on the inside with tina barry

RIGHT NOW: Spring 2004 Trends

A little bit of Europe this side of the Hudson: August ENK Show, Javits Center, NYC

Last spring's styles were reminiscent of Woodstock. For spring 2004, all the little hippies went abroad and returned with just the right je ne sais quoi.



Fit to a Tee. T-shirts are the "It" gift this season.

For infants and toddlers, cute and sweet are swapped for tees with humor. Fancy script embroidered initials look very Martha Stewart; pro-feminist slogans and come-ons from personal ads are a not-so-subtle way of revealing parents' politics.

Tweens and junior tees printed with antique label designs then dusted with beads or rhinestones. Laced-up fronts or peasant detailing feminized athletic girls' tees. Tops that that could have been worn 30 years ago at Camp Fireside had retro appeal. Layered images of Japanese animated cartoons looked busy yet exciting.

Gilding the Lily - Imagine tanned blondes playing golf in Palm Beach and you've got the look. Lots of Lily Pulitzer-like hot pinks and apple greens.

Over it - Everything was layered - skirts over pants; short, ruffled shrugs over T-shirts or dresses; multi-paneled skirts worn one atop the other.

Stripes - Head to toe, on everything including sandals.

Deep Pockets - big-pocketed pants for boys and girls continue. Girls' pants look feminine when the pockets are gathered.

Sporty - Athletic looking fitted tee's, hoodies and short skirts look fresh for girls' casual wear.

Ruffles - Multitiered skirts were everywhere last spring. They're still around, but this season the tiers sport quieter, tiny floral prints, cream-on-cream combinations, or retro-prints. Last year's big ruffles around collars and wrists have been replaced with a discreet, thin, ruffle or two. Short shrugs that tie at the collar or close with one button - their collars, hems and wrists outlined with a single ruffle - were the newest way to layer. Short lengths of ruffles were used as decorative touches on a neckline or to hold up one layer of a skirt or dress.

Completely Vertical - Vertical gathers outlined the seams of skirts in a fancy, curtain-like motif. The best of these were done in simple neutral cottons sometimes with unfinished hems. Vertical gathers crimped the seams of tees and blouses.

Unfinished Business - Exposed seams with raw edges loosened up dressy white blouses or gave the bottom of A-line skirts a new edge.

Happy Hunting - Enough motorcycle mamas. Belted, cinched, self-tied and multi-pocketed, the safari look is the new denim jacket. Neutrals keep the look fresh in creams, khakis, beiges, and black denim.

Satin Doll - The boxing ring influences girls' sportswear. Look for satin cargo skirts with striped elastic waists and matching hoodies. Take that Mike!

The Glitterati - Customized wristbands with a child's name outlined in rhinestones. Very Sex and the City.




Skirts make a comeback:

Donna Summer returns! - Graceful skirts with enough room for tweens and juniors to Hustle on the dance floor. Knee length or just above, skirts - in crisp cotton prints, solids or pretty flowered synthetics - were cut longer on the sides, shorter on one side, or longer in the back.

Ballerina Style - Just grazing the knee, A-lines with pleats or circle-skirts looked elegant in neutrals, tiny floral prints or splashy floral cotton.

Short and Sweet - Narrow, short skirts with multiple zippers take on a techno edge. When the skirts are embellished with cargo pockets they have a military flair and when they're loosened up and pleated they're sweet but not too.


I can sum this up in one word: Cargo. Less important looks were the ruffle-trimmed hems for infants and toddlers, and sailor-style, wide legged pants in solids and stripes.




Rosy and Riveting - Light, dusty mauves to orchidy pinks were important. Peach cast pinks were the exception. Designers used dusty, light pink as solids and in combination with a pink-tinged cocoa, khaki or light blue. Brighter pinks were mixed with a pink-cast orange in stripes and florals often accented with an apple green.

Earth and Sky - soft cocoa and light blue combinations are carried over from fall.

Cream of the Crop - layers of creamy off-white, tan, khaki and light cocoa blended together.




-Some camouflage.

-Tiny, Liberty-inspired florals in multi-toned mixes.

-Vintage wallpaper stripes in soft, bleached colors overprinted with tiny roses either in pastels or brighter hues to pop the print.

-Stripes, large scale, narrow and ticking in different sizes patched together.

-Tropical, Hawaiian looks. The most original had a Japanese, wood block feeling.

-Loosely drawn florals with a 50's sensibility became exciting when their monochromatic, tone-on-tone colorings were accented with a shot of color.




Cotton Pickin' - Cotton rules this season. From butter-soft cotton knits, gauzy linen, handkerchief-fine Batiste to heavy, denim-weight goods.

Satin Doll - Girls' cargo skirts and hoodies borrow style from the boxing ring.

Rickrack - The "it" trim.




…Heavy, Folkloric embroidery, toile prints.


















Tina Barry has been involved in many facets of the fashion world. She has traveled domestically and to Europe to research color and design trends. For many years she styled textiles for the apparel and home furnishing industries. After designing her own line of children's wear she now freelances as a children's wear buyer and private label designer. Tina also teaches a marketing course at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.