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Spring Fashion Forward | Features

Your pressing style problems solved
By Lynda Wheatley | April 23, 2022

Sure, those who like to shop til they drop can spend eons happily scouring the myriad clothing boutiques peppering our Up North towns. As for the rest of us? Sometimes we just need someone to tell us what to wear. Here, a look at shops offering unique services certain to spruce up your wardrobe and simplify your shopping this spring.

Color Us Excited
Professional color analysis services
Winter, spring, summer, fall—any woman, girl, or teen of the ’80s and ’90s probably remembers the “Color Me Beautiful” craze. What began as a book to help ladies find the seasonal color palette to complement their eyes, hair, and skin tone spawned an industry of Color Me Beautiful seminars and the purging of “not-my-season” clothing and makeup from drawers and closets nationwide.

Tracey Lark, owner of Relish boutique in Traverse City, remembers the phenomenon well: “My mom used to carry around her color palette wheel in her purse when shopping for clothing.”
So when Lark saw color analyses trending on not one but several social media platforms, she searched for a color consultant course to take so she could offer the service to her customers.

Those of us bored to tears of the monochromatic black, white, cream, and gray schemes dominating home décor and daily outfits for the last decade, rejoice: After three weeks of study and a final exam analyzing 25 photos, Lark nailed the course, scoring 100 percent.

“It was so much harder than I expected,” she says. “In the ’80s, there were four seasons to choose from—spring, winter, summer, autumn. That shifted to 12 seasons in the ’90s,” Lark says. “I did the advanced training course, which is 22 seasons. Most people fall within the 12 seasons. But there are some that just don’t quite fit there, and that’s where the other 10 season choices come into play. I color match you until it’s perfect.”

Does that mean there’s hope for us 80s-era winter women frustrated by berry lipstick that’s “supposed” to look great? What about autumn gals who pine to wear silver jewelry again?

Lark says we might not even be winters or autumns anymore. “I have encountered several women who were ‘colored’ back in the ’80s or ’90s, and as they’ve aged, their season has changed,” she says. “Also a few that have been mis-analyzed.”

Here’s how it works: A color analysis with Lark costs $100 and will happen at Relish—while the shop is closed and by appointment only—beginning May 1. Clients must be makeup free at their session, and if they dye their hair a color significantly different than their natural color, should bring in a photo of themselves between the age of 7 and 14, Lark says. Each consult takes about an hour (though clients who want to shop afterward are welcome to) and includes a take-home palette of 20 seasonal colors, tips on makeup colors and jewelry shades for their skin tone, and an invite to Lark’s private Facebook group, Relishing in Color.

Ethical and Accessible (And It Actually Fits)
Customize your own capsule wardrobe
Maybe it’s us, but building a capsule wardrobe has always seemed like an uphill battle. How do you know all the pieces will work together, and how can you be sure you’re buying classic staples instead of trends?

Yana Dee offers a solution. Perhaps best known as a source of uber-flattering, comfy, and customizable dresses made of all-natural fabrics, the designer and her eponymous Traverse City shop today has such a multitude of pieces in so many designs—“We’ve got a few hundred now,” Dee tells us—you can curate your own made-to-fit-and-flatter capsule wardrobe in one place, often in less than an hour.

Here’s how it works: Check out Dee’s designs online, then walk in off the street to scope all that’s available—not only her hallmark dresses but also pants, leggings, skirts, tops, outer layers, jewelry, hats, and even intimates.

Since Dee’s designs don’t align with the narrow scope of traditional manufacturing—think Small, Small/Medium, Medium, Medium/Large, etc.—she says most people will fall within the more forgiving range of sizes available on the sales floor but offers free alterations of up to 4 inches.

For more customized fits or bigger changes—say, adding a cowl neck or bell sleeve to a top that doesn’t already have it—you can have that too, albeit with a small charge, on any but Dee’s limited-edition designs.

As for color, pattern, and fabric, you pick: “Made-to-order and ready to wear are typically the same price,” she says. “Most of our fabrics are on an even playing field.” Translation: Changing from organic cotton to hemp won’t prompt a price increase; a switch from hemp to hemp silk will.

Regardless, a shop visit is key, says Dee. “There might be three colors on the rack, but then there might be eight more in the swatch book that we have at the studio you could order. So going in, feeling the fabrics, getting a sense of what material and designs you like, then homing in on colors and size variations [is important],” says Dee. “Abby, Courtney, and Katie [on the sales floor] are all super well-versed in taking measurements and finding designs that fit and flatter particular body shapes.”

Customized pieces are ordered and sent to the studio on the spot. Dee’s turnaround is typically three weeks or less.

So, what’s Dee suggest for a Michigan spring capsule?

“It definitely depends on work and lifestyle, but I recommend starting with our Butter Leggings and Butter Bra [which can be worn as a supportive, stand-alone shirt],” she says. “I’ve made them in every size and color and shipped them all over the world, and they’ve got 5-star reviews from women that are extremely small to women in quadruple sizes.”
Once your base is set, add Dee’s classic Harper and Stella tunics for a heavy- and light-weight layer option on top. For a basic pull-on jersey dress to stand alone or wear over leggings, try on the ever-popular Huckleberry (sleeveless) or Elderberry (three-quarter sleeve). “They fit and flatter everybody,” Dee says.

Want more pants? Tops? Skirts? Stuff with pockets? The six pieces above ARE a substantial start or (if you’ve got some coordinating options already at home) an entire spring capsule, but if you want more, well, rest easy: You’ve got a few hundred more options to go.

Speaking of Bespoke
Summers in NYC, a reputation as Cincinnati’s leading haberdasher, and 25 years in the fashion industry count for a lot here—especially when the guy with the aforementioned resume runs a shop in our backyard.

But Trevor Furbay’s Harbor Springs boutique goes well beyond the racks of high-end designer wear (Pantheralla socks, eleventy, Raffi, Atelier Munro among them), tailoring services, and curated style boxes. He and wife, longtime retail guru Amy Furbay, also offer one-on-one wardrobe consulting to help you build a wardrobe (and learn about the oft-overlooked necessity of proper garment care) and closet cleaning services to “keep your wardrobe up to date and at its best.” Keep abreast of their boutique’s opening date by following “Trevor Furbay Bespoke” on Facebook.