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Going Green

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Green in all its many shades — from mossy ferns to menthol mints to ocean teals — is a lucky color to wear this spring. One of nature's favorite hues, the greens this year are balanced with cool pastels. Pantone, the color expert, predicts that we will be drinking up an icy "margarita" for our spring wardrobes and for fall 2012 — celebrate by wearing a warm rich ultramarine — a favorite on the fashion runways for the next season.

One of the freshest ways to go a little green this spring is to wear the cooler hues from head to toe, according to fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. "I like tones of one color," she says, "like the spectrum of a bright green with a soft fading jade. It's a feeling like fragile vintage colors, and it is interesting to place these into modern shapes."

The ocean greens are riding the waves in collections like the ones from Ella Moss where "crystal clear Caribbean" green is the signature color. Designer Pamela Protzel Scott at Ella Moss pairs this shade of green with a neutral light oatmeal. "This feels fresh and new for spring and pairs well back to the palette of bright colors and muted tones," she says. Her must-have item for spring? An Ella Moss midi green dress: "It has the perfect hint of femininity for spring," she says. "It's easy and playful, but also has an elevated sense of casualness."

Other designers weave green into abstract floral prints like the palm printed dresses from Baby Phat or the fern greens inspired by tulips in Todashi Shoji's spring collection. The graphic prints in designer Tracy Reese's spring collection contrast her "amazon greens" with navy, orange and yellow.

The paler icy mint greens are another way to give a spring closet a refreshing bite. These cool hues showed up in spring collections at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Yves Saint Laurent and Prabal Gurung.

A touch of mint — try a pair of jeans — is one of the easiest ways to pop a little "cool" into your spring and summer wardrobe.

Since I've collected various shades of green — from an emerald cashmere wrap to a minty silk scarf from Banana Republic to a bold turquoise pendant — over the years, I like the look of combining several shades of these analogous greens all together. Think peacock feathers — one of my favorite inspirations when it comes to color. Check out the "Talithia" peacock paisley blouse at J. Crew (jcrew.com).

My personal favorite shades lean to the bluer side of green rather than the yellow side, so I tend to stick to the cooler tones. I also like to team up separates in complementary hues. Remember that color wheel from elementary school days? Complementary colors are those colors immediately opposite each other on the color wheel. Green complements the red colors, and this spring many designers use this complementary theory to make green come alive with all shades of pink. White is a great way to lighten up any shade of green this spring, too.

The warmer yellow greens also promise to be hits for this year. Pantone has named "bright chartreuse" as one of the hot colors of the fall 2012 season. Watch for designer Nanette Lepore's collection, which artfully combines chartreuse with intense blues and purples.

And you'll also get lucky this spring and summer with green in accessories — luscious dollops of mint in ladylike handbags, floppy turquoise green straw hats, color-blocked strappy sandals and floral-inspired earrings. Take your pick, and go green.

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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