Architectural cutouts are key this spring to giving ready-to-wear sheaths and blouses that sought-after couture feel.

The peek-a-boo can be so alluring. At the shoulders, it's come-hitherish. Revealing of the arms, confident. Down the back? H-O-T.

And in an effort to infuse levity into the take-no-prisoners detail, fashion is surprising us with awesome color combinations.

Lime green is electrifying baby blues. Peach is cooling down fire-truck reds. Lemon yellow is lighting up lavenders.

"I think we are ready for some sunshine," said Noelle Cutler, fashion spokeswoman for Bloomingdale's in King of Prussia and Willow Grove Mall. "This season we will see colors paired together that fashion used to frown upon."

We can thank Michael Kors and Max Azria for softening the severity of the cutout. Kors took simple silhouettes - namely the Jackie O sheath - and sliced slits at the shoulders and below the breastbone. In some pieces, Kors gave us glimpses of flesh, and on others, he replaced the missing pieces of his architectural puzzle with mesh fabric or clear plastic.

Local designer Pamela Ptak, of Riegelsville in Bucks County, has been designing cutouts into her garments for some time. It's the 47-year-old couturier's signature look.

"My customers are longing for clean silhouettes with just a little drama," said Ptak, who was one of the 16 designers on the seventh season of Project Runway. She was eliminated in the show's second week, but her design aesthetic is right in line with what's to come in women's wear.

"We are ready to shift from a small-shouldered, close-fitting slender silhouette to something with expansiveness," Ptak said.

In keeping with this spring's light, unpredictable, and odd pairings, we decided to showcase our cutouts with cupcakes. What better place to explore the power of pastel on pastel than in Center City's Philly Cupcake with its teal-and-pink floor, crystal chandelier, and stainless-steel appliances?

But while the space provides the perfect backdrop for these clothes, cupcakes aren't your friend when wearing them. The look requires a near-perfect physique. Missing fabric near the bustline is alluring as long as you aren't fighting the battle of the bulge.

We suggest you wear this look after you claim victory. I

Contact Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704 or