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The season's new looks include some retro favorites

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Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

Spring hasn't exactly sprung in our part of the world, although there are signs that it can't be far away ...

The growing flocks of waterfowl on area lakes ...

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Residents' increasing lack of tolerance for the occasional snowy, blustery day ...

And the appearance of new fashions in local clothing stores.

And what fashions they are this season. Local retailers are definitely enthusiastic about what they have to offer and with good reason. There are styles to cater to a wide variety of tastes, personal preferences and body types this season. And there are also colors to suit, too, from vivid brights -- the perfect medicine for a case of cabin fever -- to a new network of neutrals.

What should you consider adding to your wardrobe this spring?

On www.fashion.about.com, Cynthia Nellis, a fashion journalist and former fashion buyer, lists these items as the 10 Wearable Spring Fashion Trends: dresses for every occasion (most notably the shirtdress); shorts (the Bermuda is back); crochet & lace (sweaters, lace-trimmed tanks); tiers & ruffles (ruffles on blouses, tiered long skirts); bows & scarves (softly tied at the waist, bust or back); neutrals (a muted palette accessorized with natural wood and straw); pure white (white jeans, shorts, shirts, dresses and skirts); blues & coral (sea-themed hues); novelty handbags (big, squishy shapes, natural materials, quilting, denim and bold prints.; and long necklaces & tassels (including layers of beads and gold, chunky chains).

All those looks are in evidence on the local scene, and many of the "hot" items for younger women reflect a return to the '80s, according to Shelley Chapin, manager at Vanity in the Northland Mall.

"There are a lot of '80s looks," she said. "Leggings are back. Crochet is back. Gauchos are huge, in denim, brown, black, dressy, knit, cotton, linen -- every fabric. ...The clothes are so fun this year. It's really like anything goes."

Tops are longer and are often belted, trimmed in bits of lace or sequins. Layering continues to be strong, stressed Chapin, with tank tops, Ts and camis peeking out from beneath a crocheted top, tunic or sweater.

The Vanity buyers sent out a fashion alert to the stores detailing the three hot trends in pants -- the crop pant, the Bermuda short and the gaucho.

"We're still getting short-shorts, too," Chapin said. "Take your pick. What do you want to wear?"

If Robyn Moser of The Stag Clothiers in downtown Worthington had to select one must-have item for the spring season, she would choose a jacket. For spring, jackets are shorter and boxier, many styled in the fashion of a jean jacket and often embellished with embroidery, beads, sequins or other doo-dads.

"You can do so many things with it," she said. "You can use it with jeans, dress pants, capris, a skirt."

There isn't one dominant color this year, although bright citrus tones such as tangerine and lime are very much in evidence as well as teals and aquas. On the other end of the spectrum are the earth tones, including hues such as cappuccino (a rich brown), sage green and clay.

Along with the varying lengths of pants, there's no one right hemline for skirts. The tiered, broomstick skirt -- almost sweeping the floor -- is back in full force, jazzed up in brilliant hues with a Bohemian, embellished flair. But there are also shorter skirts, more tailored and ending right above the knee. Border prints highlight many hemlines.

"The gauchos are not as full in the leg as they were before," noted Moser. "They're more of a cross between a skirt and a capri. And there are lots of cuffs on the pants -- big cuffs, not just little 2-inch cuffs, but 3- to 5-inch cuffs on capris and jeans."

And then there are the accessories. At Vanity, metallic sandals are all the range, with both kitten and wedge heels. Espadrilles are also making a comeback.

Jewelry reflects a similar retro feeling.

"Go and dig in grandma's jewelry box," advised Chapin. "Look for big beads, long chunky necklaces, long earrings. Jewelry is such a big thing right now."

Purses and handbags are carrying more weight as accessories this spring season. At The Stag, Moser has displayed purses that are decorated with beads, baubles and even oversized silk flowers.

Although the weather isn't appropriate quite yet for many of the spring looks, women are ready to shed their winter coats and embrace the new looks that spring brings.

"We've seen a lot of people looking this last month," said Chapin. "They're tired of their winter clothes."

"It's hard to know what to wear this time of year," acknowledged Moser. "I think we've also got some nice transitional things that will work now."

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