Let's look at how one outfit, a spring staple, can be either safe or smokin'.
Left, J. Crew cashmere crew-neck and narrow, flat-front khakis, a basic combo that most of us have, in some version. Easy to wear, maybe too easy for the 50+ woman to slip on without much thought, which is what I mean by "safe".
Let's start here, it's so much fun!
Raise the game with a statement necklace, the jeweled J. Crew Palm Leaf, $175, as shown on the model.
Prefer earrings? The Blue Shower chandelier from Matta, at Novica, a lush fall of turquoise for only $68.
Or Fragments Silver and Pink Enamel Large Flower Ring, below, $90.
Any one of these (and I will stop myself here) would twist the clothes from old-school preppy into a definite presence.
Small, classic shapes
A bitsy pair of ball studs or that fine gold chain your Aunt Emily gave you for high school graduation. Yes, it's real gold, and maybe sentimental. But it's time to leave them in the jewel box, give them to a beloved girl, or recycle into something that's "you" now.
I find the traditional engagement ring set also conventional, and jarring with sportswear. Wear just the band. For a fresh look, wear the band with a second, thinner band, a coloured-stone guard band in emerald, amethyst or tourmaline; this is a less aging style.
Dark leather in spring screams "practical". Still, I see them all the time, as if a woman just grabbed what's there in the hall closet. Hobo leather bag, $65, from Appleseeds.
If there's one thing that makes or breaks a spring look, its a seasonal bag.
J. Crew Magazine tote in orange, $78. A shot of colour sure tarts up the neutrals!
Durable and plain slip-ons; Regal Loafers, $88, from Appleseeds. Oh god, I hope I never see these in person.
Jack Rogers leather loafers, tan with pony hair top, $135 from SandalWorld.
You don't need all these accessories. Any two will do the trick.
Colour and risk- fleeing the too-practical- are the keys to a fresh, vibrant wardrobe, even if the clothes are dependable basics. I'll be bringing out some favourite spring accessories, and buying just a few more as I greet the return of light, birdsong and no winter boots.