Spring is the most hopeful season for fashion, as we put away the grays and blacks of winter and college undergraduates show off their new post-Spring Break tans.
In Oxford earlier this week, on one of the first warm afternoons of this year and when the sun was gracing downtown with its weak warmth, the interior of Neilson’s Department Store was filled with lively customers and new displays.
As it has for most every spring since 1839, the store has cleared out its winter lines for the pinks and teals and even reds and blues of spring. For a store that’s approaching 175 years since its founding, the fabrics hanging inside its walls look young and some might even say daring.
Fashion trends come and go, but in Oxford, Southern men are more daring in their fashion choices today than yesteryear.
“I don’t think they’re afraid to wear linen anymore,” said Amanda Hyneman, manager of Neilson’s Department Store. And bright colors and patterns, such as gingham, are big trends for men this spring. Patterns can be found gracing not just the backs of locals this year, but also their feet.
In the men’s department, store employee Reid Bankston said, they sold about 250-300 pairs from the unisex Happy Socks line just last fall. If there is one new, bold trend in Oxford, it is perhaps Happy Socks. The man or woman sitting beside of you right now may be wearing a pair. The store sells 10-18 styles from the Swedish company at any given time, with two new styles each season.
Neilson’s is also now carrying the architecturally inspired line of Jonathan Adler socks this season, with their geometric patterns and lines.
Accessories are a big trend for both men and women this year, and Hyneman said large-brimmed straw hats and lightweight infinite scarves are selling well for women.
Women’s spring trends this year segue well into the summer wardrobe: tunics that can double as bathing suit cover-ups, skinny white jeans paired with the same said tunics, and dresses galore, sun dresses and going out dresses, in maxis and short lengths too. Color blocking is huge for women and men alike. Hyneman’s favorite dress in the store right now is a geometric print with a neon pink accent strip that runs top to bottom down the back.
As for children, with Easter coming up, standard classics are an easy choice for harrowed parents trying to make a good family presentation. Seersucker suits and dresses are well-stocked, as are lightweight cotton dresses for girls.
And while you’re in the store, don’t forget shoes and home goods in the back. The short walk will be worth your time. For women, there are laser-cut clogs and leather flip-flops worthy of an evening out, and for men, Oxfords with neon accents are still popular. In home goods, you’ll find Le Creuset’s newest color, a light green that’s perfectly timed for the season.
When college students and professionals of any age need something to enliven their wardrobes to step out onto the Square, one of their first stops may well be Neilson’s. Its styles and trends change with the times, and that’s perhaps the secret of any successful business, especially in the fashion world.
Shoppers can find Neilson’s Department Store on Facebook and Instagram.
– Gretchen Stone, associate editor, HottyToddy.com, email@example.com
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