When Kim Brooks was a kid, her eyes would often be glued to the TV, watching hours of music videos to create a mental encyclopedia of sorts about style: how items were layered to create texture and mood and how clothes make a statement. Unofficially, Brooks has been a stylist for most of her life, with her career beginning after she started helping her friends refresh their wardrobes. As a professional stylist for more than a decade now, Brooks’ work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Lucy’s Magazine, and more, with a client list that includes Sorel, Samsung, Seven Salons, and Mazda.
As fans of her work, we decided to tap her creative brain for trends and styles she loves for spring.
What words will we be hearing or seeing in regard to spring fashion this year?
The key words being thrown around for spring are leather (my favorite!), crochet, polka dots, feathers, ’60s wallpaper (oh, dear!), and neon. Just this grouping of words sparks some peace and groovy love, no? But before we all go out and buy a VW van, focus on modern takes of these trends.
Tell us about some colors of palettes you find refreshing or inventive for spring.
There is a Spring 2020 palette I found on Etsy called Abstract Boho that I love. It is a mixture of traditional ’70s greens and mustards, some red/orange tones, several shades of denim blue, and our beloved Northwest neutrals — something for everyone.
When putting together outfits for spring, what are some elements you like to home in on?
Some of the elements I like to look at are pieces in a client’s wardrobe that can transition from winter to spring, figure out the overall vibe we are going for, and then identify any pieces that need to be found to complete their spring wardrobe. And budget. Always know your budget.
As for easy spring add-ins that might already be in your wardrobe: leather/faux leather pants, which can be worn just like you would style a pair of jeans; polka dots made modern; and finally, tiered pieces.
What about men’s fashion? How do you approach it for spring?
Overall, men and their fashion are generally more simplified. In the Pacific Northwest, men are less concerned with seasonal trends and, I think, do a better job at having a capsule wardrobe.
Of the spring trends for men, 50 percent are easily doable for everyone. Shades of sorbet, a very wide scope of nautical, and the most modern version of tie dye/watercolor you’ve ever seen. Nautical can be clean and classic, or you can find a super-bold seafaring print. A watercolor camo top is another casual way to add a trend to your spring/summer. And last but not least, a little sorbet for spring is probably the easiest to slide into your wardrobe. A pale yellow khaki is a perfect everyday pant. Top that off with pink for the workplace, and jazz up your feet with a shoe that pops.
From a styling standpoint, which decades do you find most interesting? How do you mix them, and what does that look like within an outfit?
I’m kind of obsessed with the ’80s for fashion — think back to Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Denise Huxtable (played by actress Lisa Bonet), or Chanel, Versace, and even Ralph Lauren. It wasn’t about one piece of clothing from that era but instead all the amazing layering that happened. And the most fabulous costume jewelry.
I think those aspects can easily be translated into today’s looks. We are just using different pieces for the layers. Or if I want to be literal with the look, I borrow from my vintage accessories collection or add in an old-school blazer, minus the shoulder pads.
Who do you look at for inspiration, and what about their aesthetic do you find intriguing?
I literally get inspiration from everywhere and everything, but one person I love to follow for style inspiration is interior designer Kelly Wearstler. She has this amazing rocker/tomboy vibe that always includes something feminine and is just a little quirky. It’s a style all her own, and that is something we should all strive for. And, of course, Iris Apfel for her jewelry layering. It’s like no other!
Best Pair of Jeans: I’m a huge fan of Mother Brand Jeans — not to be confused with MOM jeans. And you can’t beat a pair of classic Levi’s from the thrift store.
Styling Tip: For the ladies, it’s all about the bra! Visit a professional once a year for a fitting and replacement pieces. A well-fitting bra changes everything.
For the men, wear clothes that truly fit. Clothes straight off the rack only fit a small percentage of people perfectly. A trusted alterations person is your best friend. Same goes for women. Ladies, you need a good tailor.
Also for men, invest in a good suit. Even if it’s not in your regular rotation, you can wear the jacket and pants as separates in a multitude of ways, and when you need a suit, which you inevitably will, you’ll have one.
Can’t Live Without: My Eileen Fisher leather crossbody bag, coffee, and my iPhone camera.
Underrated Color: Yellow! There is a shade for everyone.
1. Denim Suit: Tom Ford Blazer, $3,450; Tom Ford Pant, $1,290; Theory Sweater, $265; A.L.C Hudson Blouse, $295; Roger Vivier “Viv Rangers” Boot, $1,750; Tom Ford Mini Crossbody Bag, $1,950; Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com; Robyn Rhodes “Liv” ring, $70; Jessica Elliot “Denmark Cocktail” ring, $60; Smith & Main, shopsmithandmain.com
2. Polka Dots: Akris Punto Blouse, $595; Gucci Belt, $850; Rag & Bone “Nina High Rise Flare” Jean, $225; Prada Shoes, $690; Marc Jacobs Purse, $350; Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com; Luv AJ Amalfi Tubes Earrings, $55; Smith & Main, shopsmithandmain.com
3. Neutrals: Robyn Rhodes “Nadia” Ring, $75; Nectar Nectar “Studded U Drop” Earrings, $65; Emerson Fry Wingtip Coat, $328; Smith & Main, shopsmithandmain.com; Masha Osoianu Design Crochet Top, $550; Masha Osoianu Design, mashaosoianudesign.com; Leather Shorts, $1,280; SCHAI, schaischai.com; Stella McCartney, shoes, $865; Neiman Marcus, neimanmarcus.com
Styling: Kim Brooks, kimbrooksstyle.com; MUA: Melissa Korn, melissakornmakeup.com; Kim’s hair: Leydi Garcia of Bella Off Main, bellaoffmain.com; photography: Studio B, studiobportraits.com; model: Lauren A. of SMG Models, smgmodels.com