NEW YORK (AP) -- Fashionable families may find themselves rummaging through boxes in the basement this spring, looking for some prized possessions from a few years ago that will look very "au courant" in 2001.
In fact, they may be mixing and matching from boxes from different decades.
"I think for updating clothing, it's not about buying one new item but it's more about one new silhouette," says Sally Singer, fashion director at Vogue.
Of course, the trendy items to give a woman that up-to-the-minute look are at stores everywhere, but check the back of the closet first for an oversized, boyish jacket or a 1950s-style full skirt. And don't forget to look for studded belts or spectator pumps.
Singer picks the freshest spring silhouettes as the oversized, T-shaped jacket paired with a miniskirt and a flat shoe for "kind of a preppy-street savvy style," or the full below-the-knee skirt with a narrow sweater or shirt with a mid-height heel.
"It's really about deciding what new skirt to buy and whether you want to show off your waist or your legs," advises Singer. Both looks, she notes, are "youngish" and age appropriateness should be considered.
For the woman committed to a suit, she says, the spring 2001 version is very structured and aggressive -- and even a little militaristic. But, be warned, this is a powerful look, not the "power look" of the 1980s and the "Dynasty" oversized shoulder pads.
The shirtdress is the comeback story of the season, which is good news for women of all shapes and ages, says Carolyn Moss, fashion director for Macy's East.
A dress with a shirtwaist can look hip and youthful in a slinky fabric, while an older woman will look polished in poplin. The dress skims the body, which is flattering, especially when paired with a soft belt, Moss explains. Also, shirtdresses are available with long sleeves, short sleeves and no sleeves, so women can either cover up or show off their arms.
Another popular dress for spring is the wrap but it's not as forgiving to all shapes, she says, because the waist needs to be in the right place.
Prints, particularly those in bright colors, are also fashion-forward. There are enough choices for women who love big, splashy florals, and for the more conservative, there are small geometric prints, Moss says.
Preppy pieces -- bright polo shirts, madras prints and Bermuda shorts -- create the favored casual look for women and men.
"Just think 'Palm Beach,' just think 'golf,' and you're there," says Moss.
She adds, "It's hard for men to change their whole wardrobe season to season. They can ease into it with a colored shirt in lavender, aqua or pink." The bright shirt works either for work in a button-down -- maybe with a floral tie if a man doesn't work in a particularly conservative business environment -- or on weekends in a polo.
A trench coat is the perfect way to top off any springtime outfit, says Anna Lonergan, a spokeswoman for Gap stores.
"No matter what your look -- a polo shirt, a T-shirt and jeans -- the trench keeps it neat. And it's functional," she says.
The coat doesn't need to be in that private-detective khaki shade; versions in green, powder blue and purple are all out there.
And for the miniature fashionistas who actually like to play outside during all those April showers, raincoats for kids also have taken a stylish turn beyond the yellow slicker. New raincoats, including Gap Kids' Rainbuster, come in bright colors and have bright, eye-catching linings like gingham check.
Styles for boys don't change that much, says Moss, so look for more pants with lots of pockets and T-shirts with company logos. Girls, however, are always looking to keep up with the trends of their older sisters so they'll be wearing "message" T's with "Sweetie" and "Go girl!" across the chest, predicts Moss.
Petit Bateau's "must-have" for the youngest fashion followers is also quite functional: reversible Two-in-One dresses and tops. The cotton is soft and comfortable, the stripes and clean lines are in step with the popular preppy look, and for all the dripped ice cream and grass stains, there is a second chance for the garment.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.