Spring Turns Up the Color

You might need to wear your sunglasses at night this spring.

This season's bold shades of orange, fuchsia, yellow and green could make last year's pink blush — and the bright colors will embolden everything from pleated skirts and accessories to a classic jacket that is spring's must-have item.

The trench coat (search) is back, but it's not your father's London Fog. For ladies, the elegant shape flatters every figure and can be found in an array of looks from mint green cotton twill to white vinyl.

"If you are going to get one piece get a trench coat," said Candice Dhakhwa, a fashion editor at Glamour magazine. "It's flattering on all body types. The belted waist gives the appearance of a smaller waist, and it's an A-line cut so if you're uncomfortable about your butt and hips this helps."

Finding a trench that fits right is essential, said Dhakhwa, who recommends buying a size smaller than your usual. "It’s a fitted look that you are going to wear over thinner pieces, so don't wear a big bulky sweater to try it on with."

And while the look is sophisticated, the price doesn't have to be. "Don't think you need to spend more than $200 on a trench, it's not necessary. Most are going to be cotton canvas which isn't very expensive fabric," she said, recommending Perry Ellis, Banana Republic, The Gap and Old Navy for trench choices.

Changes are also going on below the waist this season.

A more ladylike skirt is upstaging the super mini this year. Pleated, floral patterned, tied around the waist with a ribbon or skinny belt, these skirts add flounce to your bounce.

And accessories too are bursting in bright shades, providing many options for those who are shy about wearing bold color. Dhakhwa suggested wearing neutral colors with splashes such as orange pumps or a yellow clutch. "It's still a hint to keep you in the trend."

Capri pants are still out in full force, with a twist. Now, they're showing up in denim and the bottoms are cuffed. Updating last year's capris is a cinch said Dhakhwa, just cuff them yourself and wham — you've got trend.

While some looks can be dug back out from years past, Dhakhwa said there are a few that should stay away.

"Keep the cargos in the closet," she said. "And the super-super minis, stay away from those."

Another blast from the past is resurfacing for spring — yes, we've been through the '70s revival and flash-danced with '80s fashion — but this spring preppy chic (search) is back for both guys and gals.

Fitted polo shirts, colorful cable knit sweaters, shrunken blazers and anything crested with Lacoste's iconic crocodile are back in vogue for women. Classic fabrics like seersucker (search) and madras are making a resurgence in the men's department.

One of the "pivotal pieces" for men this spring is a washed cotton blazer, said Bruce Pask, style director of Cargo, a new shopping magazine for men.

"It's great for a casual office environment and a nice piece for guys to get used to dressing up a little bit on the weekend. It basically feels like wearing a jean jacket, but looks more chic."

And you can't mess it up. "It actually looks better when rumpled and faded," said Pask.

Steeped in tradition, the seersucker suit is a lightweight choice for warmer weather and is less expensive than other suits, but ease into it to avoid an off-to-the-races-with-a-mint-julep look, cautioned Pask, who recommends, "finding your level of comfort within a trend."

Some preppy flashbacks like J. Crew's "critters" line, embroidered with lobsters, swordfish and bees, should be worn with tongue in cheek, Pask said.

The best bet for dipping your toe into new trend waters is to mix it up: Try madras shorts on the weekend, top a neutral button-down with a seersucker tie, or toss on critter-embroidered swim trunks for a fun beach look.

Like women's wear, the polo is popular for men this spring. But unlike the ladies the trend of brilliant bags won't be out in force.

Duffle bags are in and messenger bags have become more ubiquitous, in neutral or primary shades.

"While we are revisiting the preppy side there is a realm where the pastel has its place," said Pask. "But I think men would have a hard time holding a mint-colored messenger bag."