Spring Fashion Tips, Picks and Must-Haves!

Felix Mercado
Ah, the dreaded fash-ition (fashion-transition) from fall and winter to spring and summer. Like most people, you probably have all your warm weather clothes neatly packed away in the attic. Or if you’re anything like me, you have a separate closet for each season, large enough to house a small native tribe!

One of the things I look forward to the most about Sp-ummer (Spring-Summer) is swapping the jackets and wool sweaters for lighter sexier clothing. As it gets warmer, I live for wearing my uniform of the season: fitted cotton shirts/tees, faded boot cut jeans and my Cuban heel cowboy boots. But for you ladies, it’s not that simple!

The key looks for Sp-ummer 2006 are all about accentuating your assets in nude, natural colors, a great way to show off pretty details and fine tailoring. This soft, muted palette dominated the runways, leaving everyone feeling refreshed and relaxed. Now if you’re a color girl, don’t fret, you can still brighten up the neutrals with pops of coral and turquoise. But you’ll want to keep the accessories light to echo the sensual look. Natural wood and straw work for me!

So put some sizzle in your look by trying these picks and tips for a new sexy and chic Sp-ummer style. And remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, make every impression as fabulous as the first, and always "Say it With STYLE!"

— Your style expert, Felix.


Bag trends are all over the place next season, but small totes are sizzling for Sp-ummer. Petite accessories mark the return of sleek handbags, and chunky luggage pieces disguised as handbags are out. Large carryalls are still ok, but itsy-bitsy bags are sexier. While eye-catching colors are hanging around, neutrals have managed to steal the show.

For me, punk-inspired bags are fab! I'm talking about bags in all sorts of textures, from woven leather to exotic skins. Bags with interesting hardware (chains, metal), designed in a mix of different textures (leather, straw), in the funkiest of styles and patterns. These styles are guaranteed to be the rave of the season. My picks are:

Salvatore Ferragamo Crocheted Shoulder Bag $1,650 Alexander McQueen Crochet Novak Bag, $1,980 Marc Jacobs Ursula Quilted Bag, $1,050

Many of you are on a budget and have to pick one type of bag to update your spring wardrobe. An embroidered, woven and patchwork movement has muscled its way into fashion this season. There's no better way to embrace it than with an affordable accessory that can be worn with everything from feminine suits to sassy dresses. This Missoni-inspired embroidered shoulder bag from Cole Haan ($150) is the perfect marriage between uncomplicated and fabulous. Also, this Michael Kors clutch goes easily from day to night.

Cole Haan Drawstring Bag, $150 MICHAEL Michael Kors "Santorini" Straw Clutch, $148


What are the hottest styles/shapes/sizes/colors?

The fashion world is celebrating belts this season. Glamazons across the country are receiving these blasts from the past with open arms and bare waists. So go out there and get what you can in all widths, textures and colors, because these amazing accessories can pull together any outfit you are wearing.

Now mastering Sp-ummer's new proportions is a cinch with a wide belt. Wear it to highlight a small waist or to form one on a thick middle. How should we be wearing belts this season? The philosophy is to define your waistline. Cinch them at mid-torso over everything — tops, dresses and jackets — to shape and define your waist.

Are there any style rules about wearing belts?

Don't limit yourself to wearing belts only with clothing that have loops. The sky is the limit this season!

Off the runway, what are some ways belts were worn with clothing?

Get waisted this season with a chic double-buckle belt. Wear it around a shirt or short jacket and pencil skirt for a sexy, put-together look.

Looking pretty has never been such a cinch. Embrace your waist with these fabulous belts:

Missoni Cintura Silk Belt, $330 Piazza Sempione Cotton Metallic Belt, $140 Paolo Angelucci Studded Wide Belt, $275


What are the hottest styles?

