Trent Whitten, president of Whitten’s Town & Country Clothes in Albertsville, Ala., shares a few secrets and observations.
Where He Shops: I love the Atlanta market, but I also go to New York three to four times a year to buy boutique lines I can’t buy in Atlanta and to get ideas.
Secret Finds: At the last show, we discovered Maya, a line of handbags, in Cornucopia (Accessories). They’re tiny handbags made of frosted glass with silver.
And, as I was walking through the first floor, I saw these marvelous hats and dresses. Davyne Dial makes the hats to order and dyes them vegetable colors. Susan McDuffy makes the dresses. She does one style of dress in several colors. It zips up the front and has a jacket, a skirt and pants. Dial dyes the hats to match the dresses.
I rediscovered Geiger at the last show, too. We used to carry it 20 years ago. They’re known for their boiled-wool jackets. We bought those, as well as some long coats and printed skirts.
Tried and True Lines: David Brooks and Susan Bristol.
Current Bestsellers: Lily Pulitzer dresses, Eileen Fisher sportswear, David Dart sportswear and dresses, April Cornell, especially children’s, and linen dresses in general, especially in longer lengths for weddings and teas.
Favorite Showroom: I don’t have a favorite showroom, but there are a few where we can always find what we love. One is what we call the New York showroom, where we find Chetta B and Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman. And we buy a lot in Don Overcast’s showroom — Black Tie by Oleg Cassini, Kay Unger, Herbert Grossman suits and Kelly Graham. Don is really on top of things, and he always has new resources. We also buy Victor Costa at Wayne Putnam’s showroom.
Biggest Challenge at the Mart: The mart is too big and spread out with too many empty showrooms. But I do like the way they’ve put all of one category on one floor. I like the Fashion Accessories and Fine Jewelry Center. That saves buyers a lot of time.
June Market Agenda: We’ll be buying holiday and some fall things. We usually buy more accessories at this market — and sweaters. First, you get your sportswear lines in, then later, you might see something in sweaters and think that color would be great with the sportswear.
We also plan to buy black tie dresses by Victor Costa, Rickie Freeman and others.
We’ll also be looking at resort sportswear in lighter colors, but still maybe some wool. I’ll be looking at linen dresses in wonderful colors, slacks, shorts and sweaters.
I’ll spend around 30 percent of my holiday and immediate delivery for fall open-to-buy. Our big buy for fall was in April.