NEW SPRING ARRIVALS

Hello Sunshine!

sunshine fbookcover
allison blue topTop: “IVY 2” by Monikova – $130
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Shoes: “RENOWN QUARTER STRAP” by Hush Puppies Canada – $85
Necklace by Kyle Osnack

allison yellow ivyTunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Shoes: “RENOWN ANKLE STRAP” by Hush Puppies Canada – $115

jane allison ivy monikovaBoth Tunics: “IVY” by Monikova – $145
Pants: “PRADA CROPPED JEAN” by Brenda Beddome – $135
Blue shoes: “SLUMBER PUMP” by Hush Puppies Canada– $120
Brown shoes: “RENOWN ANKLE STRAP” by Hush Puppies – $115

jane annie 50
Dress: “SUNSET” by Annie 50 – $204
Shoes: “SLUMBER PUMP” by 
Hush Puppies Canada – $120
Bracelet: Kyle Osnack

jane monikovaTunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145

 

 

julia allison mandala monikovaDress: “ALEXIS” by Mandala Design – $128
Tunic: “IVY” by Monikova – $145

julia mandalaDress: “ALEXIS” by Mandala Design – $128

julia ritaDress: “CHRISTINA” by Rita Di Cesare – $159
Necklace: Kyle Osnack – $280

Topping it Off: Spring Jackets to Finish Your Look

High of 14 degrees today? I’ll take it!
Spring has arrived at last, and with it a chance to wear all those cute outfits you’ve been pining for through the cold winter (and early spring) months!

leonie red

The finishing touch of any great spring outfit is a fabulous jacket. Adding a stylish topper can be the perfect finishing touch! At Fresh Collective we have a love affair with Soia & Kyo – a wonderful (and proudly Canadian) line of outerwear. Their 2013 Spring collection is  structured, simple and creates a great silhouette. Check out the gorgeous styles we carry below:

The Swagger Coach: Folklore – The Tale of the Floral Pants

swagger coach

We know the rules. Black is slimming. Choose looser, skimming styles to hide a belly. Keep skirt hems around the knee, and avoid volume. Pick pants with a straight leg to minimize hips.

This leaves me, and other fuller-figured gals, with a rather rectangular wardrobe. Doesn’t that sound like fun? So at the end of the day, if we follow all of these fashion rules, we’ll end up looking five pounds lighter, but we’ll also have the most boring, lackluster wardrobe in the world. Sign me up!

This weekend I was shopping around Toronto, looking to fluff up my spring wardrobe (after stocking up at Fresh Collective, of course. Its hard NOT to shop while you work when you work here), but was not looking for anything in particular. One of the trends I’ve been shamelessly attracted to for the season is those beautiful, lush floral prints. I recently picked up a pastel floral jacket, and even a funky floral pair of wedge heels, but have stayed away from the floral pants for a while, keeping those “fashion rules” in mind.

You may have read in earlier posts, I’ve kind of got a crush on my legs. After hiding them in bootcut jeans for years, I’ve realized that they’re very curvy, but well-suiting, and highlighting them makes me feel sexy, shapely and feminine. I’ve rocked skinny jeans to accentuate my curves rather than hiding them for some time now, but have stuck to mostly dark or mid-rinse denims. So you can imagine that, once I saw those brightly-toned floral jeans, thrown over a rack at a fitting room, I felt a mix of contempt and interest, with an air of challenge. Okay, jeans, lets try this. One leg on. The other one on. Button. Fly. Wiggle.

Pants1They did exactly what I expected them to. They totally brought attention to my legs and butt. And as I looked at myself in the mirror, I wondered how I had gone without them for this long. Yes, they definitely attracted attention to the parts they covered, but what’s so bad about that? I mean, I’ve never been one to think that a well-draped dress can make me look like a size 6, but I’m very aware that dressing for your size is the most flattering strategy of all, rather than trying to fool people into thinking you’re (at most) a size or two smaller than you actually are. So, if the goal is to flatter the body you have, why the heck was I so intimidated by these pants? They were good pants, and fulfilled their job nicely; They covered my butt and made me look like a rock star.