Have fun with your frames this season! Go for an oversized pair in a vivid primary color. The sunglasses to have this season are a fusion of both curvy and square shapes. This shape communicates all the assurance, modernity and refinement you could want in a spectacle. Try a pair in white, the undisputed color for Sp-ummer. They speak smart, angular and have a clean construction.

What are your top tips for shopping for a fab pair of shades?

Day or night, no fashionista would be caught squinting without a pair of cool shades. Follow my handy tips and you'll surely get the protection you need with a look that will flatter your face shape.

Keep in mind designer frames are as much a fashion staple as the latest handbags and shoes. Whether you are into modern plastics or fashion-forward styles, there is a look out there that is right for you.

Quality sun wear should not only fit your face shape, it should also fit your lifestyle. Your occupation, hobbies and recreational activities are all important considerations when choosing the right pair of sunglasses. Lenses should also be considered when purchasing sunglasses. A complimentary color and lens type to match your needs and personality should also be part of your selection process. My sunglass shopping tips:

OVAL-SHAPED FACE: If you have an oval face, you’re lucky. Just about any style of sunglass will fit your face. You have room to experiment with a variety of choices. Your best frames: wrap-arounds, soft squares, high temples

ROUND-SHAPED FACE: If you have a round face, you’ll want sunglasses that can make your face appear longer and thinner. Wide frames can do this well, while square and rectangular frames minimize curves. Your best frames: Wide, square and rectangular, brow bar.

SQUARE-SHAPED FACE: If you have a square face, your sunglasses should have soft or curvy lines to balance out your strong jaw line and broad forehead. You can also get a longer effect for your face with cat eyes. Your best frames: Round, oval, cat eyes.

HEART-SHAPED FACE: If your face is heart shaped, you’ll want to minimize the width of your forehead. A great way to do so is with rimless glasses. Light colors and low temples can also add balance. Your best frames: Rimless, light colors, low temples.

And last but not least, if you’re anything like me, you wear sunglasses all year around. If you are, consider a polarized lens. Polarization is a laminated sheet inside the lens that filters out glare. Polarized lenses are great for year-round use as they filter out reflective glare, help prevent blind spots, enhance color contrast and depth perception. They are particularly useful and highly recommended for driving, and for snow and water activities where light reflects off surfaces, which can curtail vision.

You may not be able to plunk down two "Gs" for a designer frame, but a splurge just under of $500 can get you into any of these major designer frames:

Salvatore Ferragamo Rimless Butterfly Sunglasses, $310 Marc Jacobs Aviator Sunglasses, $240 Oliver Peoples Cameo Plastic Sunglasses, $240


Knock on wood! With hemlines scaling new heights, it's only fashionable that wedge heels follow the trend. Wear your wooden platforms with everything from suits to thigh-baring minis or your patent pumps with anything from jeans to bright belted frocks. But buyers beware, heels are reaching staggering new heights next season. They are a safe bet in terms of keeping up with the trends, but that's the only thing that's safe about them.

What's in? Wood and leather wedge heels.

What's out? Stilettos have been replaced by chunky-heeled platforms, a perfect match for Sp-ummer’s no-frills silhouette!

Here are two of my picks:

Jimmy Choo Elika Suede Sandals, $450 Alexander McQueen Raffia Wedges, $725


Breeze into summer with these cool, comfortable thong sandals:

Narciso Rodriguez leather thong sandals, $440 Bottega Veneta perforated leather flower sandals, $550


Short-cuffed shorts are another trend fashion-savvy women will watch this Sp-ummer.

Tips: Appropriate for day or evening, shorts should be worn by those with long legs and complemented with feminine tops. Longer-length shorts, a.k.a. Bermudas, look best in a slim cut (beware of cuffs — they add weight). Anything too full or knee-length will add lots of heft around the hips, where most women can least afford it.

Who’s wearing them: Amerie, Jessica Simpson, Niki Maraj.

Designers to watch: Walter Baker, Betsy Johnson, Cynthia Steffe.