Before I can get you to the heart of this post, I first need to explain a little something about how we do the buying for the store. While we are constantly looking for new and exciting brands, filling in with new merchandise, and looking to keep our devoted customers looking head-to-toe perfection- the truth is we make most of our selections during what’s called “fashion coterie” in New York, and we do this twice a year. September is amazing. There’s nothing like the Big Apple at that time of year- the weather is very nearly almost perfect and you can walk the whole city without withering into a puddle of perspiration, or losing a digit to frostbite. To quote an unnamed engaging yet cringe-worthy movie “Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” Well, it’s kinda just like that, and I just might, come this fall, send all of Charlottesville a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils from Kate’s Paperie.
But I digress.
So in September, we are there buying for Spring! Light-as-air dresses with ditsy floral prints, featherweight cashmere in sorbet colors, it’s lovely. Going to Coterie in September makes me feel like I have the best job in the world.
Now, as I’ve waxed poetic for the last three paragraphs, you’ll be understandably aghast (as was I) when, last September, those sorbet sweaters came in the following array of colors: asphalt, charcoal, graphite, ash, slate, sledge, smoke, and, lest they be too creative: gray. (Though, to be fair, it was often presented as gris.)
It was a bummer, to say the least. If I’ve learned nothing else in retail it’s that come February, despite arctic temps and blizzard conditions, women are READY for Spring and will buy open-toed sandals, and pedal pushers just to keep in the closet a promise of what is to come: The promise of sunshine and pedicured toes, chilled white wine and dining al fresco. The sandals, the floral dress, these things get us through the end of February and early March (Sprinter! See earlier post). So I was genuinely dismayed at the thought of a shop that looked inside, just like it felt outside (sludge!).
How was I going to sell this- literally and metaphorically? So to get *finally* to the point of this post, the following are my suggestions on how to turn lemons into lemonade i.e. How to do GRAY for SPRING.
- Show as much skin as possible while simultaneously staying as warm as possible. It’s a fine line, but you can walk it. Visual inspiration here:
- A pop of color. Shown here with 2013’s Pantone color of the year, emerald green. Get this look: In the shop right now we have VPL’s shark silk trapeze dress in charcoal, black and emerald.
- Back to that lemonade metaphor. Any shade of grey pairs perfectly with yellow and white.