Here in Montréal, we have a fervent Spring of the Mind, beginning now. We don't have Spring of the Temperature till sometime well into April, and I have seen wet flakes of snow on the first of May, but never mind. I saw the first terrasse open, groups of friends gathered, coats unbuttoned, hoisting a glass of beer or an espresso.
So, on a day like yesterday, about 8C/46F, strangers smiled at me; their dogs smiled at me, and I noticed the sartorial changes:
1. Sneakers on, or at least heavy boots off
Despite rivulets from melting snow, Montréalers fed up with winter are breaking out sneakers, and dirt be damned. Crocus colours in a not wildly costly version:
Onisutka Tigers by Asics; $75.
I cheat with Bogs, which are warm, waterproof, and come in happy colours. A spring-song harmony, the Plimsoll Prince of Wales in seasonal green (price, $145) keeps the splats off your legs:
2. Spring-coloured sweaters
A black sweater mutes hope; a graceful cardi courts contentment. Why go hyper-neutral with the colour, the sun's out? Ultrafine long cardigan in celestial blue from Eric Bompard; price, €217.
(I've found cashmere ultimately a better investment than cotton knit sweaters, which tend to bag and degrade, and therefore look discouraging in a year or two. You may have better luck!)
3. A bag that welcomes the weather
I wish more women would change their heavy, dark bags for something lighter in spring; those who do look wonderful.
But since many days will bring rain, a spring bag needs to be surprisingly hardy; delicate leathers can show water marks. I like coated canvas (aka good old oilcloth) for informal totes. You can play with prints, go Swedish modern, or Carry On however you please, for less than the tax on a leather bag.
Zippered Tote in a Cath Kidston print, from Etsy seller Hellomaterial; price, $22.
A black, white and grey print bag from Etsy seller KT Makes; price, about $38.
If you wish a dressier bag, or more features, browse Mat & Nat's spring line. Their synthetic leather bags (like Stella McCartney's, but in the low three digits) continue the Montréal designers' thoughtful styling and the new colours are seasonal without looking washed-out. Shown, the Jorga in Iris, large size, which can be worn crossbody or on the shoulder; price, $155.
And isn't it fun to say hello to what you have, after a winter packed away? Hi there, raincoat and umbrella, street shoes and white jeans, I'll wear you before long! I'm off to buy a pot of tulips or a spray of forsythia and join the smiling passers by.
Smiling at you, too!