So I’ve been thinking about the concept of “fashion rules” and exactly what they achieve. It must take a lot of effort, time and control to make oneself look so very ordinary, and I wonder what the pull is behind the action. So here’s what I have to say on these so-called “fashion rules”, and ways to observe but challenge them. After all, rules are meant to be broken.

BLACK IS SLIMMING – Yes, black is slimming, and can be a powerful tool in not just drawing attention away from one area, but to highlight a different one! It absolutely breaks my heart to see people dressing in all-dark colours solely for the purpose of appearing thinner. How much more of an impact would they make with, say, a tailored black pant, topped with a vibrant structured top which brings the attention upward? Or a cool black leather jacket to offset textured jeans or a printed skirt? Black, like fudge cupcakes, should be something used (eaten?) in moderation. It’s striking, dramatic, and a great canvas for your brights to pop and take the spotlight, so make sure you’re adding some light to your dark!

Spring colours and prints from Mandala Design!

Spring colours and prints from Mandala Design!

LOOSE CLOTHES HIDE AN IMPERFECT FIGURE – Again, this can be true at times. For example, I have a pair of cropped pants (polka dotted!) which I absolutely HAD to own. They’re very retro, super-slim fitting, but low rise, which I’m not usually a fan of, since they can create an off muffin-top effect. With those pants, I choose longer flowwy tops to create a flattering silhouette. What I do NOT do is pair a wide-leg trouser with a loose-fitting top, and then throw a chunky cardigan over top. Some gals look as though they’re drowning in their clothes, and it ends up attracting more attention (the bad kind) and hides any shape you have under layers upon layers of clothes. Come on, ladies, I’m all for the bohemian tunic trend, but remember to offset a breezy piece with a well-fitted garment to create balance and flow.

PRINTS ATTRACT ATTENTION – True at times, but people seem to forget that prints also camouflage a whole lot too. Panty-lines, that tiny stain from your egg salad sandwich which should have ended up in your mouth but ended up in your lap, baby drool, and all the good stuff life throws at you. All of those can be ancient history if you’re wearing a well-printed garment. Prints also create (what we have lovingly dubbed here at Fresh Collective) “visual confusion” as the eye is attracted to the print itself, rather than the shape of the person underneath. Large, bright prints create interest and drama, while smaller prints in more neutral colours simply add dimension to your look. Many professional stylists advise clients to incorporate SOME kind of print into EVERY outfit to create a focus point, so get comfy, because prints are making appearances everywhere. Pick a printed shoe, jacket, or bag for a “pop of print” or get sassy with an exceptionally flattering allover printed dress to highlight your rockin’ silhouette. Get on with your bad self, girl.

Our friend, Adaline embracing prints at Fresh Collective, then rocking them onstage at Canadian Music Week!

Our friend, Adaline embracing prints at Fresh Collective, then rocking the popular printed pants from Brenda Beddome onstage at Canadian Music Week!

KEEP SKIRTS LONG TO CONCEAL LEGS – Have you ever seen a curvier gal in a below-the-knee-length, loose-fitting skirt? Have you noticed just how much volume that ADDS to the silhouette? Skirts are often a tricky area for many body types including mine. I’m only 5’4″, and I have a long torso, so finding skirts which are flattering on short legs is a bit of a challenge. I’ve found that leaner styles are most flattering on curvier gals, and love my collection of Bionic pencil skirts which channel a bit of Christina Hendricks’ Mad Men style. Alternatively, shorter skirts can flatter just as well, but should be kept flouncy and flirty to make them look sweet and feminine, not as though I’m heading to the club to fist pump until 4am. Snookie happened for a reason, ladies, and we should learn from her. This is a great way to play up the print trend too, pair a fun skirt with a classic oxford for an office-friendly look, or toss on a cute tank and some sandals and hit the downtown core for an afternoon of patios and shopping!

