- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2007

Tired of wearing that same chunky sweater, the one that looked so up to the minute in November but has become covered in fuzz balls?

What about those clunky knee-high boots? They felt great those first cold weeks of winter, but wouldn’t a cool new wedge sandal be a welcome relief?

Though it’s freezing outside, it’s warming up inside the stores as spring fashions blossom and miniskirts, capped-sleeve blouses and summer swing dresses push aside heavy sweaters, dark wool pants and turtlenecks.

But warm weather is still too far away for you to wear most of those sweet new looks.

“I understand the frustration — it’s cold outside, but the stores have spring and summer collections,” says Lois Joy Johnson, beauty and fashion director for More magazine. “The fashion industry is on a different schedule than the way women live. There used to be a very clear season called transitional clothing. It’s vanished. We speed straight from wool into light cottons.”

So here are some suggestions for what you can do right now to fight winter-wardrobe fatigue:

Stacey Pecor, owner of the New York boutique chain Olive & Bette’s:

Miss Pecor suggests picking up a spring blouse and wearing it under a dark suit. A capped-sleeve blouse — a good look this spring — in white, cream, navy or red with some embroidered flowers or ruffles can be just the piece to lighten up a heavy winter outfit.

She also recommends pairing spring’s tank jersey dresses (you can wear them over a turtleneck or with a cardigan) with patterned tights and knee-high boots. Or buy new pants to wear with your sweaters, Miss Pecor says.

“There’s some great wide-leg pants that are in stores right now,” she says. Don’t forget to look for jeans with the new higher rises.

Lois Joy Johnson, beauty and fashion director, More magazine:

When weather permits, exchange your knee-high boots for spring’s platform pumps or something in a metallic, she suggests. A matte silver or gold wedge, platform or ballet flat will be big this spring. No more stilettos, she says.

“If you want to wear pants and have a leggier look, you can have some height with platforms,” she says. “If you want to be more grounded and you are into the ‘60s dresses — that kind of looser, A-line dress — the flats look amazing.”

Or buy a white shirt and wear it under a leather jacket. Light white cotton blouses with puffed sleeves and V-neck lines are popular. She also suggests adding a metallic belt and handbag to freshen an all-black look.

“Between accessories and one or two pieces in proportion, you can keep wearing the same clothes,” she says. “Rather than saying, ‘I can’t wait to wear spring clothes,’ you can sort of edge into it this way.”

Jayne Chase and Jennifer Goodkind, hosts of the radio show “A Fashionable Life” on WGCH-AM (1490) in Greenwich, Conn.:

Trade in the sterling silver for some gold, Miss Chase says. “Gold is the new silver in jewelry,” she says. “Gold bangles and gold cuffs, bright-colored gems set in gold.”

Never underestimate the power of new makeup, they advise. “Makeup is an easy way to make a difference in your look and gives you a new attitude as well,” Miss Goodkind says. “Experiment with red [lipstick]. … Find a shade that works with your skin tone and pair it with a natural face.”

Joanna Mastroianni, New York fashion designer:

Add some color. There are more seasonless colors, says Miss Mastroianni, who even included black as part of her spring collection.

“We don’t put colors into categories anymore,” she says. “You can always wear red, orange.” Spend some time putting together combinations you’ve never tried before, she advises.

“What’s fun is to take the look and add other elements,” she says. “Play with things. Try on your jacket. Try on different earrings with it. It’s amazing when you mix and match different outfits what you get.”

Patricia Handschiegel, editor of stylediary.net:

What if you really want a new sweater, coat or a pair of wool pants?

Most stores have cleared out their winter inventory, so your best bet is to shop online, Miss Handschiegel says.

“You will go crazy digging through the racks,” she says. “You can browse at your leisure online and get good winter stuff. The best part is it’s 75 percent off. And if you really need it in a pinch, most places offer quick delivery.” Her recommendation: shopbop.com.

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