Style Profile: Belk's Fashion Director's Top 3 Trends for Spring

Belk’s VP of Trend Merchandising and Fashion Director — Arlene Goldstein

I hadn’t seen Arlene Goldstein, Belk’s VP of Trend Merchandising and Fashion Direction, for at least four years but she was just as charming as I remembered when we sat down for a one-on-one interview during her visit to the Crabtree Valley Mall Belk in Raleigh this week. As a seasoned fashion veteran with more than 25 years in the industry at Parisian and Saks combined with her post at Belk, her passion and quest for new-ness is contagious.

Here are her three favorite trends for Spring 2014:
(To see the full report, Click HERE).

Jetsetter –
Tribal twist with a multi-cultural mix. Neutrals, especially khakis and greens. Details include both utility and handcrafted elements such as zips, pockets, studs and grommets along with ornate embellishments, tassels, fringe and frayed edges. Jacquards, silks, sheers, linen and washed poplin , artsy camo, lkats, new tropicals are some of the flawlessly executed patterns that add to the spirit of adventure that are so relevant to this trend. Layers of jewelry, natural leathers, burnished metals, embellished totes and gladiators.

Clean Slate –
Strong sculptural shapes and understated elegance inspiring minimal chic to have maximum impact. Check out A-line silhouettes, asymmetric detailing and architectural lines. Anticipate an ultra-modern makeover with sportif touches that add an off-duty edginess. Bold patterns blaze with photorealisms, stripes, color blocking, exaggerated geos and digital designs. The simplest ideas are the best. Anything graphic goes a long way. Black and white rules and looks newest with a pop of color. Count on accessories with a contemporary feel. Mirror metallics, boxy shaped handbags (clutches, totes, satchels), strong cuffs and geometric pendants, multiple rings, chunky heels and anything color blocked is strong and powerful. So take a risk and reinvent.

Feminine Charms –
From ultra-romantic to the chic eccentric with a femme flare. Expect looks to exude elegance with oversized ruffles, fit-and-flare silhouettes, appliqued petals and new, longer lengths. Heavy lace, luminescent layers and sheer fabrics easily finesse any look. Have a preference for prints? Florals are flawless along with dots, swirls and pattern mixes. Not-so-proper pearls, floral motif jewelry, shiny gold finishes, chain bags, clutches and single sole pumps are just a few essentials. As for color, white is a given. From blush to fuchsia, the family of pinks become the pigment palette of choice for spring. Navy is ready for a regal return. (Reminded me of Diana Vreeland’s quote: “Pink is the navy blue of India. Love that!)

L to R:
Jetsetter, Clean Slate, Feminine Charms

To read more on which fashion rules Arlene plans to break, her gig with Huffington Post and what gets her hot under her statement necklace, read our Q&A below:

(+ my photo picks for Belk’s best looks from their Spring Fashion Preview)



(belt included!)

And, did you catch the part about the Hot Cocoa Bar featuring the soon-to-be Wilmington famous hot chocolate from Blue Surf Cafe? And yes, those are roasted marshmallows on top!



L: Adriana Papell fit & flare floral dress $220 from Belk
R: Michael Michael Kors Maribella Block Heel Sandal $165 from Belk


ff: 3 things from your wardrobe you’d never part with:

1. “Vintage Jewelry – faux or the real thing.”

2. “I rarely part with accessories, period. They’re so personal.”

3. “If I love a shoe and it’s comfortable, I try to keep it as long as I can! I am all about taking a pair of shoes you love to the shoe repair shop for a facelift. I have a particular boot in mind I’ve had forever that laces up the back, a wedge that’s the perfect height. Every time I wear them, people always say, ‘I love those boots! Where did you get them?!’”

ff: Recycling is __________.

“Always encouraged. I love old things paired with new things. We have this great shoe repair shop in Southpark. They are absolutely meticulous and offer a fair price. It’s always encouraging to find craftsmen who still put value on items stressing that not everything is disposable. This idea reminds me of my Mother in Law. She was a wonderful seamstress and was always fixing things for me. Back in the Eighties, I spilled bleach on this two-piece outfit I loved. I was just sick. It looked like it was ruined but I showed her where to put the seams to salvage it. I was not giving it up! And, she said ‘You have all the ideas, but I have to be the one to fix it!’ But she always did.”


L: BCBG Vivian Separate Dress $268 from Belk
R: Vince Camuto Jewelry $25-$98 from Belk


ff: How would you describe Belk’s connection to Southern style?

“We are the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store company with 301 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states.We understand the Southern consumer. Modern Southern Style is our tagline for that very reason. We feel we are the arbiters of Southern style. It’s not like we look at the Southern woman’s style as a great departure from the aesthetic that’s being touted in Vogue or In Style. She just loves to be polished and pulled together. She likes the completer piece and always more color. Less hard-edged but then she loves a biker boot or a moto jacket — and she’ll wear it with her lace dress!”

ff: How do you think the Southern woman’s style has evolved in recent years?

“There’s an emphasis on modern and I love the art of the mix. Customers are more early adopters now with the inspiration they find online. Your eye just adjusts to the new-ness. She might think, ‘Wow, she put plaid with plaid, but it looks awesome. It gives you the courage to be less of a rule follower. I always say ‘No risk, no reward.’”


L: Rachel Roy colorblock dress $355 from Belk
R: Marc Jacobs Jacquard dress $298 from Belk


ff: Which style rules are made to be broken?

“I love white for early spring – BEFORE Memorial Day. White head-to-toe. My college roommate, a realtor in D.C. calls me and asks ‘Weren’t white shoes tacky at one point?’ Not anymore. Go for white!’”

ff: What is a moment in your career you are most proud of?

“I was asked to be a guest blogger for The Huffington Post during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. I had access to the floor and all events as a trendspotter. It was very exciting. And, then the Huffington Post asked me to stay on so I still contribute.” (Click HERE to see Arlene’s blog entries for the Huffington Post).

ff: Do you have any hot buttons within your role as Fashion Director?

“Recently, a reporter asked me at the end of an interview ‘What age woman would wear these trends?’ Dead silence. ‘Miss Goldstein, I asked you’ – I replied, I know but I have no intention of answering that.

Just because you have X number of candles on your birthday cake, does that mean you can’t wear a fur vest? I don’t think I wore any micro minis in the 60’s when I could have and there are certain parts of your body you just don’t want to expose at a certain age. That’s common sense.

Perfect example — I went shopping with my youngest daughter Amanda, who is in her twenties. We went our separate ways and met up in the dressing room. Turned out we had picked the same dress! She tried hers on and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I love this! It’s so short and clingy. Doesn’t it look great on me, Mommy?’ I looked at her and said to the sales associate, ‘Get me the next size please, ma’am.’ And, we both ended up with the same dress but styling it in entirely different ways.”

ff: Most Valuable Advice relating to Personal Style?

“Look in the mirror. Let that be your guide. As women, we are so critical of ourselves. ‘I can’t wear sleeveless.’ Well, that’s all changed with Michelle Obama. ‘I can’t wear stripes. I’m a size 14 and I can’t…’ Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Be open to new-ness.”




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