Clothes Call: Meet Our New Fashion Columnist

My name is Lisa and I’d love to be your personal stylist.

All you need to do is ask.

Here’s what I bring to the dressing room: I’ve covered style and the business of fashion for several publications, including Women’s Wear Daily, the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business. I’m also a textile junkie who knows that silk is a fabric and satin is a finish. Personally, and please forgive the brag, I never have to worry about what to wear. I have a compact closet of mostly basics with a few fun things, and have learned to mix and match to create an extensive classics-with-a-twist wardrobe.

Most of all, I love to give fashion advice and am good at it. I’m my friends’ go-to for their most vexing wardrobe dilemmas.

That’s my story; the rest is up to you. Every month, I will provide straightforward and practical answers to your most pressing fashion and style questions. In the coming months, I’ll address wedding attire (brides and guests) and de-code dress codes. Send your questions on those topics and more to

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Now, to the inaugural Clothes Call topic: Transition dressing. I’ll always be grateful for my Eddie Bauer coat and Keen boots, but come March 20, all I want to do is get them properly cleaned and then store them in the back of a very deep closet. What I don’t want to do is be cold or look like an idiot, done up in spring pastels and light fabrics when the wind’s still whipping out of the north.

My best friends, and yours, from now until May: Layers and colors.

Layering is style’s best trick ever. Break out that springy silk or chiffon blouse; just wear it under a gray or navy jacket or cardigan. If you want the look of the blouse alone, wear it over a cotton/stretch camisole. (Gap has a nice selection; I personally swear by the $8 camis at Pitaya, available online and in Chicago at 1463 N. Milwaukee Ave.) The cami provides warmth and adds structure to lighter fabrics, plus makes them easier to tuck in.

Legwear, too, offers warmth and structure under lighter fabrics. Trade winter’s black and charcoal gray for heather gray or oatmeal, or even a bold cobalt blue if that fits your style profile.

For colors, think spring—but with a bit of saturation. That means lime green, azalea pink, periwinkle blue and apricot-orange. Those colors, not quite jewel tones and not quite pastels, “lighten the feeling,” says Cara Hotz, a Chicago style consultant based in the West Loop. Hotz suggests pairing a light-hued puffer jacket (the one you’d never wear in the depths of sloppy, slushy winter) with a bright scarf in light cashmere or even rayon.

Accessories can lighten up in spring, too. If your heavy leather tote needs a winter break, opt for a shopper or hobo in one of those brighter colors. Kate Spade’s Cedar Street Hayden, which comes in an eye-popping pink and a gentler mint green ($358), is a great example.


Hotz loves the “bit of shine” that patent adds to a transitional wardrobe. A patent bag or carryall; patent skimmers or ballet flats in black or nude; and even the flash of a patent belt send a subtle hint of spring.

Manhattan Ballet, $158, Cole Haan

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