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The Finishing Touches

Come spring, it’s all about the details. Whether it’s stitching on denim, bell sleeved-blouses or embroidery on tunics, the details elevate what could be a standard piece into something that feels one-of-a-kind. In some cases, judiciously...

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Cream cotton and spandex eyelet dress from ROBIN JORDAN. Carolina necklace.

Dan Weiss

Come spring, it’s all about the details. Whether it’s stitching on denim, bell sleeved-blouses or embroidery on tunics, the details elevate what could be a standard piece into something that feels one-of-a-kind. In some cases, judiciously applied detailing might extend an already-present trend’s shelf life.

‘We see this in the evolution of the peasant blouse, which continues to be a presence this spring, possessing a more refined appearance, said Jo Ann Young, trend correspondent for Marshall Field’s.

“It’s more sophisticated,” she said. “It’s not a peasant top with everything going on. It has one exaggerated detail.”

Young cited singular details such as bell sleeves or a thick ribbon woven through a blouse. “There’s more emphasis on craftsmanship,” she said. “It cleans up what we’ve been seeing with the bohemian movement, which some of us felt was too young,” she said.

That thought carries over to embroidery, another notable spring detail. The brightly colored embroidery on dark rich fabrics that influenced fall, à la Oscar de la Renta, is lightening up for spring. It’s softer, more delicate, often carried out in white on white.

“We’re seeing it on tops, blouses, belts and dresses,” Young said, “but what makes it more sophisticated is it [the embroidery] is in the same palate as the fabric. It’s metallic, pearlized or tonal.”

Mark Schneider, who reps from a 12th-floor showroom in the Apparel Center, has already picked up on that trend.

One of his best-selling groupings is a Nomadic Traders white-on-white collection of embroidered cotton blouses. The caftan-like tops feature white hand-embroidery around the collar, cuffs and bottom.

“This year this white blouse look is stronger than ever,” he said. “Orders are up double from last year.”

“It’s a cute look,” he added. “We translated this junior look to a misses’ fit. We’re selling to specialty stores, outdoor stores and some department stores.”

Jane Hamill, the Chicago designer who runs a Lincoln Park boutique bearing her name, said she’s also picked up on the tonal trend for spring, coordinating a green top with a lighter green trim with matching pants. “It’s tonal but not too matchy-matchy,” she said.

“Everything seems a little softer and more feminine than in past years,” Hamill explained. “The details are more subtle, not so obvious.”

Hamill points to a halter with a tiny quarter-inch thick ruffle around the neckline or a dress with a little button closure at the back of the neck.

“It’s ladylike and small,” Hamill said. “More people do notice little things like that than I thought.”

Krista Kaur Meyers, owner of Krista K in Chicago, said she’s paid particular attention to details in the denim market. She’s noticed jeans trimmed in leather and is especially interested in the Habitual denim line, which she said showcased extra stitching.

“My customers want something basic but with some little detail that makes it different or special,” she said.

It’s all about the details.

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