It's the first day of March, which means the first day of springtime! No matter what the barometer and the weatherman say, I can't wait to embrace the new season with a much-needed wardrobe update and overhaul. I'm thinking casual spring macs, lighter fabrics for skirts and trousers and definitely no more overwhelming chunky knits. Put those snoods back in storage and bring me my fave trench coat! HOWEVER. With grey clouds still very much in the skies, we have got to be smart about how to handle the seasonal transition. This is one of the trickiest fashion challenges to handle: the daffodils are up but it isn't too late to catch your death out there - or at least to catch a nasty cold! Thankfully, the fashion gods understand this. While runway trends may generally seem extreme and bold, many of them are actually more moderate and practical than you might think. The transitional phase from one season to the next is well-recognised among fashionistas and trend-setters, and they have come up with all kinds of brilliant tricks and cheats to make the in-between winter/spring look work. So here are just a few key items that I use to inject some sunshine into my look while subtly staying wrapped up. Give them a go this March - and don't stop here! There are so many ways to achieve the perfect winter/spring look and I want to hear how you make it work for you. Definitely get in touch on Facebook, on Twitter or on the website, and share your top tips for transitional chic! Ching x The Sleeveless Coat Marni, Preen, Missoni It seems so obvious and yet this idea is relatively new in fashion. Coat - warm and practical - tick! Sleeveless - light, loose and summery - also tick! You can pick any style from a formal, structured coat right through to dressed-down, slouchy jackets. My best advice on this look is plan what you're going to wear with it in advance. Remember the sleeves of what you have on underneath will be in full view, so think carefully about what fabrics, colours and styles will complement your coat most. (Extra hint: the collarless coat is another variant on this look. With no fussy flaps or frills adding extra material around your face, this kind of coat has a very stripped-back, minimalist look. It's a great way to carry on wearing coats while embracing the less fabric-heavy aesthetic of warmer months.) Pale Colour Victoria Beckham, Paul & Joe, Preen, Valentino, Theyskens' Theory and Tods (image © Isidore Montag) Intuitively, we associate dark colours with wintry cold and bright or light colours with lovely summer sunshine. The classic white shirt is a huge theme for Spring 2014, and you can make the most of this trend even before the days warm up. Pick a white or pale shirt, but instead of going for slinky silk or floaty chiffon, stick to robust, thicker fabrics - you'll have the illusion of lightness while still staying safely covered up! (Extra hint: this colour-trickery also works well with even more wintry items like knitwear. Wear angora or cashmere in a breezy pastel shade and people will automatically associate the look with light summer months.) Loose-legged trousers Mulberry, Michael Kors, Paul Smith, Derek Lam (image © Isidore Montag) Again, this one's all about using the visual element to reference the fresh, light looks of spring while distracting from the fact that the clothes themselves are still pretty warm and sensible! Floaty, wide-leg trousers have been all over the Spring/Summer '14 catwalks and they range from work-ready tailored palazzo pants to a more flared look for casual weekends to grown-up evening wear in slinky, luxurious fabrics. Whereas figure-hugging skinnies leave your poor legs almost as exposed to the elements as tights, looser trousers give the illusion of carefree summer vibes while the extra fabric actually keeps you surprisingly snug! Natural make-up Michael Kors (image © Imaxtree) Ok ladies, this trend isn't strictly clothes, but make-up is a key part of fashion and an especially extra-key part of making the winter/spring look work for you. Beauticians and make-up artists everywhere have been championing the 'au naturel' look for weeks now: on every catwalk you can see a pared-down aesthetic of clean, dewy faces. This means balm or nude matte lipstick rather than a full-colour lip. Less is more for eyes too, with barely-there liner and avoiding the vampish, pumped up swoop of mascara-loaded lashes. Channel a fresh-faced vibe and the battle to springtime chic is half-won already!
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