PANTS SHOULD FALL STRAIGHT DOWN FROM THE HIP –  Not always. What kind of look are you trying to create? I’m a fan of playing up my curves, and I’m relatively obsessed with the 50’s, so I typically choose a skinnier pant which accentuates the shape of my legs. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities to rock a wider-leg pant. There’s a big difference between wearing a wide leg pant because you want to create an effect, and wearing a wide leg pant because you think its your only option and the sole shape which will flatter your body. Wider bottoms create a column affect. This can be desirable in menswear inspired pieces, and is also super prominent in the upcoming global fashion wave, but it also eliminates any curves you’ve got throughout your bottom half. I love being a girl, and being shaped like a girl, and I simply can’t imagine hunting down items which negate my curves and make me look blocky, for fear of looking TOO curvy.

Here’s the secret: Your body has already decided what shape it is, and now it’s given you full control over dressing it accordingly and with love and pride!  Take a good long look at yourself in the mirror today, and pick out your best features and parts, and think of ways to play up these wonderful, wonderful attributes. Cutie booty? Shapely legs? Perfectly flat tummy? Be proud of the features which make you look like a rock star/pinup/Superwoman and give them center stage to shine. Having trouble seeing this for yourself? Drop me a line at Jamie@freshcollective.com and I’ll reply. We can chat about ways to create a great sense of balance and self-love through your wardrobe, and discover what sorts of new fashion territory you can cover confidently!

Happy spring, folks! See you next week!

SPRING ARRIVALS: BRENDA BEDDOME, ANNIE 50, APA DESIGN, ADDRESS APPAREL


It’s MARCH and that means I get to start singing this song in my head to convince myself that the icy blast of winter is losing its power and soon I’ll be strutting around in a sundress and sandals. The next thought that comes to mind? I NEED NEW DRESSES AND SANDALS…
Uh oh…
Conveniently enough, pretty spring dresses, cropped pants, and sparkling spring jewels are arriving at Fresh Collective in full force!
Here’s another peek at what’s new!

BRENDA BEDDOME

Any woman who appreciates comfort, quality, versatility, and flattering cuts in her wardrobe. BRENDA BEDDOME designs garments for all women who care about how they look and how they wear clothing. They are women who want comfort and style, and clothes that fit and flatter their figure – whether a size 4 or a size 16. BRENDA BEDDOME’s designs add versatility to any wardrobe, particularly through convertible pieces which offer customers new options for how a piece can be worn.

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Find BENDA BEDDOME on: Facebook

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ANNIE 50

Inspired by the Fifties, the collections emphasize femininity and a flair for cuteness.  Often snug, cozy, and displaying classic designs of the era, the clothes attract a young crowd with a passion for Rock and Roll as much as a more mature crowd looking for originality and femininity.

address spring 5

Find Annie 50 on: Facebook

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APA DESIGN

Apa Design is a Toronto based jewellery company owned and operated by principle designer Andrea Apa. Her beautiful pieces are delicate and radiant, and she specializes in custom work clients and helping their ideas come to light.

apa01 apa02

Find Apa Design on: Facebook

(Andrea is hosting an event to celebrate the launch of her spring line THURSDAY NIGHT at Fresh Collective Roncesvalles! 7:30 pm! Click here for more details!)

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ADDRESS APPAREL

Since 1998, Toronto-based designer Mark Foreman has worked to create a brand that is unique with its combination of classically-styled elements and fashion forward design.

Creating a name for himself with Bionic, he is well known for his wrap dresses and bold patterned fabrics, Mark has successfully captured the wants and needs of women seeking a flattering cut and style.

Teaming with Kelly A. Blair, a successful designer in her own right, together they reach for the next level with the creation of Address Apparel. Innovative styles along with vibrant colours, comfort and quality make Address a timeless staple for both office or play.

address spring 1

address spring 4

Find Address Apparel on: Facebook

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Are you as excited as I am? What is your must-have spring item that you just can’t wait to get out and snag for the season?
Let us know in the comments below!

What to Wear Wednesday – Prints & Pinks

What to Wear Wednesday - Prints & Pinks

What to Wear Wednesday – Prints & Pinks by freshcollective

Hard to imagine when the weather is this dismal, but Spring IS just around the corner (we must keep telling ourselves that)! So I put together a look with some hot seasonal trends featuring great new Fresh Collective arrivals!

