Category Archives: Spring

Renew Your Spirit Just in Time for Spring

Spring, the loveliest of seasons, is finally here, and the world is ripe with new beginnings and hope. This palpable sense of rebirth is perhaps why so many of us feel inspired to throw open our windows, scrub our floors, and make room in our homes and hearts for the wonderful new things in store for us. For me, springtime is the perfect occasion to dust off the cobwebs (literally and figuratively) and welcome a fresh new start. This is a good occasion to adopt new healthy habits, indulge in a little self-care, and set a new intention to live more simply, purposefully, and be more present. Here are a few of my favorite springtime rituals that I use to invite a new season of harmony, sunshine, and joy.

Have an “out with the old” exorcism… Chances are, you’re dealing with some clutter in your home that you’d like to get rid of. Get into the spring cleaning spirit by setting aside some time to go through the junk that’s accumulated over the past year. Devote a morning or afternoon to decluttering each room in your house and determine which items should be recycled or disposed of, and which items can be donated.

…and do a closet purge while you’re at it! While you’re taking stock of what should stay and what should go, pay extra attention to your closet. It’s not enough to swap out your winter coats, sweaters, and accessories for your springtime essentials. Really take stock of any items that are worn out, outdated, or simply no longer bring you joy. It’s time to move these items on to make room for clothing that makes you shine. Be sure to rehang items that have fallen to the floor and reorganize unruly belts, scarves, and other accessories. This is also the perfect time to clean and vacuum out your closet—especially your shoe shelves, which tend to accumulate dust and debris.

If you are having trouble with your wardrobe purge, consider working with me to spring clean your closet. I regularly assist clients in letting go of clothes that no longer work, organizing the clothing that stays, and creating totally accessorized outfits that reflect their true selves. To book an appointment, please email me at marla@marlatomazin.com.

Make your home sparkle. A fresh and clean home dramatically improves your quality of life. Make time to do a thorough “spring cleaning” and you will reap the benefits of a tidy home for the rest of the year. Take time to sweep or vacuum your floors, wipe down baseboards and window sills, and dust all surfaces. And if you want to go the extra mile to kill any lingering germs, I recommend using Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner to safely sanitize your home; it’s chemical-free and its light scent will freshen your rooms.

Diffuse an uplifting scent. Nothing says “let the sunshine in” like a fresh, inviting scent. Use a diffuser and your preferred essential oil to purify and fill the air with the fragrances of springtime. Not only will your house smell wonderful, but you may also benefit from the therapeutic qualities of some of the oils. My personal favorites for daytime include peppermint, lemon, and lavender. At night, diffuse Young Living’s Peace and Calming essential oil to relax you into a peaceful slumber.

Step into TOE-tal renewal. Nothing feels more renewing than a good pedicure after months of hiding your feet from winter’s chill. After a little pampering, you will be more than ready to break out your sandal collection. Be sure to choose a spring-worthy color for your toes like the one I’m wearing here, OPI’s Living on the Bula-vard.

Embrace uplifting shades. For even more color, celebrate springtime hues, including pastel pink, lavender, and Pantone’s color of the year, “Greenery.” Try wearing a soft pink T-shirt with crisp white jeans, or pick out a great new pair of lilac-tinted sunglasses. And if you’ve really got spring fever, brighten up your living room with a few green throw pillows in this vibrant and captivating hue.

Try a few on-trend tops. Spring fashion is in bloom, so update your wardrobe with a few new shirts and blouses. This year, it’s all about ruffles, ties, lacing, and arm details. The off-the-shoulder look is also back and better than ever. Here’s a hint: If your shirt is really frilly or otherwise embellished, keep the rest of your outfit and accessories neat and simple.

Bring the outdoors inside. Indoor plants help clean the air and cheer up any room with a fresh pop of color. Celebrate spring by bringing home a few new potted plants from your local nursery. Or, start a window-sill herb garden to brighten up your culinary creations. I recommend growing a mix of basil, dill, parsley, or cilantro.

