Springspiration…

The weather has been allergy- (and frustration-) inducing. It’s warm one day and cool the next; if you wear pants and a light jacket you’re sweating in the sun but if you opt for bare legs and a cardigan, you’re a shivering mess. So, how to make the transition work so you can stay warm-ish and still look springy? Here are some ideas:

Dark tights and a floral dress:

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A floral dress (especially one with a black background) looks great for spring when paired with black, navy, or dark gray tights. Add cute little lace-ups like these and a small mix-hued bag to keep the look cool and understated.

Break out your neon jeans… warmly.

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We're all dying to throw on our neon jeans with a little white or navy tee and some open-toed platforms, but hold on there, sister. Keep it appropriate for the likely cool breezes with a warm, slouchy knit top and the addition of a scarf and boots. Keep your accessories and top in a neutral palette so as not to take away from your cool pants. 

Shorts and tights and silk, oh my!

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The shorts-and-tights look is totally working for me. Make sure you're covered head to toe with a long-sleeved blouse and cool booties, and you won't feel cold at all in a cute little outfit like this.

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Matteify for the moment

Nails, nails, nails. Can we ever get enough? Here is something on my spring It List: Matte nail polish. Now, I realize that the matte look had its moment last summer, but I think we can bring it back if we want to. Pros and cons?

The only real con I can think of is, you’ll need super-smooth nails to start. Any ridges or specks of dust will show through a matte polish dramatically so make sure you buff ’em really well. The other thing you should note is that you won’t be able to use traditional top coat with matte polish because it will ruin the whole process. Instead, just apply a third coat of your color and you should be good to go. Or, try a matte top coat instead (which can also be used to matte-ify glossier polishes). I really like Essie’s Matte About You matte finisher ($8, soap.com).

Pros? Having a matte mani says you’re cool and stylish with a little edge. It almost, almost looks up close as if you’ve colored your nails with a magic marker like you used to (or at least, like I used to) in grade school. It also adds one more item to your list of nail adventures. You can also have even more fun by trying a matte polish and adding glossy top coat to certain areas in a fun pattern. So, why not? Pick out a cool hue and get on with it!

Colorblocking for Beginners

Can I just go out on a limb and admit I kind of hate the whole colorblocking thing? It was here for a while and then it faded away and now, all of a sudden, it has drifted back. I own one dress that technically fits the trend (navy 60’s style DVF sheath with white blocks down each side) but the fact that one of the “colors” involved is not actually a color makes me think I missed the boat on this one. For me, the random pairing of colors, especially in large, chunky ways has just always been on the “no” list. I am a metropolitan girly girl who has only three speeds: floral prints, gauzey golds or black on black. Done.

But the other day, when heading out with Josh to take in the glorious April sun and watch neighborhood kids giggle their tooshies off at Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, I realized after we left the house that with my bag in play, I was actually working the colorblocking thing. By accident! With my white Levi’s and a tomato-red sweater from Madewell, I threw a hot pink Tiffany & Co. tote over my shoulder and hit the pavement. This made me realize that you can colorblock without wearing some bizarre mod-style dress with actual blocks of primary color all over. Here are some more ideas for you. Get happy, girls! We can do it.

The floaty fit and silky fabric of this Forever 21 mini dress is perfect for rocking the trend. You have two colors going on here, but they are not so loud as to speak over you. $32.80, forever21.com

Try a muted palette in diagonal "blocking" for a free-spirited effect. The high-low hemline on this little dress is perfect for offsetting the severity of traditional colorblocking. And it's only $52 on needsupplyco.com.

Try Something New: Lovely Lavender Lips

Lipstick is such an interesting thing. You can step out of your comfort zone, switching from your everyday color to something new and get tons of attention from people at work and home. You can also keep it moving day to day and play with all the spring colors. Doing this creates a fluid relationship with the project of lip adornment. I like to experiment and I own probably around 80 lipsticks and glosses, but there’s no need for you to become as lip-happy as I am; my poor boyfriend had to build a bookshelf in our laundry room to house the overflow that doesn’t fit in my cosmetics cabinet. You can keep it a little more streamlined by picking one or two fun and fresh new colors to try each season.

Shocking lavender lips are sexy for nighttime glam.

Which brings me to lavender. It’s such a beautiful color and one that many people might not dream of putting on their lips. I fondly remember an old makeup friend; for the longest time my ultimate favorite lipstick was Chanel’s “Violette.” This luxe, creamy stick was an ever-so-slightly pearlescent lavender with just enough pink in it to remain ladylike and enchanting. It was so beautiful. I was fifteen years old and I wore it every day of sophomore year until it was a sad little flattened shell of its former glory. Then I begged Mom for another stick and after that one died, we discovered that it had been discontinued. We were both horrified and saddened and have been wandering around the beauty counters ever since looking for something that matches Violette’s charms. To no avail.

Make like a Rihanna and try a glossy, pink-toned purple for day.

This season, a shocking ten years after the disappearance of Violette, pastel is major again and violet lips are showing up all over the place. I felt determined to find my old flame in new packaging, and I think I got pretty damn close. The new Duane Reade is a remodeled wonder filled with beauty goods for giddy girls, and I unearthed a $7 lipstick there last week and have received rave reviews. This creamy, long-last lipstick delivers plenty of shine and manages a purple pout without bluish tones. I’m obsessed and I think you might be too. And, since it’s super cheap, you won’t have to cry if this is one of those makeup trend moments that just isn’t your fave.

Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter in Gumdrop will make you feel like a model.

Easy Tip: Tint your Talons

Today, I actually self-inspired (ugh, aren’t writers the worst?) after working on a piece for ATC. It’s about spring nail trends and should be up in a few days. In any case, I was feeling out the whole ombre concept and I came across some really cool images around the Web. I’ve long adored the individual ombre in which each nail fades from dark to light within one color spectrum, but I had yet to experience the nail-to-nail ombre in which each nail is different color but from afar they appear to fade from one end of the hand to the other.

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This was my inspiration, but I didn't quite have my color act together.

I tried the look with a variety of shelved iridescent pinks from Chanel, Dior, and Essie that have accumulated over the past several beauty seasons. But I just didn’t have the perfect five to create the effect I wanted, so I ended up doing a less-than-perfect, still quite pretty fade that goes from deep purplish rose to creamy pearlescent citrus. As pretty as the nail colors looked together, something was missing and they seemed sort of disjointed. Another problem? My top coat was nowhere to be found. Solution?

I applied Essie’s “Petal Pink,” a very sheer light pink polish in lieu of top coat. When added on top of the nails, it served as a great unifier that sort of brought everything into the same palette while toning down the excess iridescence in some colors and warming up the flatness of others. I think I might be onto something here. The next time you paint your nails, why not warm them up or cool them off with the addition of a great tinted sheer instead of your standard top coat? You might just find this creative color mixing to be your best new plan!

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What do you think?
(And, yes, that is the second Starbys of the day in the background!)