TOP: The Joan Cowl top from Paper People Clothing adds a bright colour pop to an otherwise black and white outfit. It’s a great way to introduce spring brights slowly (but boldly)!

PANTS: These cropped pants from Brenda Beddome are one of my favourite new arrivals of the season so far! They perfectly capture two of the hottest trends of the coming season: Black & White, and Bold Prints!

CARDIGAN: It’s still too soon to go sleeve-free so top of your look with a smart black cardigan like this one from Mandala to stay toasty.

BOOTS: I would ideally pair this outfit with a cute pair of flats for spring, but today I couldn’t fathom it, so instead, added weatherproof Hush Puppies boots, and I think it’s an unexpected footwear choice that really makes the look!

EARRINGS: These cute studs from Curious Oddities compliment the printed pants just right and really complete the look with a touch of vintage flair.

Spring Arrivals: Curious Oddities, Paper People Clothing, Kollontai, Soia & Kyo

Spring has begun arriving at Fresh Collective and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s a sampling of some of our latest and greatest for Spring 2013…

CURIOUS ODDITIES:

With her vivid imagination, designer Kat Shura sees a story in everything and seeks to unveil the magic in all she touches. Her current collection features a wide variety of salvaged treasures accented with premium quality, traditionally pressed, antiqued and silver plated brass.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Find Curious Oddities on: Facebook :: Twitter

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KOLLONTAI:

Kollontaï is the Montreal-based fashion label of Gabrielle Tousignant and a workshop employing over twenty people who share a passion for made-in-Canada fashion apparel! Each garment combines uniqueness, aesthetic appeal, comfort, and quality. The rich interplay of colors, textures, transparencies and lace create a distinctive style inspired by lingerie.

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Find Kollontai on: Facebook

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SOIA & KYO:

Since it’s debut in 2004, Soia & Kyo has made a name for itself thanks to its fabulous fit, intricate detailing and unique styling: oversized buttons, asymmetric and structured collars, wide belts and contrast trims that create looks which are young and trendy with an urban sensibility and retro twist.
SandK Benetta SandK Lonie

Find Soia & Kyo on: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

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PAPER PEOPLE CLOTHING:

Paper People aims for those versatile items that express the wearer yet are appropriate for any occasion. Customers appreciate the one of a kind nature of the reclaimed pieces as well as the eclectic tonal, textural and print variations within each garment.  Environmentally conscious pieces from new textiles often incorporate contrast from reclaimed materials or screen printed accents adding a touch of the unique, handmade aesthetic.

PP penny dress PP rosemary

To celebrate the arrival of the Paper People Clothing Penny Dress (pictured above), we will be giving one away to a lucky guest at tonight’s Sustainable Fashion Book Launch! There are a few guest spots available so RSVP now!

Find Paper People Clothing on: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest

The Swagger Coach: Whoah-oh-oh Jamie’s Crying (with EXCITEMENT!)

swagger coach

Bright, vibrant shades. Swirly, whimsical patterns. The ability to wear shoes without socks. Heck, the ability to wear shoes in general. Spring is a-coming, folks, and I’m super excited to feel wind on my legs and sun on my shoulders again. Will I be that girl dancing like a lunatic in the park in flip-flops and a summer skirt during the first semi-decent weekend in March? Possibly, but consider it my ode to the upcoming season rather than a chemical imbalance inside the ole’ noggin.

I’m a fashion fiend and a tragic over-spender, so any change of season creates a rush inside of me that can only be compared to new love, or possibly a really well-made pasta dish. Your wardrobe is your uniform, and it conveys more about you than you know. Are you fussy with details and accents like trimming and buttons? Are you simple and classic like a well-fitting pair of jeans and a cute tee? Are you a girl-on-the-go in yoga pants and a hoodie? What you wear is the image your project unto the world, and if your outfits start to form a pattern, it begins to tell a bit more about you as a person, your lifestyle, your attitude. Right now, my outfit tells me that I’m the lovechild between the citizens of Pleasantville and Shoshanna from Girls. I’m in a coral pleated dress, a white lace-on-knit cardigan and a matching set of pearl earrings and necklace. Tonight I’ll likely be in skinny jeans, knee-high boots, a long layered necklace and a fitted top, since I’ll be hitting a show at the Hard Rock. The following day, I may not even wear pants since I have no plans other than cleaning my apartment and doing dishes. Oversized t-shirt for the win.