Commit only to activities that fill your spirit. Too often, we overcommit ourselves with activities that don’t resonate well with us. Whether you have joined a club that doesn’t bring you joy, agreed to organize yet another fundraiser, or sit on one too many boards, take a step back and reassess your motives. Life is too short to commit to obligations that don’t really fill your soul with joy. Reflect on your current commitments and decide what, if anything, should be edited from your schedule. Trust me, you’ll increase your energy and joy tenfold once you cut out the commitments that don’t enhance your life.

Start a new healthy habit. (It’s simpler than you think!) Now is the perfect time to start taking better care of yourself. Many people delay on making these types of changes, because of time and energy concerns. But remember that you don’t have to overhaul your schedule or routine to make impactful changes. Five minutes of deep breathing in the morning, or a 15-minute mid-day walk will greatly affect your health and happiness. So whether you choose to swap your fries for a side salad, or opt to go to bed a half hour earlier, choose to invest in your own health today. It will pay off in more ways than you think.

Just as the Earth effortlessly bursts with new life and color, springtime joy comes naturally. Your job is to clear away the things that diminish that joy…and then gratefully allow it to flourish in your heart and life.

 

Sun or Showers—Doesn’t Matter! Seven Tips to Help You Dress Stylishly This Spring

With more and more warm days in the forecast, most of us are excited to say goodbye to winter layers for the next six months. But between cold fronts, rainy days, and brisk breezes, it’s still a bit too early to leave the house in only a sundress and sandals.

While you probably can’t wait to wear spring’s colors, fabrics, and styles, you also aren’t eager to freeze (or maybe fry!) in the name of fashion. Since there isn’t a specific day when we “officially” switch from cool to warm temperatures, your best bet is to approach the seasonal transition with an eye toward versatility and comfort.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the winter-to-spring wardrobe transition in style:

Update your closet in bite-sized chunks. If you keep your warm-weather clothes in another closet, pull out cotton pants, blouses, and light sweaters so that you can begin to work them into your rotation. Meanwhile, switch out the heaviest fabrics—such as tweed pants or skirts and thick cashmere sweaters—to make room. (Remember, if you can’t easily see a great spring piece, you won’t wear it!) As the weather begins to warm up, you can continue to switch out a handful of items each day or week.

Also, use this seasonal clothing swap as an opportunity to clean out your closet. Instead of putting armloads of winter wear into storage without a second thought, carefully consider which pieces no longer fit, are damaged or worn, or simply don’t honor your style or lifestyle. Repair, donate, or throw them away as appropriate. (Take a look back at this post and this post for more in-depth information about how to clean out your closet.)

Wear fabrics that are comfortable in a variety of temperatures. When it comes to keeping you comfortable in spring’s wide range of temperatures, not all fabrics are created equal. Aim for materials that aren’t paper-thin, but are still breathable.

I keep my lightweight wools in my closet 10 months of the year and have even worn these pants in the summer on cooler days. Lightweight wool pants, skirts, and blazers are great investments, not only because of their flexibility between seasons, but because they are durable, flattering, and travel well. Also, keep your eyes open for several other hardworking fabrics in addition to the standard cotton and wool: viscose, Lyocell, and polyamide with elastane. These blends wear well and are suitable for both warm and cool days.

Identify cold-weather staples that can pull double duty. If you’re like most women, your winter wardrobe contains plenty of items in neutrals like black, gray, navy, and khaki. While you may be sick of wearing your black slacks with jewel-tone blouses and sweaters, for instance, don’t forget that pieces like these can easily be lightened up when they’re paired with “springier” fabrics and colors.

While you’re waiting to wear sundresses and sheerer fabrics, mix up your neutrals with white, cream, or one of many pretty accent colors like aqua, mint, or coral. A splash of color can give winter workhorses a whole new lease on life!

