"Fashion's eclectic and edgy fall was in part a reaction to the economical times," says stylist and lifestyle expert Janette Ewen, who splits her time between L.A. and Toronto, where she's a regular on CityLine.

 

This spring is taking on a less aggressive, more feminine personality, she says, which is still influenced by the recession, but more about escape. Here are six trends that hit the highlights:

1. The Jacket
Yep, the tough girl is still around, with her bold shoulders, distressed jeans and military jackets, which, says Ewen, have "softer lines, a Boer-era styling in beaten-up green and khaki." Military jackets were strong at Balmain, with long tails and elaborate epaulettes, Burberry Prorsum, which featured sharp, trenches in army beige, and Celine, which showed a streamlined, minimalist version. Safari-style toppers also stood out at Aquascutum.

2. Pale Neutrals
Shades of nude, blush pink, pastels, misty grey and white married with sheer, airy and drapey textures lend vulnerability rather than provocation at Antonio Berardi, Calvin Klein and Alberta Ferretti. "It's a visible-lingerie look, with a 20s and 30s soft silhouette, shaped without boning," explains Ewen, who calls it "hard-times chic."


3. Brights
Statement shades of yellow, red, purple and green accents pop against a white palette at Bottega Veneta, and broadcast a playful vibe with splashy prints at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Blumarine, and Lady Gaga-esque graphics at Alexander McQueen. Orange is a hot hue; it hit the catwalk for Lanvin, Donna Karan, Derek Lam and a host of others.

4. Short Hemlines
Mini skirts and dresses give legs more airtime as warmer weather approaches. Look to Chanel's short-skirt suits, Proenza Schouler's swingy frocks — just about every designer hit at least above the knee this season. As well, shorts from walking-length to wee strutted down the catwalk at Phillip Lim, Twenty8Twelve, D&G, Costume National and more.

5. Ruffles
Ruffles and ruching made the detail-difference in the aforementioned military and safari jackets at Burberry Prorsum and Aquascutum, and added glam and at times girly flourish at Stella McCartney, Chanel, Lanvin and Marc Jacobs. "There's a Lolita look this spring — whimsical, sweet and innocent rather than seductive," Ewan says.