The purchase of a new accessory is the best way to give a quick update to last year's spring wardrobe without breaking your clothing budget.
There are four key looks in accessories this spring to keep in mind: blue and green jewelry, shoes in metallic finishes, ankle-strap cork wedges and clutch handbags.
* Jewelry: Jewelry ranges in hues of blue from lapis to turquoise to sky blue. It's worn alone or in combination with shades of green. You might use your jewelry to pick up two colors in a color-blocked dress or contrast a neon shade.
This isn't the season for dainty pendants. Bold is better. The must-have is a big statement necklace.
"The big thing is chunky, brighter colors. Do a soft feminine outfit with a fun, trendy piece of jewelry like the statement necklace," said Courtney Gravett, manager of Francesca's Collections in Hamilton Corner.
* Shoes: It's all about the ankle. Last season's wedge/platform shoe continues into spring/summer designs, but this season's cork wedge is paired with ankle straps or straps that crisscross the top of the foot then encircle the ankle, similar to a slingback.
Metallic finishes will be worn day and evening. Even casual sandals are piped in metallic cording.
* Handbag: The clutch bag is synonymous with a tiny, strapless evening bag embellished with sequins or a structured leather foldover popular in the 1950s and '60s.
But the clutch is the signature look among this summer's accessories. It's a revived retro look in bright colors that pop against clothing.
You'll see the clutch in small envelope styles as well as larger versions, called the day clutch. The day clutch is actually large enough to carry more necessities than keys, ID, credit card and cellphone, yet still grasp it in your hand.
Some day clutches include a wristlet strap attached for extra security when holding. Many day clutches are styled for versatility, such as the cross-body bag with removable strap that becomes a clutch.
"For purses, the big thing is to have a fun bright color to accent your wardrobe," said Gravett. "Your purse doesn't have to match your shoe color anymore."
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...