My wardrobe is stylistically diverse, and I keep it that way to prevent myself from falling into the “trend trap”, where it appears as though your entire collection of clothing was supplied by the same fast-fashion retailer. I play with trends, but I’m not a slave to them, and like to keep a hint of retro flair in my outfits to keep things unexpected and playful. I get plenty of inspiration from the lovely ladies I work with and our outstandingly creative, funky customers, and would love to share my top three style-friendly trends for spring with you, primarily so that I’m not the only one hyperventilating about them. Basically, come to my store and flap around like a maniacal bird with me, there’s strength in numbers.

1) OXFORDS – I have always loved oxfords. When I was in high school, I found the most hideous pair of size 7 men’s oxfords in a thrift store, and although I knew I’d likely never get the chance to wear them (they really were decrepit) I had to have them and took them home. I racked my brain trying to find an excuse to break out these bad boys, but alas, it was late summer and they were roughly 5 lbs apiece. That chance didn’t come until early October, when it dawned on me. I collected an oversized blazer, tuxedo pants and a top hat, and a ruffled shirt. I drew two lines from the corners of my mouth to the sides of my chin, and darkened my eyes and eyebrows. I was a haunted ventriloquist dummy for Halloween. Times have changed and the oxfords of this spring are ladylike and classic, rather than boxy and clunky. Plus, with the vintage trend emerging in full-force, the oxford pattern is now found on bags, skirts and even sunglasses. Oh, and these (below) are coming to my store in both black and brown in the upcoming weeks, and are from one of my favourite shoe lines. Pardon me while I take out a line of credit, this season is going to hit me like a ton of bricks.

spring oxford

2) CORAL – Every season I have a colour crush. During the winter season, it was mustard. The one before was emerald and before that (in the summer) I was obsessed with butter yellow. Once every couple of years I fall head over heels with coral, which is (in my opinion) the most universally flattering shade on almost any skin tone, and is the quickest way to liven up a complexion since cream blush. Picking a shade can be a bit tricky, so my best suggestion is the most well-known: Stick out your bottom lip, as though you’re pouting, and the deepest shade of pinky-coral is your best match. This season, orange-based corals are hot, so take that in stride and keep an eye open for those peachy-pinks and grapefruit tones! In store, we’re expecting our best-selling Yoga Jeans in a brand-new shade called Cardinal (vibrant coral) and our year-round essential Paper People tops in a similar shade. We’re also getting the farewell piece from the Fresh Baked Goods collection, the Lauren dress, in coral as well. I wouldn’t suggest wearing them together, per se, but individually these are sure to punch up your wardrobe in a splashy way!

spring coral

3) BELTS – I remember low-rise jeans. I know you do too. Now here’s the dilemma: allow them to shimmy down your hips, or belt them for that exquisite muffin-top look that happens to everyone, regardless of how tight your mid-section is. Belts were things to be hated, and quickly became a staple accessory for the skater crowd of Avril Lavigne wannabes. Then someone in the fashion world sat back on their couch on a night off to watch Grease and said to themselves,”Hmm. Those high-waisted belts sure do create an awesome silhouette.” and suddenly the wide belt was back in fashion. Luckily for us, designers are working in fabrics like elastic, satin and leather for more contemporary versions of throwback styles, and words like “sash belt” and “skinny belt” are commonplace. If you were to walk to your closet right now, you’d find at least five different pieces that could be contemporized or refreshed by adding a belt. Personally (and I know I’m biased here, but you’ve got to see them to understand) I’m absolutely in love with the Susana Erazo belts (carried at Fresh Collective!) which all feature elastic sides, adjustable widths (like a bra strap, they’re unbelievable) and oversized leather-bound buttons as clasps. Her collections also include wide sash belts and skinny classic ones, but the way I see it, the bigger the better! I’ve collected several in classic tones, intense colours and funky combos but my all-time favourite is a whiskey-coloured leather one with two buttons. Love love love.

