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Aimée Gowland is a local fashion expert and stylist who specializes in personal shopping, wardrobe consultation and private shopping excursions.

Aimée’s Spring ’09 Trend Report: 10 Inspiring Guidelinesask1

The looks of spring 2009 provide fashion inspiration for real women to embrace. Be mindful of what works for you, though. Consider what is age- and shape-appropriate before making purchases (or leaving the house).

1) Mellow Yellow and Brights
The official “it” color of spring 2009 is yellow, and it’s available in everything from a greenish-yellow hue to school bus yellow. Don’t be tempted to intermix brights with black (way too eighties). Couple with white, denim or other brights for a contemporary look.

2) Tribal Beat
Ethnic prints are a classic, but don’t limit your fashion safari to just prints. Try chunky tribal jewelry or obi belts. Avoid the costume effect by limiting your global looks to just one or two pieces worn together.

3) Boy Crazy
The boyfriend look is at its best with crisply tailored classics with a feminine twist. The secret to pulling off this look without appearing too androgynous is to balance menswear pieces with something fem: a fitted vest over a day dress, slouchy rolled up men’s jeans with a soft floral shirt.

4) Dionysius
The one-shoulder dress is one of the hottest trends of the season, and one that translates easily to real life. Ruching and draping are also goddess characteristics and do a great job of masking problem areas.

5) Crazy Legs
The crop (also called 7/8 length) pant is one of the newer looks to take the runway, but it’s certainly nothing new to women everywhere who have faithfully worn capris in warm weather for years. Softer legs—on jumpsuits, pants and crops—give this version of the pant wearability, as long as you keep the volume under control.  Approach with caution, though. For maximum flattery, the pant should hang in a straight line from your bottom. That way it skims over thighs without clinging.

6) Floral Fantasy
Florals and other sweet prints are perfect for spring’s dresses, and the look can be either ladylike or boho.

7) Sheer Genius
Layered over solid pieces, the transparent trend can actually be quite reserved. When worn with a nude lining the effect is ethereal. Illusion-top (sheer netting) dresses are another alternative and can be found at great prices; think ballet dancer. One word on wearing sheer: Either buy lingerie that is meant to be seen (pretty camis, nude slips) or keep it completely out of sight.

8) Architecture
A little 3D goes a long way. If you’re going for more texture than drama, try the bandage dress or one with pleats and tiers.

9) Geometry Class
Geometric prints work for everyone if you scale the print to your size (smaller women should wear smaller or more abstract prints, while larger frames can carry off the really bold prints).

10) Cheap, Chic and Eco-Smart

Many mass-market retailers are selling collections this spring from major fashion designers. Affordable wares such as shoes, handbags and clothing can be found by designers Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Abaeté, Alice and Olivia and Lela Rose.
Green is all the rage but not just as a spring hue. Build classic wardrobes with eco-anything or cleverly recycled (vintage) finds. Even Earth Day can be in vogue!

Q. What is the historical significance of the “Easter bonnet”? ask2

May, Lower Garden District

A. Traditionally, Easter represented a time to wear new attire in harmony with the renewal of the Christian theological calendar and the promise of spiritual rebirth and redemption. The Easter bonnet denotes the essence of that tradition. Today, the Easter bonnet is typically a type of hat women and girls wear to Easter services and a parade following Mass. Historically, ladies purchased new and elaborate designs for church services, in particular Easter, taking the opportunity to buy luxury items at the conclusion of Lent.

Irving Berlin, the Jewish American composer and lyricist, fixed the Easter bonnet in popular culture with his reference to New York City’s Easter Parade, which makes its way down Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

In your Easter Bonnet
With all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.

In New Orleans, plenty of opportunity exists to be frilly and grand. On Easter Sunday, several events allow you to don your bonnet:

•    The Historic French Quarter Parade leaves Arnaud’s Restaurant mid-morning.
•    The Chris Owens’ Easter Parade starts with breakfast at the Astor Crowne Hotel at 11 a.m., with the parade rolling at 1 p.m.
•    The Annual Gay Parade through the French Quarter starts at 3 p.m.
•    The St. Charles Avenue Easter Parade rolls down the Avenue starting with breakfast at the House of Broel at 11 a.m.

If you don’t plan on creating your own Easter bonnet from plastic eggs, chicks and flowers, original designs can be purchased or custom ordered from these local stores:

Fleur de Paris Millinery New Orleans
523 Royal St.
525-1899

Yvonne LaFleur
8131 Hampson St.
866-9666