En español | If you're shopping for spring accessories, hold it right there. Just because something's new and trendy (or on sale) doesn't mean “buy!” Remember those chunky clunky “dad” sneakers from last season? How about gladiator sandals that made our ankles swell? Mirrored aviators that made us feel shifty and look shady? Fanny packs that were meant to be carried as cross-body bags? They all sat in the closet, too embarrassed to come out. You've got to be very careful for the short season known as spring/summer. Here are 10 extras to buy now, regret never:
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy; H&M; MANGO; Target
1. A chic cotton tote with a zip-top
Retailers are promoting straw and rattan bags for spring. Fun in theory, but they can't match the practicality and versatility of a sleek cotton tote in a summery neutral. It can go from work to weekend, rain or shine, and hauls a water bottle, sunglasses, readers, e-book, sunscreen and fat wallet bulge-free. Look for a secure top closure, sturdy flat bottom, double handles for hand or shoulder carrying (some even boast an additional detachable shoulder/cross-body strap) and at least one inside compartment for keys or cellphone. Done!
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PHOTO BY: LOFT; J.Crew; H&M
2. Oversize tortoiseshell sunglasses
Ignore the futuristic shields and cutesy heart shapes and head straight for the big classy tortoiseshell frames with an Audrey Hepburn/Jackie O vibe. The generous proportions provide a wider swath of UV-ray protection (for your retinas and skin) and keep fatigue, puffy-eye allergies and a lack of eye makeup your secret. Oversize modern cat-eyes and rounded squares suit practically everyone, but they shouldn't be wider than your face or sit too low on your cheeks.
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PHOTO BY: MANGO; Old Navy; Cirra by ShedRain; Totes
3. A compact leopard umbrella
Spring showers always appear whenever you just washed and dried your hair/got a salon blowout. Now that we're shedding the protection of hooded coats and knit hats, having a stylish umbrella handy is a good backup but leave your full-size winter umbrella at home. A portable model in cheeky leopard is neutral enough to go with anything you wear, won't look dorky or too casual for evening or with tailored clothes, and will make you smile even in a downpour. And it will fit in that tote.
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PHOTO BY: Michael Kors; Soludos; Sam Edelman
4. Black leather slip-on espadrilles
Browse strappy sandals, mules and slides but first buy some black leather espadrilles you can start wearing way before pedicure weather kicks in. Think of this hybrid urban loafer and South of France perennial as an alternative to a basic ballet flat or loafer. The only decision to make is between a classic jute sole or a platform style. They work with everything you own and everything else you'll buy.
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PHOTO BY: J.Crew (2); LOFT; MANGO
5. A lightweight printed scarf
Bare necklines and air-conditioning are not a perfect couple and a scarf just adds a certain savior faire to plain clothes. Hold off on statement necklaces like the massive gold links around now (we've been there, done that in the ‘80s) and flatter your face and neck in a light scarf — in florals, stripes or chain-link prints for a classic look, animal prints and tie-dye for a trendier effect. If you like to fold, twist and wrap your scarves in creative ways, choose a silky square that's at least 35 inches. If you prefer a quick wrap and dangle, opt for a long gauzy style.
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PHOTO BY: J.Crew (2); SUGARFIX by BaubleBar; H&M; LOFT
6. New hoop earrings
While chandeliers and tassel drops are still going strong, super-light hoops are the earrings to buy. Easy on your lobes and piercings, they look right at the office, with a tee and jeans or out to a dressed-up dinner. Sleek hoops in colorful resin patterns and more embellished styles studded with pearls and beads are the update here. Choose from a small hoop to medium size (around 2½ inches) — but skip the super-large styles that get tangled in collars and hair.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy; Superga; Vans; Keds; Target; Mad Love
7. Throwback sneakers
Instead of multitone, mixed-media sneakers with giant wedges and cushioned pads, get a fresh pair of simple all-white or black-and-white kicks with traditional soles. They'll remind you of the kind you used to wear before the crazy-sneaker craze took off. We don't really need all the bells and whistles of a marathon runner or a club kid to look cool. Canvas is light and breathable and white leather looks clean and fresh. You'll wear them with anything from pantsuit pants to utility pants, a jumpsuit or midi dress and, of course, your jeans and joggers.
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PHOTO BY: H&M (2); Express
8. A narrow waist-belt
Now that we're all wearing a high or higher rise on pants and jeans and tucking in (or at least half-tucking) our tops, defining the waist with a belt is the finishing touch. A slim belt can also be your new BFF, nipping the waist of voluminous midi skirts and dresses or a boyfriend blazer for body definition. Choose a narrow width of around three-quarter to one inch with something special in texture or buckle. Embossed croc, snakeskin and leopard are all good choices to lift an everyday black- or brown-toned belt to fashion-forward level but are still classic enough to get year-round keeper status.
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PHOTO BY: Leotruny; Toes Home; J.Crew; Gap (2); Old Navy
9. No-show socks and liners
You probably won't think of these as an accessory or appreciate them till you need them. Switch to these shallow shaped socks and liners and sweaty feet and blisters will be history. The scooped design assures the sock or liner stays hidden but buffers your tootsies from irritation at the heel, tops of toes and sole. For sneakers, choose the thicker, absorbent or moisture-wicking style; for shoes (anything from ballet flats to pumps or your new espadrilles) the lighter shell style.
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PHOTO BY: Wild Fable; Anthropologie (2); Urban Outfitters; Target; Old Navy
10. A scarf scrunchie
Embellished barrettes and padded hairbands are a big spring/summer trend but they can easily look too “girly” on grownup women. But there's one other item that's everywhere now and worth buying: the scarf attached to a scrunchie. It's a déjà vu blast from our hair past when we used to tie a scarf around a ponytail. Truly this may be your quick fix to giving dirty or straight out of the shower/pool hair a groomed, pulled-together look.