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What are you excited for this spring? Are there any trends which you’re interested in but unsure of how to pull off? Picked up a wicked item but just not sure how to pair it for a modern, stylish effect? I love getting feedback from our fans, so send in your comments and questions! You can reach me at Jamie@freshcollective.com and I’m available for advice, style tips or just to listen to you rant about your terrible ex. Better yet, swing by the Kensington Fresh Collective location and we can do it in person. See you soon friends!

Guest Blog: Style Coach Liz Parker on how to ReFRESH your Spring Wardrobe!

We’re excited to have the stylish, spirited and oh-so-fun Liz Parker with us tomorrow night for our ReFRESH YOUR WARDROBE event at our Queen Street store tomorrow night! 

Read on to get to know Liz a bit better and find out more about this fun event and the insight she’ll be sharing!
liz guest

I’m quite excited by the event coming up with Fresh Collective on Wednesday night.  What I love about fashion is it’s an instant, daily, obvious way to express yourself.  For some people, fashion is pure instinct and talent; for others, it takes a bit of work figuring out what works and their bodies types, and why.

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Once you get the basics down – which is learning what fits your body – you can build from there.  Start with the basic in your wardrobe (little black dress, jeans, tops) and then build on that (experimenting with colour, prints, accessories, shoes).
I follow the fashion trends as a hobby and obsession.  I remember Estee Lauder’s perfume “Beautiful” featuring Pauliza Porizkova as a bride in the 90s, following the sexually charged “Obsession” ads by Calvin Klein, which were less acceptable in the wake of the then AIDS crisis of the late 80s.  I remember when cargo pants became the rage in the early 00s … because of the war in Iraq.  It became trendy to resemble the troops.  Fashion reflects both our times, as well as you, and where you’re at.
I’ll be chatting about some of the trends we can actually wear.


1)  Black and White (yay!  Don’t we all have a pair of black pants and a white top?).  It doesn’t have to be boring; I’ll show you how to add a pop of colour to freshen up your outfit.

1Black and white

2) Prints (don’t be afraid of prints.  I’ll wear them on my pants, but if that’s scary, then I’ll show you how to ease into this trend)
2Prints
3) Flats and low heels (THANK GOD.  I hate high heels.) Please note: flats does not mean “baked potato” shoes.  You can be quite stylish in practical shoes.
3Flats
4) What do I wear with jeans? I’m hearing that a lot of you come into the store asking this.  I’ll bring in a pair of jeans and show you how I wear ’em.  I love a fashion challenge, and helping any person of any body type find the right fit and feel really good about his or her outfit.
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I look forward to seeing you there!
xo – LP


Meet Liz at Fresh Collective Queen St TOMORROW NIGHT for our ReFRESH Your Wardrobe Event. Click here to learn more and RSVP!


Spring 2013 Trend Report

On a cold winter day, it seems like spring is an impossible distance away, but I assure you, it’s coming sooner than you think – especially to stores! We have new spring product on it’s way as soon as next week!

Warm up your day by getting excited about spring fashion… Here are a few trends to look out for:

Spring 2013 Trends - B&W/Bold Stripes

Spring 2013 Trends – B&W/Bold Stripes by freshcollective on Polyvore

These two trends go wonderfully hand in hand. Big, bold stripes made their way across the runway for spring, vertical, horizontal, paneled, all over! Black and white appeared over and over as well in polka dots, blocking, geoprints and of course, stripes. Classic cuts keep the modern prints demure.

Spring 2013 - Light & Bright

Spring 2013 – Light & Bright by freshcollective on Polyvore

Ahhh the best part about spring fashion, brightening up your days with sweet spring colours! This season is full of bright nectarines, yellows and emeralds (the Pantone colour of the year). Check out this year’s spring colour palette from Pantone:
P1colors

Spring 2013 trends - globetrotting glam

Spring 2013 trends – globetrotting glam by freshcollective on Polyvore

While the geoprints that dominated last year still remain, a new print trend emerged on the spring runways. Gorgeous Eastern and African inspired textiles and prints graced the catwalks. Whether layered or paired with basics this trend is a fun way to add some excitement and playfulness to your wardrobe!