In the Treasure Valley, spring rapidly morphs into summer, and locals must shed their North Face jackets for shorts and sandals. At some point, temperatures will reach a point where people care less about fashion and more about surviving the heat. But until then, here's my list of hot spring and summer trends for women.
1. THE WHITE JACKET: The cool thing about this trend: You probably already own one. A simple white jacket looks fun over a summer dress and can class up a casual tank top and shorts for evening.
2. CROP TOPS: They're all the rage, across age ranges and body types. For those less adventurous, high-waisted shorts, skirts and pants are also very "in," so you can wear crops while showing a minimal amount of midriff. Also acceptable: a crop top layered over a longer camisole, tank or summer dress; no midriff, no problem!
3. PALAZZO PANTS: Like the white jacket, you might already have these in your closet. Printed palazzo pants are fun, colorful and have a laid-back surfer vibe. Wear with a feminine tank top to balance out their volume.
4. OVERALLS: If you already have these in your closet from the '90s, you are probably less likely to rock the trend this time around. But overalls and bibs are HOT in L.A. and on fashion bloggers across the globe, so like it or not, you will be seeing them on adventurous fashionistas around town this summer. The latest incarnation of overalls (if they're full-length) is slim and fitted, with a long skinny leg.
5. FRINGE: This classic trend roared in with the beginning of music festival season and will stick around all summer. Fringe is showing up on skirts, tank tops, dresses and handbags, and gives any outfit a Coachella or Western feel, depending on how you wear it. I heart fringe!
6. SNEAKERS: Everyone is wearing sneakers these days, even with dresses. Platform sneakers like those from the '90s are back, too, but classic styles are also hot, from brands like Adidas, Nike, Converse and Superga. Finally, a truly comfortable trend. This one will definitely catch on in an outdoorsy town like Boise.
7. FIT & FLARE DRESSES: This one is my favorite. I would rather wear a dress than jeans, any day. Fit and flare dresses look great on almost any body type, and they are so easy to dress up or down, depending on your accessories and shoe choice. Add heels and a white jacket for an afternoon wedding, or flat sandals and a wide-brimmed hat for shopping around Saturday markets. (The dress in the photo at top left is from The Threaded Zebra, one of the boutiques featured on the previous pages.)
8. GLADIATOR SANDALS: These started to gain popularity last season, and they're back bigger and, well, bigger. The gladiators most-spotted on celebrities and big-city fashionistas are the flat, knee-high version. Worn with shorts or a dress, they are an instant fashion statement. Those wanting to make a slightly smaller statement can still find really cool ankle-high gladiator sandals that are comfortable, fashionable and versatile.
9. PASTELS: Pastel colors are still hot; the most popular hues this season are baby blue, pastel pink and white. The baby blue jackets and handbags I'm seeing around the blogosphere are reminiscent of the 1960s: ladylike, polished and put-together. If you see a piece in a store and can imagine Jackie O wearing it, buy it. Right now, I'm in love with the pretty pastel handbags at our local Coach store. So demure and elegant, with a retro vibe - swoon!
10. MESH: Lace is still lovely and feminine, but mesh is sportier and echoes the current trend toward more sportswear-inspired styles. Try a blousy mesh top over a fitted tank or dress, add sneakers, and you have a look. Be sure to wear your sunscreen, though; mesh can leave some polka-dotted tan lines if you're not careful.
The malls are packed with great deals right now, but keep local boutiques in mind, too. At least five new boutiques opened around the Treasure Valley in the last year alone - check out my accompanying feature on them to find out more (previous story starting on page 12).
I am a huge fan of shopping consignment boutiques as well; especially when trends are '80s- or '90s-inspired, you can find some really fun and interesting treasures from those eras for cheap and rework them into modern fashion.
One of my current favorite treasure-hunting troves is Serendipity Boutique at 3117 W. State St. in Boise. It's packed full of amazing pieces from the early 1900s to the present, at crazy-good prices.
Enjoy the fashions of summer, and remember that no matter what the trends, the most stylish thing you can be is yourself.
GIVE A LOCAL GIFT FOR FATHER'S DAY
With Fathers Day right around the corner, here are some of my favorite off-the-beaten-path ideas of what to get that special father or grandfather.
THE PLAYFUL DAD
Check out Toy Town at 3327 N. Eagle Road in Meridian for some amazing fun stuff for dad to play with his kids. The Twin Falls-based Toy Town prides itself on being a "specialty" store and play zone for kids. Dollhouses, games, puzzles and even bikes are scattered throughout and are meant to be played with. Try the Ogo Sport, the latest evolution in playing catch that involves trampoline-like paddles and a special "flux" ball. The Metal Earth Laser Cut Steel Models are a great idea for the hobbyist, and what's cooler on Dad's office desk than a tiny steel Millennium Falcon he built himself? But the piece de resistance at Toy Town is the zip-line kit. String it up between two trees, clip on the seat and good luck getting Dad, Mom, kids and the neighbors off this thrill ride!
THE RAD DAD
Bricolage, 418 S. 6th St. in Boise, has some Father's Day gifts that are sure to please the Gen-X or hipster pop. My favorites are the made-in-Idaho Timber Beast bow ties ("For the wild and unruly logger"), W&P Mason Stones to keep your whiskey chilled without watering it down, and Rad Dad, An Action Not a Label magazine for new dads by birth, adoption, blended family or really any guy wanting to learn a little insight into how to be paternal. It's radical, diverse, award-winning and humorous.
THE FOOD LOVER
According to a recent article, the top gift men love to get and rarely do is food. Get Dad a gift certificate to a place like 10 Barrel in Downtown Boise. This pub's atmosphere is fun year-round, the beer is excellent and the food redefines "pub grub": pork pastrami street tacos, curry and cream croquettes, The Bangkok pizza with pepperoni, grilled chicken, pepperoncini, fried onions, sriracha lime sauce and mozzarella. ... Is your mouth watering yet? Trust me, your special dad will find something tasty here. Downtown Boise is also home to a new Whiskey Bar, 509 Main St. - great for the Dad who would love a crack at 150-200 varieties of whiskey. The Boise area also is home to many new breweries. A gift certificate or night out at one is bound to please.
THE NEW DAD
Did you know you can buy sleep? Well, sort of ... If your husband is a new dad, pass the sweet baby off to loving relatives for the night, and surprise him with a night together at the Modern Hotel in Boise's Linen District. Posh, relaxing, romantic and no midnight diaper changes! It might seem like cheating (to get him a gift for both of you), but trust me, he will enjoy being the center of your attention again after weeks - months? - of having to share you with the precious new member of your family. Also cool: Downtown Boise's The Hampton Inn, which is right next to Edwards cinemas and great restaurants, and Hotel 43, which also has great romantic packages.