I wore this leather jacket in place of a coat in March on an unseasonably warm day.  The following week, I was back in my warm coat, scarf, and gloves!

I wore this leather jacket in place of a coat in March on an unseasonably warm day. The following week, I was back in my warm coat, scarf, and gloves!

Don’t get caught in the rain or be left out in the cold. Spring is known for its mercurial temperature changes. And who doesn’t know what it’s like to be caught in a sudden rain shower? Leave the house prepared for Mother Nature’s fickleness with a leather jacket if it’s going to be sunny or a tailored raincoat if it’s not (I’m a big fan of hooded raincoats).

Both of these options are stylish, but won’t feel too bulky if you need to take them off and fold them over your arm. And don’t forget a lightweight scarf that coordinates with your outfit. It can fill multiple roles as an eye-catching accessory, a wrap to drape around your shoulders, or even a barrier between your hair and the rain. Animal print scarves add interest to your look in any season, and florals in particular are popular this spring.

My husband gave me this russet raincoat for my birthday. (He has a good eye!) It’s microfiber with a button-out vested liner. I had no idea how much I needed it until I started wearing it!

My husband gave me this russet raincoat for my birthday. (He has a good eye!) It’s microfiber with a button-out vested liner. I had no idea how much I needed it until I started wearing it!

Get ready for more foot traffic. Sick of your winter boots but not quite ready to venture out in strappy sandals? Plan to enjoy the warmer(ish) weather in a “dress flat.” I recommend low heels by Diane B. to many of my professional clients because they’re comfortable to walk in and still look great with pants, skirts, and dresses. These shoes are made in Italy, and around 15 varieties are offered each season. (If you’re interested in purchasing a pair and live in New York City, I highly recommend working with Emilio at Diane B.’s Lexington Avenue location. You can contact him at 212-644-3526.)

For a casual look, ballet flats are always classic. If you’re planning a spring shopping trip (or simply shopping your closet), look for camel or nude flats in a matte or patent material. These tones will complement most outfits and don’t feel as heavy as winter’s dark colors. If you’d like your footwear to stand out a bit more, choose a metallic shade or even an animal print—both of which I consider neutrals!

I own four pairs of Diane B. dress flats and wear them all regularly with pants, dresses, and skirts.

I own four pairs of Diane B. dress flats and wear them all regularly with pants, dresses, and skirts.

Picture yourself in perfect layers. Especially when the weather is unpredictable, putting prior thought into what you want to wear is time well spent. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to rush out the door overdressed (or underdressed) for what you’ll find outside.

When I’m working with clients, I recommend that they take an hour and put together several layered looks that can be adapted on the fly. This could be a favorite lightweight wool blazer in navy to be worn over colorful jeans in coral, red, or even white. A cream t-shirt top or white blouse and scarf complete the ensemble. Once you’ve created a look you love, take a picture of it so that you can easily assemble it later when you’re in a hurry.

My white blouse, orange cotton pants, and ballet flats look great on their own, or layered with a navy blazer and coordinating scarf.

My white blouse, orange cotton pants, and ballet flats look great on their own, or layered with a navy blazer and coordinating scarf.

Don’t forget your skin, lips, and nails. These are also an important part of your overall image, and can help you “face” the new season with a spring in your step! Stop by your local department store and ask to see new lipsticks. Just be sure not to choose a shade based solely on its trendiness; it should also be flattering to your skin and hair. (Lipstick should “lift” you, not make you look sick.) For instance, if you always wear warm tones in clothing and makeup, a “cooler” pink lipstick may not be the best choice.

The same goes for your nails. The next time you book a manicure or purchase a polish, choose a shade that will lighten your look and your mood. You might want to consider one of Pantone’s pretty pastel colors of the year: Rose Quartz or Serenity. Finally, remember to wear sunscreen and/or a tinted moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin. While it may not feel that hot, the sun’s rays can still do a lot of damage. (And yes—you have my permission to use sun damage as a reason to buy a new pair of oversize sunglasses!)

