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By Kelsie Allen Barton and Ashton Pike | Photo: by Elle Wood | February 27, 2018
They say the eyes are the window to the soul; we say it’s the closet. Here, four ATL tastemakers expose their wardrobe wonders.
When it comes to Tenisha Clarke’s closet, “no amount of space will ever be enough space,” she says—hence the two shoe racks residing inside her Vinings apartment’s living room, which, together, hold more than 100 pairs of sneakers. “I get dressed from the feet up,” says the 25-year-old general manager of Wish Atlanta, an urban streetwear boutique in Little Five Points. But while her laid-back, athletic style may scream “effortless,” the printed tags stitched inside each piece—from ASOS and Balenciaga to Alexander Wang and Gucci—prove Clarke is more meticulous than meets the eye; her looks are completely intentional from head to toe. “My style is heavily inspired by travel and architecture,” she explains. “I like clean lines, minimalism and gender-ambiguous design elements.”
Despite Clarke’s hefty collection of couture, not one ensemble goes untouched: “Everything gets worn,” she affirms. That includes the six Marchesa gowns nestled in the far back of her walk-in closet—“I’m thinking of whipping them out soon and creating some edgy dress-over-denim looks,” she says.
With frequent online sprees at Net-A-Porter, Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus, Clarke manages to stay up to speed on the season’s latest styles; though there is one little number that claims the top spot in her heart: a vintage Gucci orange corduroy blazer. “I’ve always been in love with the idea of being able to reinvent myself daily with a different look,” she says of her unapologetically fierce style. Consider us closet-struck. @tenishatenisha
One step into Sohaib Iqbal’s Zara-, Ralph Lauren- and J.Crew-adorned closet, and it’s a total tailor-made heaven, colorfully painted with rows and rows of Italian-inspired blazers, jackets, button-down shirts, sweaters, vests and more, all in dramatic shades and luxe textures. “Fashion has always been a vital part of my life, and it comes easy to me as I dress to my mood,” says the 24-year-old Atlantan with Pakistani roots. “I love rich, vibrant colors, and I enjoy experimenting with bold and lively patterns.” Unsurprisingly, Iqbal’s passion pours over into his profession as a fashion designer of his own on-the-rise label, Chiragh Apparel. “The materials I choose for each article of clothing are one-of-a-kind; the fabric, seams, buttons, zips and stitching are uniquely my own,” he says. “And the fun factor is that I get to wear something no one else has.”
From Roberto Mararo to Fabrizio Oriani, “there is so much one can learn about the art of dressing by studying the fashionable men of Italy,” says the dapper designer, which explains his double-rod closet’s keepings—think vintage monk-strap shoes, tailored blazers (which require their own separate space in his closet, by the way), fitted shirts and high-waisted trousers. And when it comes to accessories, much like color, Iqbal is anything but shy. “Flat caps, button-hole suspenders and cravats are the best accessories to complete your look,” he says. “When you take fashion risks, people will notice. It inspires them to get to know the person underneath the clothing.” @sohaib_iqbal; @chiraghapparel
THE ECO WARRIOR
Two wardrobe units—both adorned with brass woodland-creature door knockers for an Anthropologie-esque feel—house the bulk of 28-year-old Jess Hunt-Ralston’s sustainable-chic clothing, separated by temperature and use, then by item type and color (“Getting dressed is so much easier when everything’s well-organized,” she quips.). Think Tradlands flannels, supersoft alpaca sweaters, Paige Denim and Stella McCartney wool trousers—all items that fit what she calls her “efficient, elegant, ethical, easy” style. “There’s really nothing like well-designed, well-made clothing that’s been tailored just for you,” says the Georgia Tech communications officer, blogger and former SCAD fit model, who grew up on a farm in Northeast Georgia and now lives with her husband, Chad, in their renovated 1930s craftsman bungalow in Poncey-Highland.
The self-proclaimed thrifter—local charity shop Attic Treasures and Chamblee’s Antique Row are go-tos—says natural fibers, strong stitches, neutral colors and French seams are among her current obsessions. But the piece Hunt-Ralston holds most dear? “A Claddagh ring from a windswept honeymoon through Ireland to Edinburgh to Islay,” she reveals.
Inspiration is everywhere for this beauty, from travel (up next: a trip to Chile to learn about her friends’ recycling foundation) to equestrian gear to Star Wars. But, ultimately, nature—“that greatest of all designers,” she says—is what guides her. “It all feels right when what you’re wearing fits in with the world around you.” @jesshuntralston
THE SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN
Carnell Roberts hasn’t let the size of his Buckhead apartment’s closet stop him from being one of Atlanta’s best-dressed dudes. The 30-year-old speech-language pathologist at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center and personal trainer at L.A. Fitness fills his jewel box of a space with a colorful array of stylish gems, which he organizes weekly. Given his Southern upbringing—something that’s apparent the moment guests step into his warm and well-decorated abode, where a cheese plate and glass of wine typically await—it’s no surprise Roberts counts pocket squares and watches among his obsessions, and that blazers take up the most real estate within his closet. But the 2016 JEZEBEL Most Eligible and blogger actually uses the phrase “trendy mixer” to describe his style. “I like to mix clothes of all genres,” he says. “My motto is no label is off limits, from Gucci to Goodwill.”
The diversity of Roberts’ wardrobe and ease with which he blends high and low makes it fun to see what he’ll wear next. Most recently, he scooped up “pretty much everything on the clearance rack at Marshalls,” he jokes, but his next purchase will likely be Taft boots or Persol sunglasses. And though Aston Grey combat boots are his prized possession, Roberts also owns smoking slippers, oxfords, cowboy boots—you name it—so he’s ready for any scenario based on “a combo of the weather and my daily feelings,” he says.
Regardless of the forecast, however, Roberts’ secret weapon remains the same: “My white skinny jeans,” he says. “I keep them on repeat year-round.” @thegeorgiangent