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March 2, 2004

Style with Diana Michelle Fox

The weather that we've been enjoying for the past week has made me quite cheerful. The wind blows lightly, the brilliant sun shines high in the clear sky, and the birds chirp loudly. Such warm weather has gotten me thinking about a few upcoming matters: spring break, the quick approach of finals, and most of all—spring wardrobes!

Yes, readers, it's time to delve into spring clothes. With the current, beautiful climate, how can we not desire to discard our sweaters and winter coats in favor of swishy skirts and sandals? Despite the fact that the gorgeous weather may not last, I've taken the opportunity to get a healthy start on the spring trends for 2004. This year's styles split into two trends: first, girly, baby-doll sweetness in lots of light pinks; and second (and more interesting), the boldest, brightest colors you have ever seen.

I, for one, am delighted to see so many blinding neons when I walk into a shop, for I love color. When I was in nursery school, I was obsessed with the '80s icon Rainbow Brite, and my infatuation with bright color has not stopped since. Thus, I'm thrilled that I can spend this spring dressing in vibrant colors. For now, I've ignored the light-pink side of the spring clothes equation and have made it my business to find the most radiant clothes and accessories for spring. I share with you a smattering of my finds.

I've found two dresses that are especially lovely. Express stocks a turquoise, green, yellow, and white silk dress with spaghetti straps that is gathered in the front. It's calf-length, reasonably priced at $68, and screams with prevailing turquoise. Banana Republic's most vivid is their silk paisley strap dress with asymmetrical ruffles ($148). Orange and pink patterns dominate, and the ruffle on only the left shoulder is a nice feminine touch.

For shirts, check out Guess?'s tube tops in orange and pink (I'd recommend the orange, $39) or Eyeshadow's layered bright orange long-sleeved top with pink tank top underneath ($28, Nordstrom). Banana Republic fills the world's lime-green void with their sleeveless satin low-cut tank with lace trim ($58, also in red-orange).

White and denim skirts are an undying must for spring, but I must add to that Banana Republic's lace A-line skirt in grapefruit ($98). The color will get you spotted a mile away.

The necessary accessories for the spring are, of course, scarves and handbags. The widespread translucent clutch purses in neon or pastel hues are even cuter at Nordstrom because they are covered in polka dots ($18). If you prefer the non-polka dotted, Liz Claiborne makes a smaller, brighter bag ($20, Lord & Taylor). As for scarves, check Urban Outfitters for their small head scarves ($14) or Banana Republic for their paisley turquoise and orange larger scarves ($32).

Ah yes, I leave to the end the most fun part of dressing—the shoes! Many colorful options await you at Nine West, such as Callipe, a strappy slide in a variety of colors ($59), or Vernay, a wedge heel with green or orange paisley top ($59). Plastic is back as shoe material, and Nine West adds a low heel and a plastic jelly top of pink, blue, or yellow to Chaviva ($39.99). For casual walks or even poolside, try Kenneth Cole Reaction's flat plastic Razzle Dazzle in hot pink or lime green ($38.95, Nordstrom).

I'd like to end with a personal observation: Many people tend to be wary of wearing extremely loud or intense colors because of the attention they draw or the impression they make. I say, take advantage of spring 2004 and its plethora of fluorescents—and make a statement! There are always the girly light pinks to fall back on if you must, but I fully intend to revel in the season's best and brightest.