In most places, springtime signals warmer weather and longer daylight hours; in Seattle, it’s really the start of a long, drizzly crawl toward the start of summer in early August. In fashion terms, spring usually marks a transition from the heavy wools of winter to lighter fabrics such as linen, organza blends and cottons. Seattleites typically shift to lightweight wool or shed a layer. The Emerald City, with its weather and its predilection for comfortable, quirky and understated clothing, puts its own spin on fashion trends. Stylist Rebecca Luke of les Egoistes offers her spring fashion tips with examples from Tanya Friberg’s downtown boutique The Finerie to guide you through the season’s hottest options.
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Take it easy.
The “ease” trend proves you can dress comfortably and still look stylish. Think insouciance, not shapelessness. Choose loosely cut pants suits or airy tunics with pleating, paired with leggings and worn without a belt. Dress up slouchy pajama-style pants with a smart heel. For inspiration, browse the spring collections of Stella McCartney, Saint Laurent or Rachel Zoe. The Finerie matches flowing nude-tone trousers with a green sequined jacket for effortless elegance.
Layer with texture.
This season, sheer materials and lacy layers abound. Designers are placing tone on tone, combining fabrics in pale or nude hues, often with contrasting textures. The trend isn’t limited to lace dresses; Givenchy, for example, cultivates a modern feel with sheer fabric over solid opaque tops, while Dries Van Noten uses see-through fabrics in bold prints for his stylishly slouchy collection. Local designer Masha Osoianu offers knitted necklaces and lace-like knits like this creamy top, which Rebecca Luke pairs with white sequin shorts for a fun evening combo.
Rock the leather (like a lady).
Leather can be tough, but this spring designers are reinterpreting this material with a distinctly feminine appeal. Alexander Wang turns leather into lace with elaborate cutouts, while others, like Alexia Admor, reinvent the little black dress in leather, with delicate touches like fringes. Short leather jackets work particularly well in the Pacific Northwest’s chilly spring temperatures. Weather protect your jacket and re-treat it halfway through the season to keep the leather resilient, Luke advises. Splash out for a piece by local designer Carole McClellan, or hunt for a well-worn, second-hand gem.
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Wear colors that pop.
Spring fashions usually include bright colors, and this year they verge on neon. Yellows range from curry to sunshine, and reds from cayenne pepper to fire engine. Deep greens, also popular, create a stunning contrast with this season’s neutrals. Burberry Prorsum Color luster trenches over neutrals offer one strategy for integrating color, said Luke. Tanya Friberg also suggests using vibrant color to liven up tweed, or layering bold accessories, like tinted crystal necklaces from Seattle jeweler Marilyn Berg. However, this season’s most striking colors may be black and white, as seen in these gowns by Nell and local designer Madina Vadache.
Cinch it in.
The Asian-inspired obi belt is this spring’s must-have accessory. In brilliant brocade, patterns or leather, this versatile sash can add color, design, texture and shape to any ensemble. Take that fluttery tunic you bought for the ease factor, and create an entirely different look with a sexy cinch.
About Rebecca Luke:
Stylist, art director, marketing expert: Rebecca Luke wears many hats. The Seattle native splits her time between her home town and New York City, completing projects in both cities for les Egoistes/Rebecca Luke Style, the creative services and image-branding company she founded in 2000. She also co-founded the Sustainable Style Foundation, a non-profit seeking “to advocate and inspire sustainable choices at work, at home and at play.” Among other pursuits, she is a costume designer for award-winning films such as “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Eden.”
About Tanya Friberg:
Since Tanya Friberg started The Finerie in 2006, she has poured her passion and energy into creating a one-of-a-kind boutique, focused on fine tailoring and distinctive touches, or “classics with a twist,” as she puts it. This little gem near the Seattle Art Museum resembles a fashion wonderland, with chandeliers and silvery trees sprouting accessories. Friberg delights downtown shoppers with her unusual selection of local independent and European designers for both men and women.