Year after year, fashionable Chicago chicas take a gander at what comes down the spring designer runways via their favorite women’s magazines. The colors pop, the ruffles float and the studs and sparkles shine. The only problem is that most of us Chicago folk don’t have the dough, the body or the guts to flaunt any of these styles on an everyday basis. Having spent a lot of time in New York City, I can tell you that you see a lot more risk-taking in the arena of fashion than you do traipsing (stumbling?) down Damen Avenue on a Saturday night. By nature, Chicago people are less required to look like they descended from the world of model-dom. That, however, doesn’t mean we have to don a moth-eaten Bears sweatshirt from our uncle’s basement for the rest of eternity (although that is perfectly acceptable on a Sunday). Here are some ways to include the most vital trends of spring in your everyday ‘drobe.

Electric colors: You don’t have to pull a Rihanna and bust out an electric yellow bustier with studs and feathers to capitalize on ten trends at once. A simple scarf (available for under $10 at Old Navy or Target) or pair of electric yellow or blue earrings makes a Spring/Summer outfit pop. And don’t take those jokes about the 80’s unless you’ve chosen to combine the item with a tutu and Madonna tee.

Denim: It’s sort of back, in a scary way. If you don’t think you can pull off the denim-shirt-with-jeans look, try wearing a denim shirt with a flowered skirt. Both are available at Forever 21 at a steal. Onesies for women are something I wouldn’t try in denim unless you have a slammin’ bod and the desire to explain why you’re wearing a children’s item on a Saturday afternoon to go buy groceries. Sometimes some trends are best left to the pros. You can easily try the denim shirt or the skirt with no stress (the knee-length skirt with a certain flounce to it can be found at Ann Taylor and other women’s hub bubs).

Draped dress: If you don’t love your bod or just don’t like showing too much skin to your nephew’s christening, this is the dress for you. It comes in a variety of lengths and styles, so you can show some leg or stay classy with the non-mini versions. The draped layers don’t add bulk, and they cover those not-so-sexy spots. If you’re working out, but not quite ready for that summer bikini, this is the dress for you. It does the job, and how.

Grays/Nudes: How does this trend fit in with the electric colors, polka dots and prints we are going to see this spring? Very well, in fact. Wearing one gray/nude color from head to toe is actually slimming, and the trend is romantic and ethereal to boot. If you really want to capitalize on two trends, you can go for a nude-colored feather detail. Feathers are scary in brights, but a champagne pink feather here or there never hurt anyone. (Be wary of a head-to-toe Big Bird look, though.)

Feature Photo by mitch59

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