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Rainboots and Sarongs Spice Up Spring Fashion

Observer Scene | Friday, April 4, 2008

It’s time to cast off the shackles of winter and rejoice in the fashion freedom that is spring. Banish the mittens, chunky scarves and earmuffs. Spring is here to liberate you from the winter blues, drab wardrobe and sweatpants. As you plan your spring style, here are some tips to help you shine.


Now that Uggs are no longer necessary to your survival, you can expand your horizons. Despite appearance, there is more out there than just furry, tan boots. Use the nice weather as encouragement to try out new styles.

Rain boots are always a nice, practical staple, with lots of styling potential. With their new found popularity, it seems that there may be no end to the variety of styles available. No doubt with the multitude of colors and patterns you can find a pair that tickles your fancy.

Whether you like cute polka dots, chic plaid, vintage yellow or playful graphics, rain boots can give your outfit a nice pop. Plus, for those of us a little tight on cash, you can find these gems in a variety of price ranges. Stores from Target to DSW to JCrew all seem smitten with this trend. It’s hard not to love a practical guard against puddles that doesn’t look like your grandpa’s fishing boots.


A neat pattern, whether a romantic floral or a bold geometric design, never fails to give your wardrobe some more depth.

While this trend may help you mix things up, remember to approach with caution. Excessive, clashing patterns are not only a fashion no-no but also a head ache to look at.

Mixing and matching prints is more than fine, but make sure some complimentary factor ties the different pieces together. For example, contrast a masculine plaid with a feminine floral or compliment similar colors and styles.


One thing Notre Dame “fashionistas” know how to do is layer. It’s the cardinal rule of South Bend styling – so don’t get rid of all winter supplies just yet.

For cute looks on a low budget, make the most of what you already have. Scarves can be retied and wrapped in funky, new ways, and worn over a casual t-shirt for a relaxed look that is more sophisticated than jeans and a t-shirt.

Same goes for hats, a cool and underused accessory.

Sweaters are ideal for April’s constantly shifting weather. Whipping this layer on and off can not only help you adjust to DeBartolo’s hot and cold extremes, but also adds an interesting additional aspect to your look.


Perhaps the most versatile piece that you can use in any season is a sarong.

It may come as a surprise, but sarongs are amazingly useful. For those who have not discovered their fabulous potential, a sarong is basically a huge piece of fabric, usually about 6 feet long and 3.5 feet wide.

Classic sarongs usually have an Asian, particularly Indian, look with bright colors and metallic accents. But the trend has diversified recently, so they are also available in simple solids, flirty florals and still bold, brilliant hues. Sometimes they are stiffer fabrics, other times they are thicker and warm, and sometimes they are loose, thin or crinkly.

Sarongs can be used in many ways. In the fall and winter they are best used as full scarves. In the summer, skirts and dresses work on and off the beach.

For spring, the possibilities are endless. Scarves, skirts, tops and dress creations are totally acceptable when incorporated with weather appropriate additions, like leggings. Wrap, tie, and twist until your heart’s content.

Whatever may appeal to your spring whims, take risks, go to extremes or try something new. That’s what spring is all about. Just remember to flatter your body; you’ll look good and feel even better. Otherwise take the liberty of the season to be true to your own inner style guru and explore.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Jess Shaffer at [email protected]