Let me get this out of the way—you can’t go wrong with florals for spring. When all you’ve been seeing for months is dreary colors outside with no signs of life, seeing buds and flowers sprouting can inspire you to reflect them in your wardrobe. Most clothing lines include some type of floral print in their spring styles for that reason—spring and florals go together like peanut butter and jelly. While the style is far from out-of-season, it might be a little . . . expected. I’m not going all Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada about florals. But to her character’s point, since florals will never go out of style for spring, it can be fun to look for other bright, lively, and even some unexpected spring trends to perk up your wardrobe this season.
This might be my favorite alternative to a floral pattern, and it’s popping up everywhere from baby clothes to women’s swimsuits. Instead of the expected flower print, lemons, cherries, strawberries, pineapples, and even avocados are bright and full of life like flowers in spring, but offer something a little more unique. If you’re not yet comfortable with going full-on fruit, you can pair fruit statement earrings (try lemons or watermelons!) with more muted clothing, such as a navy or black dress, or a chambray top with white jeans. The fruit dangling from your ears is sure to pop and be a conversation starter. Want to incorporate some fruitiness into your daily wardrobe but have to keep things more professional for work? Try a light outerwear piece, perfect for spring, that you can take off when you get to work like this strawberry raincoat.
01: One-piece swimsuit in strawberry print // $98
02: Wrap ruffled cherry skirt // $49
03: Avocado printed v-neck tee // $14
04: Strawberry shoulder tie dress // $69
05: Lemon tassel earrings // $45
Other sunny prints
Another way to add the printed look that floral brings to your wardrobe without going with classic flowers is to pick another print that’s equally as warm and springy. Quirky and jovial prints inspired by warmer weather have been popping up all over, and they are too fun not to dive into. Nothing says “here comes the sun” for spring like a sunglasses print (and the timeless silhouette of this dress doesn’t hurt either). Animals playing tennis might be the definition of unique; this springy print will bring a smile to your face every time you look in the mirror. If you can’t get to a coastal town for spring break, a print of one is the next best thing. Palm leaves or trees are another sunny print to remind you of warm weather and spring break, and can easily and naturally be worn into the summer. Neutral-colored palm leaf statement earrings can be paired with anything and are sure to brighten your outfit (and day) no matter what your spring weather looks like outside.
02: Short sleeve blouse in “Ivory Animals” // $45
03: Button through dress in “Ivory Sea View” // $91
04: Mid-rise plus-size shorts in “Palm Print” // $12.97
05: Palm leaf earrings in white // $29.50
Another sweet, classic pattern that—like a floral—will put some spring in your step is a polka-dot pattern. While polka dots can obviously be worn all year round, they tend to disappear in the winter months (along with most other prints and colors), giving way to dark, neutral, and plain canvases. Whether in small or big dots, in a timeless or a trendy print, polka dots are a fun yet still business-appropriate way to signal that spring is here. From head to toe, polka dots can be found on any clothing article and seamlessly incorporated into your outfit—or make a statement in and of themselves. Even though you don’t have to wait until Memorial Day to wear white (those rules are outdated!), if you’re not ready to wear white in early spring, white with black polka dots is a perfect way to make the transition. Similarly, if you’re not quite ready for all the color spring brings (or the weather outside isn’t), try a darker background color (like black, navy, or olive green) with white polka dots. This option gives you a more wintry color that still allows a glimmer of the warmth and whimsy that is to come.
01: Plisse tie-front green polka dot jumpsuit // $13.50
02: Belted linen polka dot dress in “Tuscan Sun” // $119
03: Midi slip skirt in “Black/White Dots” // $29.99
04: High waisted polka dot wrap midi skirt // $34.95
05: Espadrille wedges in “Multi Spot/Natural Linen” // $130
From shirts and shorts to swim, gingham is popping up all over the place this spring. The timeless yet trendy pattern can be toned down in black (or navy) and white, or it can be brought to life when white alternates with a little more color. Gingham is a spring print you can still take to the office, such as in a classic sheath silhouette in work-appropriate colors like navy and white. As always, you can try a pop of gingham (such as on your shoes) or go for a removable outerwear piece, if you’re not ready for full-on gingham yet (though with a classy and cute silhouette like this dress, why not?). If color (pastels or brights) isn’t your thing, darker gingham might be your perfect option for spring—still fun and flirty, without venturing into color you’re not comfortable with.
01: Navy gingham tapered cotton pants // $46.50
02: Orange gingham midi skirt // $69.95
03: Twisted-knot pink gingham sandals // $128
04: Shirt dress in green gingham // $69
05: Gingham wrap midi dress in navy blue // $69.95
Pastels just might be the antidote to the neutral, dark landscape of winter. There is no better time to wear pastels than spring, when you can find these exact colors sprouting from the ground or blooming on trees (and—let’s be real—on Easter candy). A light spring jacket in a soft lavender might be the ultimate spring piece you’ll wear throughout the season (probably exactly what Miss Rhode Island was talking about when she described April 25 as the perfect date). If the weather hasn't exactly warmed up yet where you are, a light sweater in a pastel (try yellow) keeps you warm enough while signaling that you’re ready for spring. In addition to lavender and yellow, blush pink, mint green, and soft blues are core pastels. With their gentle palette, pastels can easily be worn from head to toe, paired with other colors, or worn simply with denim or white.
01: Scalloped lilac coat // $109
02: Lace-up d’orsay pointy toe flats in "Blush Rose" // $29.99
03: Mint green blazer // $34.99
04: Light blue striped jumpsuit // $39.99
05: Sleeveless tiered dress in “Pink” // $25
Staying with the theme of color, colorblocking—pairing two or more colors together in an outfit or item—is another fun way to go from the drab of a winter wardrobe to sunny spring style. The great (and easy) thing about colorblocking is that you can’t do it incorrectly; putting seemingly contrasting or random colors together allows for a lot of leeway! Still unsure where to start with this trend? No worries—several spring pieces are doing the job for you! From one-piece swimsuits, to swaying skirts, to springy sweaters and sandals, these pieces make colorblocking a no-brainer. Like every trend discussed, if the concept makes you a little wary, test the waters on your shoes or accessories first.
01: Orange, white, & pink one-piece bathing suit // $32.99
02: Red & pink striped pleated midi skirt // $58
03: Colorblock sweater // $39.99
04: Neon colorblock sandals // $98
Don’t have something in a fun spring print or bright or pastel colors? That’s okay—anything from your winter wardrobe that has a ruffle or frill to it can work for spring, too. The little bit (or big dose) of flare that a ruffle adds makes even a neutral coat or dark top fun and flirty enough for spring (especially if you pair it with white jeans or shorts). If you’re not sure about the girly look of ruffles, you can try it out with a swimsuit at the beach or on your spring vacation. If, on the other hand, you’re ready to dive right in, you can also combine ruffles with one or more other spring trends (like gingham and pastels) for a sure-fire spring look.
01: Double breasted trench coat in “Khaki” // $220
02: Red crocheted lace ruffle top // $90
03: Ruffled seersucker swimsuit // $49.99
04: Wrap ruffled A-line skirt in “Black Polka Dots” // $44.99
05: Ruffled midi wrap skirt in pink gingham // $98
Spring is a time to step outside our winter comfort zones (both literal and figurative). The prints, patterns, and frills that these spring trends offer still show the world it’s spring without the expected floral print. Have fun with what you can find in your closet and deals you can score in stores to put together a festive spring look.