How To Wear Spring Trends with Neiman Marcus’s RTW Fashion Director Kareen Mallet

“Spring 2012 was one of the most exuberant seasons I’ve seen in years – and I’ve been doing this for seventeen years. There was so much color, it was like an explosion!”

-Kareen Mallet, Senior Women’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director for Neiman Marcus

There was a lot to take in from the spring 2012 runways, so we went to an expert to break it down for us! Kareen Mallet, the Senior Women’s Ready-to-Wear Buyer for Neiman Marcus, walked us through her must-have list for spring and explained how you can incorporate the season’s bold new trends into your wardrobe. 


“Pink was the message of the season, from magenta to hot pink, and also lighter shades. If you don’t feel like doing head-to-toe pink because it’s bright, I think it’s nice to break it with a neutral bottom.” – K.M.

Trying It Out: Try pairing a bright shade with a neutral – like white or navy.

All the Way: Colorblock your pink silk button-down top with red jeans. 


“There was a lot of sport-chic – but it’s not going casual. It’s incorporating elements that come from the sports world into your wardrobe. For example, in Herve Leger’s bandage dress – you see the colorblocking, the piping. It’s got kind of the sports element but you would never wear it to do sports. So you see the element, you see the details of it. It’s an inspiration – like here, the element of neon and the racer track on these Rag & Bone Jeans. You’ve got the look of it but at the same time it’s very modern – I kind of like the element of that.” – K.M.

How To Wear It: Pair a sports-inspired silk drawstring pant with a t-shirt, heels and a black Helmut Lang blazer with rouched sleeves. Remember: you’re looking for sports-inspired elements like a drawstring, neon colors, or sporty materials (e.g. mesh or scuba).

stylebook's picks: Alexander Wang, McQ Alexander McQueen, Bailey 44, Alexander Wang and Kareen's pick


“The newest silhouette for handbags is the clutch. Everyone should have some kind of clutch – it’s a great accessory. It’s not just about the clutch for evening, it’s also for a very polished day look.” – K.M.

Kareen's pick: (left) Valentino and Stylebook's picks: Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors


“Mix colors and patterns together. If you’re going to wear two different types of florals, do them in the same color family. If you’re going to wear stripes with floral, also try to coordinate the colors. Really, for spring, there are no rules. Every designer, if you look at their shows, they did head-to-toe big floral, they did stripes with floral, photo prints! I think it’s all about mixing the prints.” – K.M.

Trying It Out: Look for clothes that do the pattern mixing for you, like the Tibi dress below

All the Way: Pair a floral skirt with a striped top in the same color family

Stylebook's Picks: (from left) Diane Von Furstenburg, Erdem, Tibi, Stella McCartney


“What do you wear over lady-chic dresses? It’s still sports-chic, it’s all about the anorak, the topper of choice for the season. This is from Givenchy [far right below]. I love it because it’s like an anorak at the bottom, but on top it’s really more like a trench coat. I think it’s very modern. I love the element of green and navy. You put this over a polished little dress and it just makes it cool.” – K.M.

Trying It Out: Update your lady-like dresses by pairing them with a basic sport-chic anorak

All the Way: Look for sports-inspired anoraks with lady-chic elements like ruffles or eyelets

Stylebook's pick: Ali Ro and Kareen's picks: Valentino, Givenchy

Silver Shoes

“The shoe of the season is silver – and when I say silver, it’s all about taking you from daytime to evening.” – K.M.

How To Wear It: Tone down you spring brights with a silver shoe.

Stylebook's picks: (left) Elizabeth & James, (right) Kate Spade and Kareen's pick: (center) Jimmy Choo


“Yellow is what we call the ‘new neutral’ – we have to think of yellow as if it’s like beige. Wear it like it’s the neutral in your wardrobe. I think for evening it’s beautiful to wear a yellow evening dress. But if you’re not that brave – there are good ways of incorporating yellow into your wardrobe: like wearing yellow pants from Stella McCartney with a white top. I think it’s very chic and sophisticated.” – K.M.

How To Wear It:  Wear yellow with white, beige, or another pale color – not black, otherwise you’ll look like a bumble bee. 

Stylebook's picks: (from left) Robert Rodriguez, (3) Oscar de la Renta, (4) Hudson and Kareen's pick: (2) David Meister


“I love the black and white on this Stella McCartney [far right below]. This is a strapless dress – do you see this peplum interest? It is all over going forward for fall. Every runway in New York, London, and Milan so far has been showing peplum, so this is the silhouette to be watching for next season.” – K.M.

Stylebook’s Tip: Balance the volume of the peplum by pairing it with sleek skinny pants for the weekend or a pencil skirt for business or evening. The idea is to define your waist, so everything else should be streamlined. 

Stylebook's Picks: (from left) Jason Wu, Nanette Lepore, MARC by Marc Jacobs and Kareen's Pick: Stella McCartney


“Now we’re going into tribal – something that is more far away. It’s more lady chic without being stuffy. It’s all about textures and fabrication that give you the idea of that trend. They are all very unusual and you get the feeling of a faraway place. This is from Kaufmanfranco [far right below], and you see the sequins? It’s got that animal tribal kind of interest – so you find it also for evening.” – K.M.

Trying It Out: Look for classic lady-chic shapes in exotic textures or patterns.

All the Way: Go for a bold animal-inspired sequin dress for evening

Kareen's Picks: (from left) Herve Leger, (3) Lanvin,(4) Kaufmanfranco and Stylebook's Pick: (2) Kate Spade

White Shirt

“I always love a white shirt.  On all of these embellished white shirts, like this one from Givenchy [far left below], I love the details. It’s great to wear over the fancy pants we’ve been seeing – it’s a nice way of grounding it. If you have your bright pants and you just don’t know how to colorblock it, you can just wear it with this.” – K.M.

Stylebook’s Tip: White shirts are wardrobe staples, so take advantage of their popularity by stocking up on different styles  that work well with the rest of your wardrobe. We like to look for classic shapes that have a bit of a twist!

Kareen's Picks: (from left) Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Joie

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