Byline: Brenda Lloyd

ATLANTA — Southeast retailers will be scouring the Atlanta market for holiday dresses and suits, and the handbags, wraps and jewelry to go with them. But they haven’t quite put fall behind them, either. Many are looking to fill in with accessories and sweaters. Here’s what a few buyers had to say about the upcoming market.
Cornelia Collins, co-owner, The Carriage Shop, Tallahassee, Fla.
“We’ll be doing some fall accessories and some fill-ins for early fall, but most of the trip is for holiday.
“We’re looking for after-five separates, sweaters and knit tops, as well as holiday accessories like bags, jewelry, rhinestones and wraps — big shawls or wraps for the spaghetti strap and sleeveless dresses.
“Our focus, though, is on dresses. We’ll buy some daytime dresses, but we don’t offer that much daytime during holiday in our market, which is better price points for 25-to-65-year-olds.
“No cruise. We don’t have that much of a cruise customer that time of year. We’ll bring it in after Christmas.
“Basically, we’ll be interested in anything fun. Maybe some hats. Something different and unusual that we can sell, whether it’s something new for the hair or sunglasses or socks. We’ll check out the whole market. We have 30 percent open-to-buy for holiday.”
Hal Richards, owner, H. Richard’s Clothing Co., Rome, Ga.
“We’ll be looking for some fall and holiday.
“We’re doing well with career things now, and we’ll be looking for some neat layering pieces — shells and blouses. We also do well with sweaters; we’re always on the hunt for a unique sweater. We’d also like to get some leather, like black leather, for dresses and for special occasion.
“Wools, cottons and blends in sweaters and outerwear will also be on the list. We’ve already bought cashmere from Tse. And we’ll also do some Geiger 00, their classic wool jackets, which we can dress up and down.
“We’ll be looking for belts, scarves, jewelry and the next thing at Brighton.
“In special occasion, we need dresses — cocktail outfits in either dresses or suits — and we’ll do a lot of black. Also, we have a real good feel for red for fall.
“Our holiday open-to-buy depends on what we find, but we have 30 to 40 percent for the Atlanta market. And I may not book there because I tend to take notes and pictures. We cherry-pick.”
Gail Mercer, owner, Alltogether, Augusta, Ga.
“I’ll be buying fall and a little holiday and a little transitional (from summer to fall) that I can get shipped reasonably quick.
“For fall (August/September deliveries), I’ll be looking for some neat items, accessories, some spicy things in jackets and sweaters — things that are new and novel and that can be worn in multiple ways, not just a basic cardigan or jacket.
“I need lightweight fabrics for fall — microfibers, polyester, silks. Ann May Silks is a great silk line and great for our climate.
“I’ll also be looking for some younger contemporary things. We bought Hard Tail (young, contemporary sportswear), which was a giant leap of faith for us, but it’s really selling well. I’m looking for some more things like that — a line that’s comfortable, easy, soft, that’s throw-on-everyday and casual, but looks finished.
“The accessories I’ll be looking for are belts, jewelry, handbags, scarves, and I’ll buy lingerie, too. I’ve bought very little fall so far, and I’ll probably have 40 percent of my money left.
“The transitional merchandise I need is lightweight, dark things that people can wear in late July, August and September as things get cranked up for fall. It’s still hot, but the customers are fashion-oriented and don’t want to wear white any longer. I’ll look for lightweight sweaters, cool fabrics but in dark colors, vests to complete outfits and things that aren’t so structured.
“I’m just starting holiday at the June market, and I’ll finish it in August. I need more sweaters, a little leather and suede for real gift-giving and dressy separates for parties. Also, some accessories — jewelry, handbags and things you might give as a gift, but I won’t pick up a lot more. My open-to-buy for this will be around 25 percent.
Angela Coffee, owner, Angela’s, Leitchfield, Ky.
“We’re going to Atlanta for holiday. We bought fall in April.
“We’ll be looking for girls’ pageant dresses, lingerie and party dresses for Christmas and New Year’s. The lines we’ll look at include Precious Formals, and I’d like to get Lauralie, which I found in another store and really liked. It may not be carried in Atlanta, however. We’ll do all our holiday buying at that show.”

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