Floral sundresses with embellishment, like this one from The Royal Collection are always in style on warm spring days.

Floral sundresses with embellishment, like this one from The Royal Collection are always in style on warm spring days.

Spring in south Georgia means pollen, sunshine and temperatures that most parts of the country would consider to be more like summer.

But it also means that it is time to update your wardrobe. Get ready to step out in style with these helpful tips.

BRIGHT BLOCKS OF COLOR

Color is the big thing this year, and the brighter the better. Tangerine to coral, turquoise to teal and sunflower yellow are the must-have colors this spring, with accents in grape, navy, mint green, taupe and raspberry.

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Color blocking with bold hues is the single biggest trend this season, as is seen in this look from Blush. The white skinny jeans are also in high demand.

Big, bold blocks of the brightest hues will be seen everywhere from the runway to the outlet malls. Contrasting solid colors work together in tops, dresses, skirts and everything in between. Kate Henry, owner of Blush in Albany, says that color blocking is one of the biggest trends this year.

“Color block tops are huge this spring and summer, with really vibrant colors,” says Henry.

Neon colors, popular in the 1980s and early 1990s, will be making a resurgence.

For those who are hesitant to take on the bright colors, the spring staple of pastels are always viable and classic, according to Jessica Blair, owner of Verge in downtown Albany.

“Skinny jeans in pastels are big,” says Blair. “Case in point, J Crew. If you go to their website you are going to see corals and pastels. Pair that with a denim shirt. Very basic, simple but beautiful.”

Henry agrees.

“Different color skinny jeans from coral to white to Tiffany blue to red to royal blue” are important, she said.

And forget lots of black and chocolate brown. Leave those in your closet until fall. White is the important neutral this year. And expect to see lots of it.

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Lace is a big trend this spring, especially in long, flowy skirts like this one from Verge. White, taupe and beige are the go-to neutrals for the season.

AN EARTHY TREND

In the heat of Southwest Georgia, nothing is quite as comfortable as dresses or skirts. Long, flowy maxi dresses will be a central part of one’s wardrobe.

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This display from Dillards shows several major trends. The dress on the left, highlights the use of stripes and bold colors. The look in the center is an example of the bright coral tones that will be seen everywhere. And the dress on the right emphasizes the use of belts, as well as the popularity of sheer lace.

“Maxi dresses are still huge,” says Henry.

Bohemian skirts in linen or other lightweight cottons are perfect for this time of year.

“I think we’re going back to a very earthy trend, all natural,” says Blair.

Fabric trends are leaning toward the lighter weight the better. Soft cottons, linens and chiffons are all very popular and will continue to be throughout the heat of summer.

And, as Terri Stumpe of The Royal Collection suggests, there is a local economic benefit to sticking with cotton.

“Cotton has always been a really important fabric for use because of the weights,” she says. “And of course we love to support our cotton farmers, too. You can’t beat the weights of cotton and linen for spring and summer. It gets so hot in south Georgia.”

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Orange and Tangerine are expected to be a hot color for spring and summer. When used in a sheath dress, like this one from The Royal Collection, the modern coloring makes the classic style pop. Lots of beaded jewelry, like the necklace, will enhance any look.

Lace is a big statement fabric this year. “It’s lace from head-to-toe,” says Blair.

Certainly, beautiful lace dresses have popped up everywhere, including in the women’s department at Dillards. The store is also focusing on big romantic florals in all shades; from brights to pastels are great for paring with solid color skinny jeans.

Also, nautical-inspired patterns, such as stripes or chevron patterns in navy, white and red, will be big, especially as the transition into summer begins.

According to Henry, tribal patterns will also be popular this season.

COMPLETE THE LOOK

Clothes are just the base of the outfit. Accessories are the key to completing the look.

“Accessories on an outfit is like icing on a cake. It’s just the finishing touch,” says Stumpe.

And no accessory is quite as important as the shoes on your feet.

“Ladies rejoice ... Stilettos will still be around, but I’m seeing more of the kitten heels and square heels that are much, much lower. Ballet flats are huge right now, which is awesome for comfort,” says Blair.

If you still insist on heels, go for a natural or ’70s-inspired wedge in a camel or tribal print.

Wide belts remain popular, as a carry-over from fall and winter, though lighter colors in tans and camels are appearing on store shelves. The wide belts provide the perfect addition to a loose-fitting sundress, as it cinches in the waist and creates a great silhouette for any body type.

Skinny belts can still be used, especially when paired with a boyfriend cardigan on those slightly chilly mornings, according to Blair.

CHUNKY JEWELRY

The rule for jewelry this season is the bigger and chunkier the better. Large lacquer bracelets in bright hues, large stones in necklaces, earrings and rings with matte gold accents will be seen everywhere.

“You’ll see a lot of silver and gold combinations. You’ll see a lot of color in jewelry,” Stumpe said.

For something a little less conspicuous, chunky silver jewelry with pearl accents will tone things down a bit, but will still be on trend. Both are classic and elegant. Sparkles and shimmer are huge.

For something more unique, look to vintage or vintage-inspired pieces, like necklaces or broaches.

... AND THE MAKEUP

Ashley Duncan, a local sales director for Mary Kay Cosmetics, says that makeup trends are following a lot of the same rules as clothes and accessories.

For eyes, “corals and anything that brings out earthy tones,” are big, says Duncan. “Iridescence brings out any hue you are looking for, including turquoise.”

Earthy and natural are key words when discussing skin care.

“Many women are throwing out the heavy liquid foundation and changing to powders or mineral foundation or tinted moisturizer,” Duncan adds.

IT’S A WRAP

Ditch the heavy makeup. Grab a linen sundress or skinny jeans with a color block top. Throw on some chunky vintage jewelry and some ballet flats, and you are ready to go for spring 2012.