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Bloom for Improvement – Ways to Revamp Your Closet for Spring

Take a Spring Forward – Bright and White Essential for Your Style Shape-Up

The Dress
Its a spring classic that doesn’t go out of style – a Jersey wrap dress, $298, at Diane von Furstenberg, 385 W. 12th St. But whatever you buy, go for a bold print and bright color. “For work, its about finding something not too clingy,” says Elena Castaneda, owner of newyorkimageconsultants.com. “

PURGE
* Edit your wardrobe. Pull everything out and try it on. “If you hardly wore it this season, dont pack it away,” Castaneda says. “Youre not going to wear it again.”

* Gering recommends ditching the boot cut and flared leg jeans and pants with low waists. Ask the tough questions: “Does it fit well? Is the style working for now? Give yourself a new rule: dont wear clothes that need to be fixed or cleaned.”

* “The Bohemian trend of last season is definitely dead and gone,” Graham says. “Comfortable though it was, were moving on.” This includes maxi-length hippie skirts, boho beads and tunic dresses.

* Ditch the hardware-heavy handbags: “Its so done. Even Marc Jacobs has toned it down,”

* Distressed jeans with embellishments like crystals or embroidery (inset) are out, as are hip belts.

KEEP
* Your trenchcoat stays. “Try using a little ribbon as a belt and store the existing belt,” Graham says.

* You can stick with corduroy and tropical weight wools, such as a good basic Theory pant in black, for the next couple of months, Gering says. “Those will take you till the 4th of July.”

* Leave out light wool sweaters in bright colors, except turtlenecks. “You put them with a white pant instead of a black pant for spring,” Castaneda says.

* You can still wear slingbacks from the fall.

BUY
* Long, lean jeans in a dark wash, no bells or whistles.

* “White plastic frames are new this season: think Sienna Miller, looking chic in oversized plastic frames. For those who love the classic aviator, this is your season. Gold ones are particularly fashion forward,” Graham says.

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On Their Best Behavior

By Karen Robinovitz

There’s been no shortage lately of high-profile men behaving badly – from proud womanizer Colin Farrell (who just announced he got one of his girlfriends pregnant) to Fred Durst (who told Howard Stern every detail of the night he spent with Britney Spears, including, but not limited to, whether she gets bikini waxes) and Justin Timberlake, whose video for “Cry Me a River” seemed like a thinly veiled, kiss-and-tell attack on ex-girlfriend Spears. And that’s not all: “Blind Date,” “Elimidate” and the Metro Channel’s reality show, “To Live and Date in New York,” have proven to be showcases for crude men who pick food out of their mouths with their fingers, gawk at other women and refuse to pay the bill while on dates. “It’s appalling to watch so many guys who have no clue,” says Ali Renata, a real estate agent who describes most of her own dates as “train wrecks.” (…)

But Post says that the most common mistakes men make are a bit more subtle – such as dressing inappropriately. “I can’t count the times I’ve been out and seen a woman dressed up and the guy looking sloppy,” he says. Geraci, while chivalrous by nature, confesses to personal style problems. He even sought image consultant Elena Castaneda to help him get rid of his “50-year-old man” clothes and embrace “modern classics” to improve his dating life. Castaneda works with matchmaker Janis Spindel, who sends her male clients for coaching when she senses bad behavior. “Fifty percent of my female clients complain [about their dates],” she says. “I can tell you stories from now until doomsday about the guy who blew his nose in a cloth napkin at the table, or the major CEO who wiped his mouth with his fingers. Men need behavioral techniques about how to act on a date, which is why I work with Elena ,” she says.

Ron Geraci, a dating columnist for Men’s Health magazine, explains men’s renewed interest in learning how to behave properly: “We’re a few generations removed from a time when etiquette was a principled thing,” he says, “so [men] just don’t know any better.” For the record: Geraci’s father, “an old world gentleman,” was 60 when his son was born, and passed on time-honored lessons of chivalry. (Tip: Geraci always walks on the street side when he’s with a woman, checks her coat at coat checks and has even reprimanded friends who’ve made the massive mistake of not walking through a revolving door before a woman.)

“It’s true that more men are paying attention to manners,” says etiquette consultant Nicole DeVault, who offers a two-hour private course for $300. “[Men] come to me under the guise of wanting corporate etiquette skills, but they all want to know about social skills,” she says. And Ali Renata thinks most men in New York should run for help. “On a recent first date, the guy asked me to leave the tip,” she says. “I was appalled!”

However, 36-year-old talent agent Andrew Howard says, “We let you pay when you offer – if we don’t like, and don’t care, to see you again.”