Before you know it, you won’t have to say, “Looks like it will be cold today” for months. But while the weather’s still unpredictable, plan to shake off the winter blahs with a carefully curated look that fits the temperature, this season’s trends, and your personality!

 

 

 

What I’m Loving Now: 16 Products to Get Your Face, Skin, and Lips Ready for Spring

The snow that has fallen during this abnormally chilly winter has been absolutely beautiful to watch…but if you’re like many women, that’s where your enjoyment of the season stops. Between the polar vortex and artificial heating, the odds are high that your skin is dry and your lips are chapped. And that’s not even taking into account the havoc winter may have wreaked on your immune system.

But take heart. While you may not be able to change the weather forecast, you can choose how to deal with its effects. As I’ve battled this particularly harsh New York City winter, I’ve made it my mission to find the best ways to soothe my skin and keep germs away. I know from experience that when your skin is dull and itchy, your lips are chapped, and you’re feeling run down, your self-image will suffer no matter how stylish your wardrobe is.

Here are 16 products that have helped me to refresh and revitalize my skin (and stay healthy in general!) over the past few months. I’ve also included Amazon links in case you’d like to learn more about them yourself.

Face It 

Aside from the chic boots, scarves, and other cold weather clothes we all love, not much about winter is glamorous. In particular, your face really suffers as it’s continuously exposed to wind, dry air, and constantly changing temperatures. If you’re suffering from dry, tight, chapped skin, these four products can make a world of difference.

  • Clarins Double Serum. Amongst other states, New York has had an especially harsh winter, but Clarins Double Serum has kept my face looking and feeling good. During a makeup night at Bloomingdale’s, a makeup artist used this product on a friend, and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I decided to try it later and am so glad I did! Apply this serum all over your face, except around your eyes, for a look that’s luminous without feeling greasy.
  • Clarins Super Restorative Tinted Cream. If you really want to go the extra mile, this product is great to use in place of your normal foundation. The tint looks very natural, and as a bonus, has an SPF 20 rating—which is still important even in the depths of winter! The combination of these three Clarins products leaves a beautiful finish.
  • RapidLash. You may not have ever considered the effect that winter can have on your eyelashes. But cold temperatures can dry them out, just as much as they do the hair on your head. The good news is, you can cultivate longer, more luxurious lashes without breaking the bank, and they’ll help your entire face to look brighter and more youthful. I have been using RapidLash for about two months and I can really tell a difference. You apply a thin line every night along the base of your lashes, the same way you’d put on eyeliner. It doesn’t burn, it’s not oily, and it really works!

Dry Skin & Brittle Nails

Two of the most irritating effects of cold weather are dry skin and weakened nails. No matter how much lotion or cream you slather on, nothing you do seems to make a difference for long. But that’s about to change. These seven products will keep your skin and hands feeling fresh and moisturized all day long.

  • Nailtiques. Having trouble keeping your nails looking good between manicures? Look no further. Nailtiques is the go-to for cuticle care oil. A friend who has been using this product for about six months recommended it to me. I have seen improvements in both my nails and cuticles in just one month of use, despite the awful temperatures and wind!
  • Curel. For body moisturizing, Curel is my reliable go-to. I’ve used Curel on my feet since it was recommended by my podiatrist and I love it.
  • CeraVe Body Cream. CeraVe body cream was recommended to my husband by a top dermatologist in New York. It’s thick, soothing, and extremely moisturizing. Best of all, one application lasts all day.
  • Aveda Hand Relief. I’m sure you know how it feels when your hands are so chapped and rough you just want to scream! Well, that’s a thing of the past with Aveda Hand Relief. It instantly soothes my dry hands and keeps them feeling moisturized throughout the day.
  • Aveda Foot Relief. This foot relief cream has peppermint in it—my favorite. When you’ve been on your feet a lot, it’s so cooling and refreshing to smooth on at the end of the day.

