Go sickly sweet in this season's pastel tones for Easter. Lisa Haynes shows you how to hit a stylish sugar high.
Avoiding the super-sweet temptations of Easter is always tricky, but this season there are more than just chocolate eggs to contend with.
Confectionery-inspired shades are this spring's colours to OD on. For style inspiration, open up a packet of Mini Eggs or Flying Saucers and pick your favourite hue. Choose from bluebell, rose, lemon, mint or lavender tones, or indulge in a combination to up the pastel ante.
It's not all sweetness and light when it comes to sugary shades: "Pastels are very wearable, but you need to choose not only the shade carefully but how you wear it," says Fiona Wellins at Colour Me Beautiful (www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk).
Time to visit the high street's version of a sweet shop. Just don't tell your dentist.
Show restraint with your sugar content by dipping into the pastel trend with one statement piece, like a dress, skirt or jacket.
The distinction between a pretty pastel or power pastel is controlled by the silhouette. Go with floaty, flowing hemlines for a feminine vibe, or sharp, structured shapes for a cool, androgynous look.
When choosing your solo pastel hue, Wellins has this advice: "You can wear the pastels away from your face, but it can be tricky wearing lighter shades on your bottom half as they highlight any imperfections.
"Experiment and mix up your pastel shades to create a look that suits you - they add subtle colour to neutrals and look fresh as a daisy mixed with white."
Wearing similar hues of the same pastel tone immediately creates a put-together look. You need to be dedicated to the colour in question if you're wearing it head-to-toe. For a quick test, place the pastel directly under your face and see how it alters your complexion.
"These delicate shades can look ultra-feminine but not everyone can work head-to-toe pastel," warns Wellins. "While fairer colourings can carry them off beautifully, darker hair and skin tones will find they need colours that pack more punch.
"Try mixing your preferred pastel tone with bolder colours in the same colour family, for example, a rose pink under a hot pink jacket or powder blue under a cobalt blue."
If you're mixing up same tone separates and overcoats, add some variety to your look with contrasting accessories.
Pick 'n' mix
Style experimenters might feel bold enough to carry off the sweetest of pastel pile-ups. Think pick 'n' mix effect styling.
Combine two or three contrasting hues for a pastel clash. Because these sugary shades all have a pale, cool tone, they're surprisingly sweet mixed together, like an ice cream sundae.
This look works best with simple shapes, so the focus is on the colour combining, rather than fussy details. Stick to cocoon shape coats, sleek shift dresses and plain tote bags. Fabrics are all-important too: "Pastels in shiny fabrics will turn them into something a bit more special for occasionwear, and transparent fabrics make them look ultra-feminine," Wellins suggests.
If you're not brave enough to go with multiple coloured separates, work one key pastel staple and clash it with a statement accessory, like a pale lemon coat with baby blue heels.
Get the look
Oh to be a celebrity. Actress Jessica Alba has been spotted in H&M's Conscious Exclusive Collection weeks before the launch date. Each piece has been made using sustainable fabrics including organic silk and organic leather. Opt for summery goth glamour in Jessica's cream lace dress, £129.99, available in selected stores and online at www.hm.com/gb from April 10.
Buy it now
The best possible excuse for shopping? When your style supports charity. The Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign is back for its 18th year, featuring a host of high street giants including M&S, Debenhams, Topshop, River Island and Laura Ashley, with items carrying a minimum 30% donation, on sale from April 7. Find your favourite piece at www.fashiontargetsbreastcancer.org.uk
:: Appy shoppers
The traditional Saturday stroll down the high street is fast being replaced by sofa shopping. A quarter of people (25%) start their online shopping by using an app, according to Cotton USA's latest Global Lifestyle Monitor report. The majority of shoppers (57%) use the internet to buy clothing, however 38% use it to research the best prices for clothing, and almost a third (32%) browse the latest styles. Almost half of people (48%) shop online at least once every two months.
:: Recessionista alert
Research suggests that 63% of women are wearing the incorrect bra size. Debenhams aims to change the stats with their 2014 Bra Fit Campaign. Get a boost with a free bra fitting in store and receive a voucher for £5 off when you spend over £30 on lingerie. Offer available in stores nationwide from April 6-26 (www.debenhams.com).