Spring calls for color

In the temperate climate of Southern California, the arrival of spring is heralded with much less fanfare than in regions that endure months of sub-zero temperatures and mounds of snow.

While the first delicate green sprout is cause for celebration in the North and Midwest, it is the burst of color appearing in shops that has La Jollans applauding the arrival of springtime.

So what’s hot - and what’s not - this season?

Whether you want a new wardrobe, need something for a special occasion or just want to update your look, there’s something for everyone in La Jolla.

Bright and Bold

“It’s springtime, so color is important,” said Donna Steinback, president and owner of Donna Marsh.

The trend this season is vibrant hues. Think dramatic, attention-getting color applied in bold and edgy patterns such as blocking (designs with large sections, or blocks, of color).

“So many women are afraid to wear color, and they don’t know how much it brightens their face,” Steinback said.

Animal prints continue to be popular, and Steinback expects to see them continue into summer. For women who tend only to dip a toe into the fashion pool, an animal-print shirt, purse or shoes can add fun and flair without overdoing it.

Rumors, managed by Danielle Longo, offers progressive, contemporary, fashion-forward apparel for men and women who like to be in on the cutting edge of design, but many of their items fit the popular trends, especially color.

“The bolder, the better,” Longo said.

For women, it’s shades such as magenta, turquoise and orange. For men, it’s black and white, yellow, orange - even electric blue.

“Mixing prints is also really big,” said Longo.

Trends are an opportunity to experiment and have fun, Steinback said, but buy with a critical eye.

“Just because it’s ‘the’ thing, if it’s not right for you, then pass,” she cautioned. “Don’t become a fashion victim. Nothing takes the place of dressing well.”

Accent with Accessories

“The easiest way to wear a trend is with an accessory,” said Phyllis Lanphier, owner of Sigi’s Boutique on Girard Avenue.

She recommended starting with a few wardrobe basics and then building a variety of looks for different moods and occasions: a black pair of pants that can be dressed up or down; a white blouse; a jacket, blazer or trench coat; a black skirt; a beautiful shawl.

Accessories run the gamut from jewelry to handbags to shoes. Other accent options include scarves, belts, hats, hair ornaments and even jackets, camisoles or stockings.

Dress up a pair of black pants and a white blouse with a brightly colored handbag or fun pair of shoes. The same outfit can then get an entirely different look with a couple of pieces of unusual jewelry, a jacket or a scarf.

The other advantage to updating one’s wardrobe with accessories is that it is cost-effective. For people who fear fashion or lack an eye for detail, accent pieces are an easy way to take wardrobe staples from functional to fashionable.

Own It

“The personality should be wearing the clothes, not the other way around,” said Lilo Miller.

A fashion coordinator at Sak’s for more than 20 years, Miller cautioned against following a trend simply to be trendy.

“It should always be a very individual look,” she said.

Trends are important in that they inject vitality to fashion, but there are other factors to consider when selecting styles and fabrics.

It should suit the personality and look of the person, Miller said. The garment should flatter the body, and the color should compliment the skin tone.

Still, Miller enjoys seeing what’s popular each season.

“You have the joy of trying something (new),” she said.

Even women who maintain a classic look or invest in high-quality clothing can indulge in spring trends without forfeiting their signature style.

“I think accessories are extremely important to update pieces that you have enjoyed for years,” Miller said. “It is a joy to add a little more daring color accent with accessories.”

Miller also suggests looking to local designers for a personalized look.

“I see a lot of talent in our community,” she said.

She’s worked with several clothing and jewelry designers from the region and frequently hosts trunk shows in her home to introduce their designs and collections.

Lanphier is also a fan of unusual or limited-edition apparel.

“I buy whatever I like because it’s a boutique,” she said. “That’s what keeps it unique.”

Many shoppers buy clothing based on what is currently in style or based on what appeals to them, although it might not be particularly suitable for them.

“It’s all about evoking positive feelings,” Lanphier said.

In addition to body dimensions and skin tone, as Miller mentioned, women should factor in their lifestyle, occupation and age.

“A consumer needs to edit the trends and shades that are best for them,” Lanphier said. “That’s how you apply trends: It’s all about balance for the person.”