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Illustrations By Thea Milinairé

Be a flower. Wear bell sleeves for spring

March 15, 2017, 12:00 am

In Greek mythology, Persephone is the goddess of spring. The babely daughter of Demeter, goddess of seasons, and Zeus, king of all gods, Persephone was so beautiful that Hades, ruler of the underworld, fell in love with her and stole her from the mortal realm. He whisked her to his fiery lair where she ate one pomegranate seed, sealing her fate as queen of the underworld for eternity.

But her mother couldn’t bear the separation and unleashed the first winter upon the world, killing all the fruits and flowers on Earth until Hades agreed to allow Persephone to spend part of the year in the mortal realm. When she came back, she brought with her new life and spring, and the whole world was totally stoked.

Come every year, spring brings fuchsia-flowering trees, blue skies and new fashion life. The beginning of March marks the end of the fall/winter runway season and a month of shows in Paris, Milan, London and New York, so there’s a ton of inspiration in the air. Karl Lagerfeld put on a concert-like presentation at his Chanel FW17 show in Paris’ Grand Palais, featuring a giant space shuttle that launched while the models donned sparkly boots and spaceman prints; Off-White’s collection titled “Nothing New” starred makeup-free models on a bone-white path through a forest of leaves and birch trees; and Miu Miu’s show took place on a square, spiral staircase covered in furry purple fuzz, as were the models, who wore faux fur sky blue and lilac-hued ensembles—I imagine this is something close to Prince’s dream come true.

Spring is all about breaking out of that six-month-long winter funk, especially when it comes to clothing. It’s the time to take inspiration from the catwalk and add a bit of drama in the form of a little something new in your closet.

Break out the florals (I know, groundbreaking) and try not to wear all black everything every single day. Do yourself a favor and invest in some bell sleeves. Yeah, big bell sleeves.

There are short and long versions of this elegant silhouette, so you can bell from the wrist, mid-arm or elbow. These tops have a ton of layering potential, so they’re perfect for a high-desert spring day. If it’s a chilly morning, a white bell sleeve will look très chic peeking out of your sweater or blazer sleeve. As the days get warmer, you can layer bell-blouses under dresses or overalls. We know that spring is short-lived and a bit of a tease in Santa Fe. For the months between the frosts of February and the heat of June, the wind beats down on some days, and temperatures fluctuate between 70 and 20 degrees—and then it’s suddenly, irrevocably summer. So, while we may be yearning to shed the coats and reach for tanks (it’s not warm enough yet), that’s another reason bell sleeves are the better spring option here.

Wearing a statement piece like a bell sleeve is empowering. The cascade of flowy fabric could easily belong on the arm of one of the original Charlie’s Angels, or perhaps Moonstruck-era Cher. The drama and attention to their shape is confident and feminine, imparting their wearer with grace, almost saying, “At the very least, I managed not to drag these babies through my morning coffee.” 

On my recent hunt for bell sleeves, the best local option was—hands down—Bodhi Bazaar (DeVargas Center, 556 N Guadalupe St., 982-3880). The gals there knew exactly what I wanted when I asked for a bell sleeve, and they pulled their favorites from the racks for me to try. They have a John Eshaya short bell sleeve top ($118) that’s made of a soft cottony blend that is between a blouse and a tee, so you can wear it to the office or with your new favorite jeans. If you want the full 1970s angel appearance, try the Lola & Sophie off-the-shoulder bell sleeve ($138). It’s satin and pretty much every trend happening in the blouse world right now wrapped into one beautiful top. It comes in a few colors, but the deep navy is my favorite, and it would be a great choice for the upcoming wedding season.

Stop and smell those pink flowers when it’s Persephone’s time in our little mountain town. They’ll be gone the next time you look for them. Happy spring.

 

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