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Spring Color

“Who brings a suitcase full of black to the Caribbean?”

That’d be me.

It was our last night at the amazing Casa de Amistad on the island of Vieques, Puerto (go there — the island, the guesthouse — I’ll give you more details in an upcoming post) and we were packing up so we could relax a little on our last morning in Isabel II.

Derrick was more than a little amused by the contents of my bag. This is somewhat ironic coming from a man who owns about ten pairs of shorts that look exactly the same, but I digress. And he did have a point.

I have an addiction to black. For this trip, I took my own advice on what to pack for a warm-weather getaway. Therefore, my vacation wardrobe featured one main color (black) and one or two accent colors (white and, um…more black) and that was that. Easy.

My wardrobe is a mix of two extremes. About half of what I own is sleek, streamlined basics and yes, black – think skinny jeans, pencil skirts, a black blazer, the perfect leather jacket.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve got a wild, bohemian thing going on, all gauzy scarves and floaty maxi dresses and patterned tunics worthy of a production of HAIR. Heck, some of them actually are from a production of HAIR. (I worked in the costume shop in college. You can probably tell.)

I think color just might be the bridge between these two extremes. Here’s what I’m shopping for at present.

Dresses: Buying a dress in an eye-catching color is a way to shake things up and commit to color with very little effort. Just pick a shade you love and off you go. I love these breezy little numbers from Suncoo.

Shoes: How cute are the shoes at the top of this post? Confession alert: I have an issue with colorful shoes. I love them as objets d’art, but when I actually put them on my feet, they completely distract me. I seriously cannot stop looking at them.

This is why I have closet full of black footwear and one lone pair of green vintage wedges. But I can handle those, so maybe this is the year I finally take the plunge and embrace rainbow footwear.

Jewelry: This is one of the easiest ways to inject a little color into your wardrobe without going too crazy. I love these gorgeous statement necklaces. An armful of colorful bracelets or dangling earrings is a great way to perk up an all black ensemble as well.

A Colorful Bag: I’ve found that buying a bag in a color you love is a simple way to elevate an outfit and get out of an all black (or brown, or white or beige) rut. And a surprising number of colors are as versatile as neutrals, especially if you’re typically a monochromatic dresser.

Case in point: My recently destroyed mustard-colored bag (RIP, buddy) went with everything somehow. And I’ve seen women pull off aqua, orange, red and magenta statement bags in much the same way. If you love it, it works, so be brave.

Gauzy Tops: Since I have two different fashion personas going on, I’m going to split the difference and snap up a few gauzy tops to pair with my basic black separates. These options from Free People are boho enough for me. Now if I can just stop myself from buying more giant flares (there’s that 60s thing again — swoon) and a million more floaty summer dresses, I’ll be set.

A friendly puppy basically ate my favorite Free People dress when I stopped to ask for directions in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest (I’m not even kidding right now, you guys…The skirt is a spiderweb of rips and holes…) so I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t need a new one. You know, to wear while I’m mending the old one.

If these options are a little too colorful for you, you might like the calmer color palate I covered in this packing list for a summer weekend in the city. If you’re truly color-phobic, baby steps are the best way to introduce color a little at a time.

So now I have a few questions for you: What are you shopping for this spring? What fashion ruts do you fall into? How would you describe your style? What fashion questions would you like answered? Which designers, trends and movements do you want to know more about?

Oh, and just so you know, these images are from, where I’m an affiliate. That means that I earn a bit from every sale generated from my website. That said, I only work with companies I love and that I think you’ll love too. And trust me, this one is a lot of fun.

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Tag your pics and travel tips #PrairiePeople and #PrairiePlaces on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You could inspire an upcoming post on Prairie Style File. Prairie Style File is curated by Alicia Underlee Nelson. All rights reserved.

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