All About Lips 

Spend five minutes outside in these temperatures, and you’ll probably experience dry, cracked lips—which are unsightly and uncomfortable. Here are two products that will help you find lip bliss in the midst of winter:

  • Aquaphor. Aquaphor is an incredible product that you can pick up at your local drugstore. I usually put it on, then use a clean towel to buff my lips. The dry skin comes right off, leaving my lips smooth and soft.
  • Young Living Cinnamint Lip Balm. I also apply this daily. I’ve used it for years, and it always gives me great results. The peppermint oil in it, which is absolutely wonderful, gives my lips a warm little tingle.

Immune System Support

Flu and cold season is in full swing, and it’s crucial that you take care of yourself. Aside from trying to avoid those who are sick, you can use these three products to keep yourself healthy.

  • Young Living Inner Defense. Young Living Inner Defense, which comes in pill capsules and contains health-reinforcing essential oils, is exactly the boost your immune system needs. I take one to two capsules per day as a preventative measure, and so far, so good! If you feel a cold coming on, you can take up to five per day.
  • Young Living Thieves Oil. To some, sanitizing everything in your house on a fairly regular basis might seem unnecessary, but to me, it’s just good sense. That’s why YL Thieves Oil, which has a 99.99 percent bacteria kill rate, is a must-have household item. I diffuse the oil in our apartment, which makes it smell and feel clean.
  • Thieves Household Cleaner. I also depend on this product to keep my house germ-free. It is non-toxic and has replaced most cleaning products in our home. We use it to clean the counters, all mirrors and glass, and the floors. I also spray it on a paper towel and use it to wipe down glasses, phones, and iPads—places that are usually skipped over during a cleaning spree but house a ton of bacteria! This household cleaner smells good, is safe, and gets the job done for a reasonable price. I recommend mixing about two capfuls with water in a spray bottle for cleaning.

When you succeed in keeping the cold from negatively affecting your face, skin, and immune system, you’ll be surprised by how much more bearable winter seems. Choose the products you need to put a spring in your step, and before you know it, spring will actually be here. And in the meantime, don’t forget to drink lots of water—it really does help to hydrate your hair, skin, and nails!

Your Spring Awakening: Mind, Body, and Soul

As the temperatures rise and the flowers start to bloom, do you catch the spring cleaning bug? If so, you’re not alone. If you’re anything like me, when the bright, warm rays of spring sunlight begin to finally stream through your windows, you feel the urge to make sure everything in your home is fresh, shiny, and dirt-free.

This year, I encourage you not to stop with sponging the baseboards, dusting off the shelves, and washing your windows. Take this opportunity to clean out your life, too! Think about it this way: Just as it’s easy for dust and clutter to accumulate (relatively) unnoticed during the short, dark days of winter, it’s also easy for bad habits, poor outlooks, and unhealthy relationships to pile up in your life. If you don’t make a conscious effort to detox, they’ll continue to hold you back and weigh you down. And what better time than during the renewal of spring to refresh your mind, body, and soul?

Read on for six ways to breathe some fresh springtime air into your life.

Clean your closet. A messy closet is a metaphor for a messy life. For many people, a reluctance to change something as simple as the contents of a closet is a symptom of a bigger problem. Maybe you’re afraid of change and what the future holds. Maybe you just ended a romantic relationship and are clinging to the past. Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your life overall and don’t feel ready to take the initiative to change it. Whatever the case may be, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Decluttering the spaces in your home will help declutter your life. I promise, there’s something really refreshing about walking into a clean, organized closet. It will make your mornings less stressful by cutting down on the time it takes to rifle through and find the perfect outfit for the day. And when you look good, you’ll feel good.

