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Brighten your spring look with accessories

Say goodbye to "blah" and hello to "bling."

Suffering a case of fashion monotony? We understand. We also understand that in a tough economy, it's often impossible to afford a complete wardrobe overhaul.

But you might be able to afford a new necklace. Or a pair of earrings. Or an eye-catching scarf.

Those seemingly insignificant accessories have tremendous potential to "turn an old outfit into something better," according to Hannah Harris.

She's the director of marketing and design for Leanah Loo, a Columbus-based accessories boutique that sells items in Peachtree Mall (near Hot Topic and Gymboree) and online (, free shipping).

Harris recommends "mixing and matching staple pieces of clothing that you already have in your closet with new accessory pieces that follow the spring/summer trends."

She recently shared some tips for wearing accessories and navigating this season's trends. Consider these ideas:

Try some new trends. Floral patterns and tribal designs are popular this season. If you're nervous about wearing shirts or dresses with bold prints, a new bracelet is a good way to experiment with pattern-centered trends without going overboard. Harris expects that eye-catching bracelets will remain in style this season.

Play with color. A mix of pastels and vibrant brights will likely dominate the fashion world this season. Accessories can do wonders in brightening your look. Want to experiment? "Plain T-shirts are a great palette to start with and are generally affordable," Harris said.

White hues are still "in." Even amid prints and bold colors, "ladylike whites" remain popular, Harris said. Experiment with delicate white earrings, or flaunt sparkly white pieces around your neck.

Don't forget earrings. Harris emphasized that many fashion insiders say earrings are "back." You might argue that earrings never disappeared from the fashion spotlight. Either way, this season's focus is on long, dangly earrings. Wearing longer earrings for the first time? Avoid solid metal earrings, which can weigh down your ears.

Keep it professional. Harris said almost all her accessories are OK to wear in an office environment. Even in more conservative professional settings, it's generally fine to flaunt a necklace or pair of earrings. However, stay away from noisy jewelry like bangles, which can distract your co-workers.

On a really tight budget? Never underestimate the power of a new scarf, according to Harris. "It's the cheapest way to make any outfit look good," Harris said. Scarves come in a variety of designs and textures. They can be layered for a unique look.