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Flowers are associated with spring, and yes, they are fresh and colorful. But it is so, so easy to go overboard with blooms, unless you are planting a garden. Instead of an entire dress of peonies, consider a light, fresh top with a solid bottom. Or go for an even smaller presence with accessories. Check out floral-print purses or floral neckline details (like Michelle Obama wore at last summer’s Democratic convention), or even some giant pins or detailed necklaces.

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What you need: The bare essentials for spring fashion
After a long, frugal winter, closets are hitting a desperation point...
LINCOLN, NB April 7, 2009

After a long, frugal winter, closets are hitting a desperation point.
Here's a list of this seasonís biggest trends, all of which can be found at all price points ó from designer brands to thrift shops. Think ruffles and big accessories this spring: J. Crew tiered ruffle top, $44 at J.Crew, with an H&M skirt, $39.90. The big necklace also is from J. Crew, $150 at jcrew.com.

Cardigans: It seems to be the top pick of the season. This is not your grandpaís buttoned-down sweater (although that version is out there too). This time around, cardigans are lightweight, long-sleeved or short-sleeved, with deep v-necks or round necks. They are buttoned, or open and belted.

There are lots of bright colors out there, but neutrals like gray and black make sense, too. But watch out: They come in different lengths, and that can be tricky. Check it out from behind to see if it works for you.

The Big Necklace:
Taking a page from the award shows, these bigger-than-life, chunky necklaces can become the dominant factor and work best with nonfussy necklines. If you donít want to buy one, stylists suggest layering several necklaces to achieve a similar look.

Maybe itís a reaction to the gloomy economic news or simply a statement of the season, but brights and neons like orange, yellow and turquoise are everywhere. Small doses in purses, shoes and lightweight scarves may be the way to go with these hues. Black and white, sharp and crisp are still classics.

The Ruffle, aka The Flounce:
Part of the whole romantic look this spring, ruffles, pleating, draping ó especially on blouses ó are a soft way to go. If you are considering buying a classic white shirt, ruffles are what is making it trendy this spring. But like the flowers, donít let the flounce take over the blouse.

This season, either heels are so high they need platforms, or theyíre so low they hardly have any heel at all. The best thing about them are the bright colors and metallics. Those gladiator strappy sandals are still around but less cumbersome this season.

Boyfriend jackets and vests:
Wearing these give garments an updated vintage feeling, so the fabrics are what bring them into the 21st century. The one-button wonders with padded shoulders have been reincarnated without the squarish look, but still are quite reminiscent of Molly Ringwald.

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