First, get rid of any clothes that are old or worn, that don’t fit, that you never wear, or that don’t honor you and your lifestyle (ask a friend for help if you want an outside perspective). Then, organize what’s left, and treat yourself to a few new pieces that embody the blooming spirit of spring. This is also a good time not only to give your closet a good scrub down, but also to evaluate your wardrobe. Your winter coats, wool scarves, and other cold weather items should be packed away until the fall to make room for floral prints and pastels.

Get some fresh air. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a location where it’s balmy all year round, you’ve probably been cooped up inside during the cold, icy winter months. Welcome the sunshine and springtime air by taking a walk (or run!) outside a few times a week. Not only will this help you clear your mind and make you feel more energized, it will also aid in shedding some of those unwanted pounds we all put on during the cold winter months. And as a special bonus, if you’re anything like me, seeing the beautiful colors of blooming flowers and trees will put you in a great mood for the whole day.

Do some weeding. I’m sure you know how a few weeds can ruin the beauty and health of a flowerbed…and also how quickly they can spread. Well, people are the same way. Individuals who are critical, mean-spirited, jealous, or just plain negative can spoil your own happiness and even infect you with their poor outlooks. It won’t be easy or enjoyable, but it is important to evaluate the relationships in your life.

Think especially about your friends: Are they supportive or snide? Do you feel energized when you spend time with them, or drained? Are compliments genuine or backhanded? If your friendship with a certain person isn’t enriching, back away. Choose to spend time with people whom you genuinely like and who make you feel good. Life is too short to spend time with people you don’t enjoy.

Set healthy boundaries. Moving away from toxic people is a good start when it comes to filling your life with healthy relationships…but don’t stop there! With everyone in your life—even with people who make you feel good and who have your best interests at heart—it’s important to set healthy boundaries. In other words, you need to be clear about what you need and what you expect from others.

For example, let people know what’s important to you. (“My birthday is something I really look forward to, and it’s important to me that we celebrate it as a family.”) Learn how and when to say no. Don’t let yourself be bullied or guilted into overcommitting and overextending yourself. Lastly, stop making excuses for other people; for instance, I’ll overlook that comment—that’s just how she is. If you don’t set clear boundaries like these, even good relationships can turn sour and become weighed down by resentment. But when you’re up-front about what’s best for you—in a kind way, of course—you’ll enjoy more authentic, mutually beneficial relationships.

Get rid of bad habits. Chances are, you can name several of your bad habits off the top of your head, and some focused thought would probably reveal a few more. Maybe you’re always running late or you’ve been overspending lately. Perhaps you tend to procrastinate on big projects until the last minute, or you stuff yourself with junk food when you’re stressed.

The truth is, we all have bad habits. And here’s the good news: You can change them! You can consciously improve your reactions, change your routines, and become healthier (mentally, emotionally, and physically!). For this spring cleaning project, pick one bad habit—something that causes you a lot of stress would be a good choice. Then design a game plan that will enable you to kick it once and for all. For instance, if you’re always dragging into work late, you might set out your clothes and pack your lunch the night before, wake up 15 minutes earlier, and refrain from turning on the TV until after you’re showered and dressed. You’ll probably find that in most instances, bad habits really aren’t that difficult to change. Summoning the motivation to change and taking that first step are the hardest parts!

Plant yourself in something new! If you want a flower to bloom as beautifully as possible, you make sure it’s planted in nutrient-rich soil and placed in a spot with just the right amount of sunlight, warmth, and water. The same principle will hold true for you, too. You’ll blossom when you’re doing things that make you feel happy and fulfilled. As the days get longer, take this opportunity to finally sign up for that art class you’ve been dying to try, for example, or attend a hot yoga session with a friend.

Overall, as you work to spring clean your life, I advise you to simply be aware. Be aware of what feels good and what doesn’t, of what’s healthy and what isn’t, of what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Try to pay attention to areas of your life that you normally take for granted, and ask yourself, Is this working? Does it honor the person I am right here and right now? You may be surprised by how much dead weight has been holding you back…and by how quickly you bloom when it’s gone!

