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Midwest spring fashion: Warmth still required

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

It's almost time to hang up the coats, get out the jackets.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 9:15 am

CHICAGO – Spring fashion in the Midwest means finally shedding snow boots and down coats to embrace jackets and colorful scarves in bright colors and prints.

“For Chicago, really trendy women find ways to incorporate jackets in their spring wardrobe because we have to layer here into May,” said Farissa Knox, founder of the Chicago-based website What R U Wearing? “Finding great jackets you can play around with is something unique to the Midwest.”

John Bourgeois, who directs personal shopping in the Midwest for Macy's By Appointment, said his clients want “to embrace that spring trend, but she's going to do it with a boot still into May or she's going to do it with a moto jacket over her dress.”

Colors and prints

Pastel purples, pinks, blushes and blues are the color palette this season. Floral prints are especially prevalent.

“Pink is probably our most important color,” Bourgeois said.

He also sees an edgy contrast to the feminine florals: the continuation of the animal-print trend. He said it's manifesting in snake prints or animal prints done in panels.

Knox said she's seeing geometric prints and the black-and-white trend.

Styles and silhouettes

Shapes and silhouettes are loosening up from the ankle-tight skinny jean.

“Pants are a little softer this year,” Bourgeois said, while skirts are both fitted, pencil-style and with a flared hemline. “The fabrication is very soft and flowy and whimsical,” he said.

Knox gives the example of a boyfriend slim jean, a combination of the boyfriend cut and the skinny cut.

“You can roll it up, wear it with heels,” she said. “Silhouettes are getting less tight and more of a mix between the tight and the loose.”

Skirts are staying at the classic over-the-knee length, Knox said, which works for multiple body types.

Must-haves

A few items are popping up on must-have lists. Both Bourgeois and Knox identify moto jackets — short, slim-cut, zipper-front jackets — as a wardrobe need for the spring.

“You want to be able to throw it on with a dress and still be warm but look great,” Knox said.

Bourgeois said he thinks tote bags, especially winged totes, are big in Chicago. He also said trench coats and scarves in vibrant prints and colors can inject spring into wardrobes.

Knox said the team at her website is obsessed with mule shoes because “designers are incorporating metallic, pops of color.”

She also said the white button-down shirt is another way women in colder climates can stay warm but also embrace spring.