The Salt Empire courtesy of the Salt Empire

Two days of sun is all I need to feel completely ready for spring/summer fashion. We’ve clearly reached that turning point in the year when the heaviest of rains have ended, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the lawn needs to be mowed, and we’re eager to shed some layers. To that end, enter the SS18 lookbooks, which are coming in hot with dark floral motifs, soft and dusty pastels, bigger, brassier, bolder statement jewelry, and a breath of fresh, Northwestern air. 

I’m already seeing some gorgeous work from local manufacturers who have been clearly chomping at the bit to get through the first-quarter doldrums. 

My favorite dress right now hails from Haunt on Burnside. Designer Holly Stalder has—once again—delivered a dark floral motif that resonates poetically. Her clothing is romantic, timeless, and yet relatable, and the store feels like a highly curated trove of everything that’s lovely. If you’ve never been to Haunt, do yourself a favor and do so before your summer itinerary of weddings, business trips, and romantic getaways.

Haunt Myles Katherine

I also love what I’m seeing from Lizz Basinger’s newest collection. Her color story is truly on point with dusty lavenders, roses, and muted pastels. True to her brand, she delivers careful pleating, seams, gathers, and details that curve along the body to create a beautiful silhouette and drape. She’s clearly refining her mastery of these techniques every season, but this year her tulip wrap and tie shorts are one of my favorite of her designs. Think comfort and functionality, while looking highly put-together. 

North of West—one of my absolute favorite Portland apparel companies—is hitting all the marks this season. I really admire the many ways this company has operated (such as sourcing American-milled textiles, printing as well as sewing designs, and diversifying their offerings through items such as home goods and baby/children’s apparel). Nerding out on the quality and consistency of this company is just one reason I keep them on my radar. They always deliver apparel that’s highly wearable and cleverly ahead-of-trend without being too on-the-nose—such as the casual use of very-blue denim (currently in trend forecasts high and low) in a way that appeals to a broad spectrum of styles. And paired with these perfectly tea-length trousers? It’s just so good. This company gets an A-plus from me. 

On the topic of trousers: the high-waisted wide-leg floral pants by Sarah Bibb (owner of Folly Boutique in Northwest) were the talk of the night at this season’s Fade to Light fashion show. These pants embolden the wearer without being “too much,” and practically everyone in the room agreed we should all own a pant like these. I can see them styled in so many ways, they could be a keystone element for your spring and summer soirées. 

Lizz Basinger Courtesy of Lizz Basinger

Naturally, it’s imperative to have the right jewelry accompaniment. I have two local companies dominating my spring/summer radar right now: First is the new collection from the Salt Empire. Keeping true to a style that’s so quintessentially theirs, their jewelry is highly modern, yet organic and natural. The use of tassel elements is specifically well executed (many other companies fail to employ tassel and fringe as artfully), but every piece from their current line is just as carefully designed, and with excellent quality.

The other jewelry company that’s captured my heart this season is Seaworthy. A long-standing Portland brand that continues to set a high bar for our city of metalsmiths, this company has stayed more than relevant—they’re trend-setting. I’m particularly inspired by the Picasso-like facial motifs and re-imagined organic shapes that are reminiscent of leaves but have a more figurative quality. It’s a gorgeous collection, and will tie together an outfit like a cherry on top. 

All in all, the season has just begun and we’re off to an extremely promising start. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of Portlandians who normally favor dark, neutral color-ways trying out some bolder print choices. C’mon! Spring and summer are on the way—so start dressing like it!