Cruise Control

Opposites attract this spring, as the latest fashions emphasize wearability and comfort with a dash of modern panache.

The secret to accomplishing this balancing act is mixing contrasting elements, such as sportswear with active wear, neutral colors with bright accents, and natural cottons and linens with microtene and other man-made fibers.

Even tried-and-true classic pieces gain a contemporary edge when worn in nontraditional ways. Light-gauge cotton or cashmere-blend pullovers previously relegated to top layers now double as sport shirts thanks to fine weaving techniques.

And once-stodgy merino wool cardigans can be updated for an active lifestyle when paired with polyurethane-coated cotton slacks.

Accessories serve as an important finishing touch that expresses your personality. Sunglasses with colored lenses in unusual shapes are the season’s must-have item. Practical weekend satchels and totes are injected with color and texture and adapted for everyday use. In footwear, many dress styles have been outfitted with rubber soles for a more casual interpretation, and the familiar slide sandal takes on an exotic flavor with the introduction of metal hardware and stamped leathers.

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