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Spring Forward: Top 5 Must-Haves for the New Season

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As daylight savings time forces us to lose an hour of sleep and spring forward, you should be thinking about acquiring some new pieces for your spring and summer wardrobe. In a conversation with Art Attack, John Maguire, dress buyer, and Jennifer Cunningham, contemporary buyer at Tootsies, one of Houston's top-tier boutique department stores, laid out this year's spring and summer must-haves.

1. Prints According to Maguire, the basic necessity for summer is having a versatile printed dress. Designers such as Nicole Miller and Alexis have been embracing the new tribal print trend and incorporating it into their lines.

"Prints are big, especially tribal and Hawaiian prints. Those are really big for the season, and not just in dresses, but also in accessories. There are a lot of graphic and tribal prints, especially in scarves. It really changes the whole outfit. People come in and see dresses that are just a solid color, but I say don't look at it like just a solid dress, look at the fact that it's a canvas for you to essentially paint on, with a belt, with jewelry or with a printed scarf."

2. Color blocking The biggest trend and the most obvious change from last year's collections is probably the amount of color. Stella McCartney, Nicole Miller and Lyn Devon are good examples of designers who are splashing bold colors into their lines.

"Yellow and tangerine are a color trend. It's ridiculous. Everything is yellow and tangerine. It's all over the market. I think every year people say color is a trend, but this year it's not only a trend, it's happening. I have never in my 13 years here bought and sold as much color as I have this season. Black is not selling. They're buying coral, pink, yellow -- it's incredible."

3. Leather Though it may seem like a heavier, more fall/winter fabric, leather is making an appearance this spring (and probably into the fall) in the form of a more lightweight, light-colored material. Cunningham explains that there is "tons of spring leather, lightweight, which is great for us in Texas. Lyn Devon has a lot of light-color suedes and leathers, such as white leather and metallic leather.

4. High-low hems In and around the Tootsies floor, there is an unbelievable amount of asymmetrical dresses, skirts and tops. That means the fabric is high in the front and low in the back. This is a change from last year's trend of the maxi dress, which was the floor-length, lightweight summer dress. This year, the high-low hem adds a little sex appeal, allowing you to showcase your shoes and a little bit of leg while still giving you coverage.

"It's a weird trend, because if the fabrication isn't right, it could be a disaster. I think it works best in solids for the most part," says Maguire.

In tops, the high-low trend really started last year when everybody started tucking in the front of their shirts and leaving their shirttails hanging out in the back. The creation of high-low tops is just an easier way to do it. Pair it with skinny jeans or shorts, something more fitted on the bottom to balance out the roomier top.

5. Colored Denim For people who prefer a more casual look, colored denim is this season's must-have. Cunningham introduces an array of skinny jeans in bold reds, greens, cobalt and pinks. The most interesting and eye-catching piece, perhaps in the whole store, is a new denim line called Bleulab. They are totally reversible, with one side coated with leather-like, colored denim, and the other side with a more traditional blue. The hardware also completely reverses, and all of the style information is in the fly. So really, it's two jeans for the price of one.

So how do people like Maguire and Cunningham discover these trends? They aren't Vogue or Elle. They're just buyers for a department store. But Maguire busts the myth: "We go to the showrooms, they go to the showrooms. We're the same as Vogue and Elle. Everybody thinks the buyers are reading magazines and deciding what to bring in based on their articles, but no, we already knew that three months ago. When Vogue was in the showroom, so were we. We don't rely on those magazines; we rely on the market."

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