Spring (Wardrobe) Awakening: Four Fresh Accessories That Will Wake Up Last Year’s Wardrobe

As you flip through fashion magazines and keep your eye on the displays in your favorite stores, you’re probably getting excited about all of the new spring and summer styles that are making their debuts. You’d love to go out and completely overhaul your wardrobe so that you’re on the cutting edge of all the latest trends. There’s only one problem: You aren’t made of money, and new clothes aren’t free. (Plus, if you’re honest, most of the pieces in your closet are still really nice.)

Here’s the good news: You can make last year’s wardrobe look fresh for spring by targeting a few key accessories.

I’ve always been amazed by how much of an impact accessories can have. They can really define your whole outfit. So if you want to update your look for spring but don’t want to break the bank, focus on acquiring some versatile accessories that will breathe new life into a variety of outfits. In this post, I’m going to share four of my top accessory recommendations for spring and summer:

Pick up a new purse. A new handbag is a wonderful way to make last year’s wardrobe look fresh—and they can be found at all price points, too, so you can spend as much or as little as you want. Here are some options to consider:

• Neon colors are fresh, in-your-face, and will certainly make you stand out in a crowd. In fact, Chanel is doing green and orange nylon bags this season, which is something completely new for them!

• A white bag will immediately freshen up your whole look. Just make sure to purchase one that’s made of an easy-to-clean material, like leather, since white does tend to show dirt.

• Leopard-print bags might not seem versatile at first glance, but I promise that they are. Leopard works with black, white, and earth tones, and it will also tone down a bright or neon outfit.

• Floral patterns are big this season. Look for a purse in a print you love!

• Mixed media bags (for instance, a leather bag trimmed in raffia) can bridge the gap between classic and cutting-edge. They’re also visually interesting without necessarily being in-your-face.

Freshen up your footwear. There’s nothing like a pair of new shoes to wake up what you’re wearing. Flats are always a good idea since they’re stylish and comfortable. You can take black and white clothes from last year and mix them with floral-print flats to instantly update your look. Metallic flats are also a good idea, since they’re the ultimate neutral: eye-catching and universally flattering. And if you’re feeling daring, look for a colored shoe that can add a bright pop of blue, red, or orange to an otherwise head-to-toe black outfit (you don’t want to wear head-to-toe anything or the fashion police may arrest you!). You can also reverse the look and wear a colored dress with a black and white shoe.

Let yourself sparkle and shine. Jewelry can be a fun and inexpensive way to update just about any outfit. A piece with colored stones or enamel will add a fun pop of color to a black and white or neutral outfit. And with this season’s styles, you don’t have to play it safe—so look for neons and other bright colors. On the other hand, crystals are the perfect neutral when it comes to jewelry, whether it’s an earring, a necklace, or a cuff. There isn’t anything crystals don’t go with, and they can be dressed up or dressed down. Plus, unlike neons, they won’t go out of style as the seasons pass.

Wrap yourself up (in a scarf, that is!). These days, scarves aren’t limited to your grandmother’s bulky, scratchy, cable-knitted wool. They’re full-blown fashion accessories, and they can add a touch of fun, whimsy, or even elegance to an outfit. I think that a metallic gold scarf or animal print in a silk chiffon are great purchases that will give you a lot of mileage since they will go with everything. If you’re looking for more color, then go with a solid. And remember, a larger scarf in linen, silk, or pashmina can double as a shawl if you get chilly in an air-conditioned space.

The best thing about accessories is that—unlike a shirt or dress—you can wear them every day if you want to. Most accessories will work with a variety of different styles and looks, so experiment with your purchases. You’ll probably be surprised—and extremely pleased—by how far they’ll go and how fabulous they’ll make you feel!

