AB Studio chevron pleated dress, $38.40 at kohls.com