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Pastels go from dim to delightful

Pastels get no respect, and it's easy to see why.

Pale pink, lilac, light blue. They're the colors of baby clothes and grandma's lounge-around track suit.


But something is happening: Manufacturers are turning up the volume on the pales.

Now perked-up pigments and novel styling infuse clothes and accessories. Let's call it "pastel plus."

For instance, once-forgettable pale tangerine is now a hard-to-resist coral. And unexpected touches of acid yellow and teal turn a mundane aqua silk blouse into a showstopper.

And even that reviled pale pink looks new and utterly modern when it comes in shoulder-grazing runway-ready earrings.

To get you started, I went shopping for examples of the pastel-plus trend — a few well under $10 — that will perk up any spring wardrobe. (See the photos above -- click "captions" for more information, or read more below!)

Nail polish: Essie Lilacism, $8, drugstores,

Blouse: Two by Vince Camuto color-block utility shirt, $98, Nordstrom,

Men's shirts: Express 1MX, $59.90,

Sunglasses: Forever 21, $5.80,

Scarf: BP, $18, Nordstrom,

Handbag: Charming Charlie, $30,

Earrings: M. Haskell, $22.50, Macy's,


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