Lighten up your closet with this season's fresh new looks. Lisa Haynes reviews the trends to put a spring back in your step
With the rainiest January on record behind us, your wardrobe deserves an injection of spring cheer.
Luckily, this season delivers, with mouthwatering pastels, bold prints and fierce florals for an instant closet pick-me-up.
The catwalk message is clear for spring/summer 14: go bold or go home. Dark and dainty pieces are few and far between, so be courageous with your trend shopping.
Just a few high-fashion statement pieces are enough to revive your current spring staples. For good chiconomics, invest now and you'll get an entire season's wear.
Say hello to your new season gloom-fighters...
Refreshing sorbet shades of mint, lavender, peach and powdery pinks and blues are an instant palette cleanser for spring.
The freshest way to wear them is top-to-toe in one hue. Balance out the girliness with an androgynous silhouette - a tailored suit will look pale and interesting paired with a white shirt.
Texture is all-important. Look to fabrics like lace and leather to add an edge to pretty pastels. You'll even find traditional black biker jackets in pastel leather colourways for a spring staple.
Wear your pastels now by teaming a skirt or trousers with a grey crew-neck sweater to tone down the colour.
Checks were big for winter but they've gone wholesome for spring with girly gingham.
Any colourway goes in these country-inspired checks. Pastels will make your gingham look uber-pretty, red or blue brights make a statement, while traditional black and white are more accessible.
Floaty dresses and smocks are the feminine way to work this trend, but for a more contemporary look, opt for structured shapes, like scuba-style T-shirts or pencil skirts.
Gingham may be a playful print but it can work for the office too, in the form of sharp, tailored trousers. Dress down with flat loafers or pointed pumps, and just add heels for business-like glamour.
Delicate petals are out, gargantuan blooms are in. Impactful prints are this season's floral reincarnation.
In the form of hothouse and tropical blooms, often as one statement bud, florals have been supersized for spring.
Wear as one bright piece or double up your petal power with matching two-piece sets. There are plenty of floral dresses out there, but you'll also discover standout separates and accessories.
To bridge the gap between winter and spring, pick out bouquet prints with navy or black backdrops.
Every season introduces a new 'It' shade and 2014 has got the blues; specifically cobalt.
Wear the cool hue as an accent or top-to-toe statement. For a true blue takeover, mix things up using contrasting textures, like a leather skirt and silk shirt, or cotton dress and fluffy overcoat.
Team with grey or black now and freshen up with stark white once the weather turns brighter.
Cobalt blue can be worn right now without looking like you're being too spring premature - this is a hue that works equally as well with opaque tights as bare legs.
The minimalist movement has gone on vacation for spring/summer 14, and maximalism reigns in the form of abstract, arty patterns that resemble a Jackson Pollock painting.
From paint splatter to bold brushstroke designs, this is not a look for shrinking violets.
Paint the town red - and blue and yellow and green - and opt for bright, primary colours to really make a statement. Block panels of black will ensure your arty pieces are a little more restrained.
For a more muted masterpiece, look for one accent paint colour against grey or white and turn your wardrobe into a virtual gallery.
Get the look
Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding flies high in the fashion stakes in top-to-toe mono bird prints. Flap to it and snap up her Boutique by Jaeger Bird Tuxedo Jacket, £80; and matching Jacquard Trousers, £49; on sale now at House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).
Buy it now
Celebrate the Chinese Year of the Horse with The Cambridge Satchel Company's shoulder candy. A new bespoke horse stamp has been added to the 'stable' of embossing options. Get free embossing and gift wrapping with satchels purchased online until February 14. Prices from £108 for 'The Classic' (www.cambridgesatchel.com).
:: Knit one...
Create a woolly wonder with LoveKnitting.com's search for the knitting world's next big talent. The online store has teamed up with esteemed colleges, including London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, to launch the competition. Entrants must design a pattern for an item of men's or women's knitwear and send it in along with two photographs of the final item before April 30. The winning design will be sold on LoveKnitting.com and scoop a cash prize of £1,000. For more information, visit www.loveknitting.com/britains-next-top-knitwear-designer
:: Size savvy
Forget asking 'does my bum look big in this?' The majority of men are clueless when it comes to their partner's dress size. Despite buying clothes for their partner in the past, 50% confess that they have 'no idea' of their other half's measurements, according to a survey by www.vouchercloud.com. Two thirds, 65%, admitted to getting it wrong on shopping sprees on at least one occasion. Thank goodness for store receipts and return policies.