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Fall Fashion: Columbus Boutiques Showcase Warm Colors, Cool Accessories and Classic Styles

Five Central Ohio shop owners offer fresh looks for the new season.

Sherry Beck Paprocki

Central Ohio—and all of the world—is undergoing a distinctive change when it comes to fashion. Warmer colors, classic styles and sustainable solutions are emerging out of Central Ohio’s boutiques, reflecting what’s happening around the globe.

With Columbus being the heartbeat of so many fashion brands, dozens of entrepreneurial designers and boutique owners, such as Xantha Ward of Xantha and Stephanie Tersigni of Jolie, thrive here. Shoppers need not look far outside the city for some of the most current trends on the market. Whether it’s shopping at one of Vernacular’s three boutiques in Central Ohio or strolling the Short North to stop in at Samson’s, White Lemon and others, it’s easy for those who need therapeutic shopping to sate their appetites.

Headlining this season’s fashion shift is an influx of warm colors. Vibrant shades of pink and brown or tones of green and yellow infuse wardrobes with bright—even neon—colors that draw attention, declaring that fashion society is alive and well. Layer those fresh new looks into a classic wardrobe—even if you’re still wearing last year’s relaxed, elasticized slacks and jeans.

Flared pants, flowing sleeves and hemlines, feminine suits with long, fitted jackets over midriff tops, and well-ripped denim—keep these fashion thoughts on your radar as you enter the new season.

Jolie Occasions owner Stephanie Tersigni (left) is wearing a mauve high-low top, $68. Store manager Allisa Romanini is in a rust-colored, ruffled, satin dress, $72.

Jolie Occasions

Columbus native Stephanie Tersigni launched Jolie Occasions in the Short North five years ago and moved to its spacious corner location at 867 N. High St. just before the pandemic. Unapologetically feminine, Jolie carries women’s clothing that is light and colorful, and the store’s design reflects that feeling. A leader among Short North business owners, organizing fashion parades and such, Tersigni has also delved into design, creating her own clothing collection last year and making some of Jolie’s accessory products.

What’s the must-have item for this year’s fall fashion? Vintage-inspired cropped cardigans

Is there a hot color for fall fashion? Shades of green

What’s the biggest style trend wrapping up the year? Blazers with matching bottoms

Facebook and Instagram: @jolieoccasions

Samson, A Men’s Emporium owner Travis Samson (center) is wearing a green Irish tweed waistcoat from Celtic Tweeds, $179; Fulton striped Oxford shirt from O.N.S., $88; slim tapered jeans from Ace Rivington, $229; skinny standard belt from Tanner Goods, $95; buckle loafer from Rancourt & Co., $340; and Halyard sport chronograph watch from Jack Mason, $449. He is holding a crystal double Old Fashioned glass from Schott Zwiesel, $80 (set of four). At left, model Sam Branstool wears a Shawl Sweater Coat 2.0 from Dehen 1920, $395; scout plaid shirt from Filson, $115; slim tapered jeans from Ace Rivington, $229; and skinny standard belt from Tanner Goods, $95. At right, model Jordan Tyler wears a chambray CPO shirt from Filson, $125; Active Puremeso short sleeve Henley from The Normal Brand, $58; tailored terry five-pocket pant from The Normal Brand, $109; Byron boot from Rancourt & Co., $395; and Avigator watch from Jack Mason, $399.

Samson, A Men’s Emporium

Travis Samson opened Samson, A Men’s Emporium, back in 2015 after being a resident of the Short North for over 20 years. Today, he thinks of it as a classic, yet casual men’s clothing store, but also as a general store, offering accessories, men’s grooming and beard care, as well as carrying an extensive line of barware. Steeped in a tradition of the hard work he witnessed by his grandfathers, Samson channels energy from both—one was a dairy farmer in southern West Virginia and the other bolted from his coal miner’s job into the role of a successful Maytag salesperson. Samson recently moved to 694 N. High St. from its original spot at 772 N. High St. The new space provides more storage and a delectable backdrop for the boutique’s social events.

