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Jumpstarting Spring

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Jumpsuits. Rompers. Playsuits. Call them what you will, these one-piece wonders are jumpstarting spring fashion in ways that high-fashion skydivers would never imagine. Ever since this '70s favorite started appearing on the runways last spring, designers have reinterpreted them for modern women this spring. Now a favorite of celebrities, the jumpsuit is once again rockin' the style scene.

Here are a few ways to jumpstart your wardrobe this spring.

—First of all, if you want to jump on this trend, make sure you find a jumpsuit that really fits and flatters your figure. One reason jumpsuits often get a bad fashion rep is that it can be hard to find the perfect suit for your shape. Let's face it; the one-piece outfit has to not only fit your lower half but your upper half as well. There is little room for making mistakes on this style statement.

—So make sure the jumpsuit you choose doesn't make you look like you're getting ready to take flight in yards and yards of fabric. Draping in all the right places is key. Or choose a more tailored top that contrasts with flowing legs. If you're on the petite side, choose a higher waistline that will make your legs look longer.

—Focus on the waist. Whether the jumpsuit or romper is belted or elasticized (oh, so comfy!) make sure you emphasize your curves. The one-piece jumpsuit that is loose, baggy and has absolutely no waist whatsoever, may be the perfect thing to wear when you're out in the garden, but when it comes to making a public appearance ... it's time to accentuate the positive!

—And this leads to the next big "don't." "Too tight is not right!" Unless you're starring in a new Batman movie as Catwoman or channeling a rock star such as Madonna, the tight black leather look is not something that works for most of us mere mortals.

—Go for solids. There are lots of fun floral prints out there this spring, but perhaps the "safest" way to play the jumpsuit this season is to stick to solid colors. Or if you want to tone down a graphic print, top off your jumpsuit with a well-cut jacket in a complementary solid color.

—Get formal. Jumpsuits are a great way to express yourself in a new way for more formal occasions. From one-shouldered jersey jumpsuits to tuxedo-inspired white satin numbers to slinky halters and backless cutouts, this one-piece wonder is a sophisticated way to stand out in a crowd of little black dresses.

—When your summer is all about casual, jumpsuits can go short, too. The strapless romper is a great way to cover up at the beach or backyard pool and still sport great style.

—And what shoes to wear? It's easy ... taller heels or wedges easily dress up jumpsuits and rompers, while flat, strappy sandals or espadrilles add a more sporty edge for dressed down occasions.

(SET CAPTION) Theia's fall collection features the jumpsuit for a sophisticated fashion-forward alternative for more formal occasions. Theia can be found at Saks, Neiman Marcus and other specialty stores. (END CAPATION)

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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