Get Your Wardrobe in Bloom: Seven Ways to Be Fashion Forward as You Put a Spring in Your Step

Whether you’re going by the calendar or by the flowers and sunny skies outside your window, the verdict is clear: Winter has officially left the building. For women, the recent season change means that it’s finally time to pack away gloves, bulky sweaters, and puffy coats…and start sporting a shapelier silhouette! Without a doubt, this spring’s emerging fashion trends will fill your wardrobe with a welcome burst of color and excitement.

One of the best aspects of warmer weather is the fact that you can finally shed some layers. Spring is definitely a great time to breathe some new life into your wardrobe. However, I also know that from Fashion Week to special magazine spreads, all of the new trends can be somewhat overwhelming. Be careful not to go overboard when you hit the stores, because you don’t want to end up with a closet full of clothes that looked great in theory, but that you really don’t feel comfortable wearing. My advice is to start spicing up your spring wardrobe with a few key pieces that represent some of the season’s most exciting trends and work from there.

Read on for seven tips to help you look fashion forward while feeling great this spring:

Slip into some colored jeans. This season, colored jeans, ranging from mid-tones to neons to pastels, are everywhere. And with so many colors and cuts to choose from, they can be flattering to any body type at any age. I recommend pairing your colored jeans with black or white accessories such as a jacket, tee-shirt, and/or shoe for an impressive level of sophistication.

Specifically, look for some “Tangerine Tango.” According to Pantone, 2012’s color of the year is “Tangerine Tango,” an eye-catching reddish orange. It’s showing up in home décor, fashion, and accessories, and the trendy hue can range from peach to red to everything in between. You’ll definitely want to jump on this citrusy bandwagon, so don’t be afraid to put a splash of orange into your wardrobe…or even into your living room!

You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for beauty. When it comes to footwear, flats continue to be very popular for spring and summer. And since there are plenty of styles, prints, and colors to choose from, there’s a flat to fit every personality. Flats are a smart and versatile choice because they’re comfortable and are appropriate for day and evening. This spring, I recommend choosing from popular florals, neons, metallics, animal prints, and even geometric patterns—like squares or dots—as you add to your collection. What you put on your feet really can take your outfit from “average” to “interesting”!

Consider wearing white head to toe. Yes, we all look forward to wearing bright spring colors. But sometimes there’s nothing more fabulous than wearing white! Depending on your coloration, look for optic (bright) white or creamy white, and don’t be afraid to wear it head to toe. You’ll stand out, and you’ll exude vibes as light and airy as spring breezes. As an added bonus, creamy white in particular can look great year round. (Forget that old Labor Day rule!)

Incorporate some earth tones. Whites and eye-catching hues look fabulous, but you don’t want to go into “bright overload.” In other words, don’t rid your wardrobe of neutrals. Earth tones in particular are making a very sophisticated statement for the spring and summer seasons. I suggest mixing them with white or black for a classic look. You can also pair them with one of the new brighter tones like orange, pink, or yellow. For instance, choosing to put a bright shirt with an earth-toned suit might be the difference between basic and brilliant!

Don’t forget your hands and feet. It’s natural to be focused on clothes and accessories as you shake off the winter wardrobe blues. But as you’re shopping, build in time to get a fresh manicure and pedicure. Polishing up your nails and coating them in a color you love is essential this time of year as you get ready to break out the summer sandals.

Say hello to summer scarves. Scarves aren’t just for winter anymore. They’ve graduated from a way to keep warm to a full-blown fashion accessory! Scarves in lighter fabrics are a wonderful way to add that extra “pop” to your look or to try a fun color without committing to the entire outfit. Plus, a shawl made of linen, silk, or pashmina can even pull double-duty as a scarf or as a wrap if it gets cool in an air-conditioned space.

As you bring spring into your closet, feel free to try all of the trends that pique your curiosity. Just remember that the most important aspect of any piece, in any season, is how it makes you feel. As long as you’re comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, you’ll have a renewed spring in your step…and you’ll draw eyes in all of the best possible ways.