What do men need to know about fashion this season? “I believe we’re starting to see men shying away from the fast fashion that we’ve witnessed for the last 10 years and wanting to incorporate well-made clothing. At Samson, we focus on great quality in a classic style. Buy and wear it forever.”

Is there currently a hot color? “Men, you can add other colors than blue and gray to your wardrobe. Green is the next most comfortable color for most guys, but I’ve been seeing a lot of yellow, lavender and mauve.”

What’s the biggest style trend you’ve seen in 2022? “Post-COVID I’m seeing the shift from gym and loungewear back to guys wanting to dress up again. Thank God! Our tie and suit sales have been tremendous this past year.”

Instagram: @ShopSamson  

Tomi Jones models a denim hat and other designs from Xantha.

Xantha

Xantha Ward is a visionary, starting her career in fashion by deconstructing and upcycling denim in the 1980s. Today, that’s called sustainable fashion. Xantha’s interests have grown into high fashion, avant garde and couture designs. She also creates one-of-a-kind statement jewelry. She has learned different techniques from some of the best teachers in fashion and has taken some select classes at Columbus College of Art & Design. A fixture during Columbus Fashion Week, her work has appeared in shows around the United States and Europe. Her eponymous boutique is at 631 S. Hamilton Road in Whitehall and is open by appointment only. Ward’s creativity has also inspired a mobile boutique on wheels that travels to festivals and other out-of-town events.

What is your favorite Xantha design? “My couture jackets. I like them because they are over the top and they call attention to whomever is wearing it.” 

What are your other favorite brands? “Brands that I love to wear are Snooks, Twisted Diva and Xantha.”

What are the current trends in fashion for denim? “I think that more people will create more sustainable denim, which in return will help the environment.”

Instagram: @XanthaWard

From left: Vernacular manager Kim Osborne, manager Madi Osborne and co-owners Chelsea and Kris Konieczko at the boutique’s Grandview location

Vernacular

Retail entrepreneurs Kris and Chelsea Konieczko opened their first storefront back in 2013. Today, they have expanded to three Vernacular locations: Grandview, German Village and Worthington. The boutiques feature a casual lifestyle brand at affordable price points, and they have struck a positive chord with Central Ohio women. Described as a brand that features “East Coast classic with West Coast vibe,” the owners carefully watch trends and choose to stock what sells well. Stores include a healthy blend of women’s fashions and accessories, as well as glassware and other accoutrements for the home. Dealing in home goods isn’t new for the couple. Their original, post-college venture was a store called Objects for the Home in Grandview.

Must have items? “We’re loving a blazer for fall, whether it’s a casual knit or more classic structured fit.”

Hot color? “You can’t go wrong with jewel tones and neutrals.”

Stylish jewelry? “Yellow gold pieces you can layer”

Instagram: @shopvernacular

White Lemon owner Alaina Fuss-Cheatham wears the Fiona flowy romper, $58.

White Lemon

When Alaina Fuss-Cheatham arrived in Columbus from her native Zanesville, she planned to major in fashion merchandising and marketing at Ohio State University. “It’s always been there,” she says, regarding her intense interest in the field. But eventually Fuss-Cheatham became a registered nurse via Columbus State, working for six years at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. During that time, she and her husband, Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, launched their first venture, an e-commerce brand focused mainly on T-shirts.

In 2019, they founded Moby Dick 3pl, a Whitehall-based order fulfillment company, helping various e-commerce companies distribute their products. A few years later, White Lemon was born out of Alaina’s original love of fashion. “As our other business grew, my interest in opening a boutique grew, as well,” she says. “It’s always been a passion of mine; it just took 25 years to bring it to fruition.” White Lemon, at 751 N. High St., carries an array of women’s clothing and accessories of all sizes.

What’s the must-have item for this year’s fall fashion? “Blazers, dressed up or worn more casually” 

Is there a hot color this fall? “It would be hard to pick one, but I think pinks, corals and rich brown tones.”

What’s the biggest style trend of 2022? “The comeback of neons and brighter colors”

Instagram: @shopwhitelemon

This story is from the September 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.