Bright colors, bold patterns on trend for Triple Crown fashion

Mar. 26—With Spring on its way and Aiken's famed Triple Crown right around the corner, choosing the right clothes to wear is key to making the most of the season. From trending color schemes to breathable fabrics, Aiken clothing experts have broken down the style trends of early 2024.

Terri Rourk, co-owner of Curated Clothiers in Aiken, shared her thoughts on some of the styles and trends that will be popular this spring.

"We are just starting to receive our spring inventory, some really pretty florals, [and] a lot of wonderful things for the steeplechase," she said. Rourk said that breathable linens are going to be a staple fabric, and noted that the shop is putting up a line of lightweight leather jackets. Accessories she thinks women will be reaching for in the upcoming months include belts with interchangeable buckles and T-shirt dresses.

Van Smith, owner of Lionel Smith Ltd. men's clothing store, also talked about spring fashion for equestrian occasions like the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, saying that men will want to grab colorful and patterned pieces that make a statement.

"People like to dress to the nines," said Smith. "Try to wear a colorful shirt at least, and a colorful bow tie."

Strong spring colors, according to the menswear specialist, are going to be jewel toned shades like fuchsia, lavender, purple, pink, teal and green.

Smith said that Triple Crown events are a time when many conservatively dressed men will push their boundaries and wear things they wouldn't usually reach for, from plaid pants to colorful socks. Smith said that jeans and khakis are appropriate, but should be paired with a boldly hued top.

Katherine Gouge from Pitter Patter and Caroline's Boutique, a joint women's and children's clothing store, also gave her input on spring fashion. Gouge said that embellished pieces and bold colors are in style, this year with a distinctly pink flavor: "We're definitely seeing what I call the Barbie effect, for kids and adults," she said. "I think it's a fun pop of color."

For spring equestrian events, Gouge predicts that tiered dresses and flowy pieces will be wardrobe essentials.

"I think we're also seeing a bit more structure... stiffer fabric is definitely coming back, which we haven't seen for a couple of years," she said, giving a nod to A-line and 1960s mod-style dresses, as well as shorts and jacket sets. "They definitely have more of a retro feel, but I think you'll see that a lot at steeplechase just because it's a little more practical to be wearing out there... [they] still feel very spring and in fashion."

Tailored Gents owner Jessica Alberto said that denim is "in" for spring, noting her shop's selection of the classic fabric for all genders.

"We also have a lot of the lightweight performance materials that are going to be in for the gentlemen," she said.

For Steeplechase, she said that quintessential spring colors — lively hues like greens and yellows — are always in style. "We've also got some straw hats we're bringing in that are always popular for those types of events as well, for both men and women," she said.