Spring merchandise has officially hit the stores, and one trend should be immediately noticeable: bright colors. They were everywhere on the spring-summer 2011 runways, including at the Jil Sander show, where candy colors managed to look minimal when shown with crisp white shirts or layered with sleek black coats, and at Rachel Roy and Burberry, where various tones of shocking aqua and cobalt were paired for a cool (and somehow punchy) look. Color blocking, as seen on the Marni runway, is another major trend.
Other designer and contemporary brands explored the color wheel as well. "For spring we bought a lot of color, from acid pinks to orange-red to cobalt blue to tangerine," says Jeannie Lee, owner of 3rd Street's Satine Boutique, which stocks lines from designers including Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten, Balmain and Balenciaga.
On the other end of the spectrum, shoppers are likely to encounter lots of white. The natural, yet luxe look of an all-white ensemble (which also works in winter, but is a lot more practical in the warmer months) looked fresh in the runway collections of Chloe, Celine and BCBG.
The Gap is also turning out a number of white items, from easy button-downs to wide leg trousers, all in shades of white and off-white and in stores this summer. And there's no shortage of white jeans, which are showing up in the spring and summer lines of J Brand, MIH and 7 for All Mankind.
Shoppers may also notice a '60s and '70s aesthetic dictating the shape of denim this season.
"Denim flares are really hot," says Caprice C. Willard, vice president-regional planning manager for Macys, where brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Levi's have incorporated the style. Flared and wide-leg jeans are also big sellers on the boutique level; Satine's Lee says wide-leg jeans have been flying off the shelves.
On spring-summer 2011 runways such as Derek Lam's, models wore wide-leg jeans with tucked-in white button-downs and chic wedge sandals. On the street we're bound to see a more relaxed version of the look, with women wearing bell bottom-style jeans with T-shirts and sandals or perhaps flared jeans with a tucked-in tank top and a blazer for evening.
The other denim trend for spring is a gamine, '60s crop. The pant leg ends at least 2 inches above the ankle. The jeans look great with ballet flats or a low-mid wedge sandal.
The '70s vibe also includes versions of the maxi-length skirt and dress. Floor-grazing styles were featured in the collections of Max Mara and Jil Sander and are showing up in stores such as the Gap, J. Crew and Club Monaco.
"The maxi-dress is really important this season and we are seeing a resurgence with it," Willard says. "The maxi length actually stays important in Southern California all year long."