An early spring here has made women buzz like bees to honey to the shop windows, and caught some merchants short-handed.
I hit three department stores, hoping to find what my mother used to call "a handful of clothes", a few pieces or an accessory to greet the season. Seeking the magic triangle of quality, style and a decent price, I avoided both the perilously pricey and the lumpy lower ends.
The stores now display an abundant bouquet of dresses, many with floral themes, and much in silk, its waftiness appeals after winter wool. I loved Tahari's silk Ivy dress, $298, the charm in a placed print that differs in back:
I admired the wit in Tory Burch's Kamille deco-printed silk skirt ($325), with tromp-l'oeil gores. (At 21 inches, way too short for me.) You don't see this colourway: vibrant blue, chrome yellow, lavender and white; this stood out amid a sea of faded no-colours and navy.
Tahari's Tricia framed silk shirt ($198) was another pulse-quickener. It's quiet, but says something, and the silk is a supple midweight that doesn't feel like you're wearing a nightie.
I dithered. That shirt implies some upkeep and careful wear. Is that my life these days? Time for an allongé and a spin round accessories.
Aquitalia's Karma pump ($350): it's hard to find a black spring shoe, open yet closed, without a vertiginous heel. (It's also available in bone.) A perfect shoe that I could actually walk in.
I advocate the carrying of a seasonal bag; few effects jar like a bulky, heavy-looking bag with your crisp spring things. While the selection is good, it's wise to pounce.
I say Tory Buch's Robinson patent leather tote ($575) earns its price. The light neutral will work into fall (and even all year round, depending on where you live), the 16 x 12-inch size will hold a magazine or iPad, and patent leather wears and cleans well. It even has the endangered species of handbag features, brass feet. (Where did all the brass feet go, and aren't those hooks you're supposed to carry and hang your bag on, off a table, hideous?)
I'm also favouring the enforced discipline of a smaller bag like the Cole-Haan Sheila leather crossbody, 9 x 8 inches, either in punchy orange or a calm yellow-beige called "Sandalwood". And that's my problem: a budget means decisions; if this, not that.
I came home with my head full of silks, sightings and these luminous tulips. Spring on my table, if not on my back.