Here comes the sun.

Little darlin’ — it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.

And while the weather forecaster can’t predict what the next few weeks will bring, colour forecasters are declaring there will be bright skies and warm afternoons.

Mimosa — think Provence as painted by Van Gogh — is the hottest colour for spring, say the execs at the Pantone Color Institute.

Bright sunny yellow clothing, accessories, home decor and even bath products are lighting up shelves and racks right now.

“From a retailing standpoint, it has the highest visibility and in a sluggish economy that is a good thing. It means sunlight and good cheers, that’s what we are drawn to,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Institute.

The popularity of yellow is no accident.

Pantone, the company that considers itself a global authority on colour, announced late last year that they selected Mimosa, the sunny colour of that champagne and orange juice cocktail, or to be exact, Pantone 14-0848, as the colour of 2009. They declared, “That in a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other colour expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow.”

And U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, now considered a fashion icon, was on trend when she radiated a warm and fuzzy glow on inauguration day by wearing a sunny Isabel Toledo-designed Swiss wool lace ensemble.

As the designer told the New York Times, “I wanted to pick a very optimistic colour that had sunshine. I wanted her to feel charmed, and in that way would charm everybody else.”

Despite the yellow fever, some will not warm to the colour.

“A lot of women shy away from it — it’s a difficult colour to wear so it’s crucial to find the right shade,” says Robin Keeler, fashion director at Yorkdale Mall. “I always say, there is good reason why yellow is used in caution and warning signs!”

There are simple rules, says Keeler. One of the general rules is to go by hair colour. Dark-haired women look best in the yellow hues that are vivid. Blonds and light browns suit the softer, more muted shades and redheads should opt for gold or honey hues.

Keeler does note, however, that almost anyone can wear a single accessory, like a bag, shoe or bracelet. “It’s like a jolt — it brings newness and freshness to a look.”

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