Spark that Joy, Y’all
Let yourself shine this spring
By Hannah Jett Moore
Photography by Jave Bjorkman
Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional character known for one of the most incredibly iconic apartments of all time in the equally iconic TV series Sex and the City, once said, “I like my money right where I can see it: hanging in my closet.”
As Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” Netflix series is sparking conversation and inspiring cleaning out, the most important aspect about her teachings are only keeping items that “spark joy.” It is also worth noting, though, that there are some items that we will, plain and simple, never part with. Whether it’s a dynamic pair of heels, a noteworthy clutch, or a stellar suit – there’s peace in a piece with meaning and memories.
Although this isn’t a how-to on closet cleaning or organization, it is a how-to on loving your skin and what you’re in. So, even though often times growth comes with change – like organizing or switching up your wardrobe – sometimes growth needs to begin with loving the lot you’ve got. Let your soul shine and let your joy be sparked, y’all. The world will be a better place because of it.
Macon native Cierra Stokes knows a thing or two about style. As manager of Karats and Keepsakes, her expertise is admirable and trustworthy. Some of her most prized personal items include tan over–the-knee boots from Goodnight Macaroon, high-rise black Pistola Waxed Skinny Jeans, and Karli Buxton’s Vallen Necklace.
“I love how this piece of jewelry is two-toned. With the chain being gunmetal and then the pendant being gold, I can pretty much pair it with any outfit,” Stokes said.
“I wear this from errands to going out,” she says about her White V-Neck Z Supply pocket tee.
Frequently seen rocking her cheetah belt from Karats & Keepsakes, she said, “Cheetah is a neutral in my book, so it goes with me everywhere. It’s the perfect accessory!”
Her tip for her look to remain relevant yet refined and truly hers is a three-month rule.
“If I haven’t worn something in that time frame, I will go ahead and get rid of it,” she said. “Of course, my staples always remain in the closet and I can’t imagine parting with any of them.”
For Stokes, the three-month rule keeps her organized but most importantly it keeps her from holding onto something that she thinks someone else may want. So far, she has not regretting giving any piece up.
Stokes defines staples as items you reach for at least once a week. “I change my closet each season, but the ‘staples’ are always in there no matter what,” she said.
In her home, Stokes said she’s inspired by The Home Edit.
“I follow them on Instagram and I’m obsessed with all their organizing tactics and techniques,” she said. “I’m also motivated to stay organized by the fact that I currently have a super small closet, and I have to be able to pack a lot into it. It definitely keeps clean and holds me accountable.”
“Be open minded. You don’t know until you try, and I really try to instill that in my customers, friends, etc. It’s fun because they’re typically pleasantly surprised, and it’s nice to be able to help them get out of their box.”
“I absolutely love all white for spring! I like the crispness of it and being able to add different accessories, jackets, shoes, etc., to change up the look.”
In his day to day life as the field organizer and manager of the “New Georgia Project Macon” and the manager of the daily operations for the Macon-Middle Georgia AIDS Network, DeMarcus Beckham has no idea where his adventure – work or play – will take him, and so he dresses accordingly.
“I dress to impress but at the same time I am showing people who I am, where I’ve been, and where I plan to go,” he said.
He is also remarkably minimalistic as far as his closet goes, but he believes the items he wears help him speak his truth. He also wants to wear what inspires him. So much so, he actually threw away all of his jeans, and now reaches for chinos instead.
“Jeans were just one-dimensional and didn’t inspire me. I believe they give you a sense of being too comfortable where you are, and you can be so much greater,” he said. “Chinos bring a lot of color to your wardrobe, without your upper half being the center of attention all the time.”
Beckham said his life story has made him gravitate to certain clothing.
“In life, I don’t go too much for what I’m expected of, especially as a person of color who’s LGBTQ,” he said. “For clothing, that’s the same. I just want what I’m wearing to reflect who I am.”
He also opts for a stylish, polished look.
“I tend to throw on a pair of oxford shoes and a tailored blazer when going to a meeting or lunch with other grassroots activists,” he said.
Although his closet is full of classics, he believes accessories help his culture and beliefs shine.
“I usually wear a baseball hat that has a large pride rainbow letter “C,” he said. He calls it his activist hat and it was a gift from one of his history professors while he attended Middle Georgia State University.
“Knowing that I’m wearing the colors of the pride flag reminds me that I can be an activist each day just by showing my true colors,” he said. “Another accessory that I have to wear is a golden safety pin that was my great-grandmother’s. Growing up in my small farming community of Zebulon, Georgia, she was one of the greatest influencers, who taught me to be kind to everyone and always strive for the best and to never forget where I came from. So, for the last four years, I have worn a pin to remind myself to stay humble.”
As far as what Beckham surrounds himself with, he has realized the importance of the energy and items around you.
“Organizing is important to me, and I always want what I have around me to inspire me and represent who I am. Parting with the old and then opening myself up to the new helps me express myself,” he said.
DeMarcus suggests repurposing an item of clothing instead of removing it entirely. “If I truly love a piece of fashion, I never throw it away, I modify it.”
“This year, patterns are coming back and I am so excited. This season, wear what you feel; wear who you are. Own the moment and own the piece.”
As interior designer and owner of Previews Interiors & Antiques in Macon, Sally Draughon knows how to translate interior design into fashion feng shui. Her favorite outfits include either a white top or white pants with a pop of color.
“I really like color, and my favorite color is orange. So, I definitely wear color more than I wear neutrals,” she said. “I also love a white shirt. You can wear it with pearls and a dressy pair of pants or with jeans and a scarf.”
Her advice for cleaning out your wardrobe is that if you haven’t worn it in two years, throw it out.
The University of Georgia alumnus and Maconite is passionate about her purpose and her projects.
“My job is my hobby,” she said. “I love what I do and enjoy getting to meet new people. I started out with interiors and added clothing to my shop. It feels good to see people try on clothes that make them feel happy,” she said, adding that her biggest piece of advice to her customers is to wear what makes you feel comfortable.
“Comfort leads to confidence,” she said. “If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’re going to feel confident.”
Her suggestion for staples includes a great white shirt and Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ favorite accessory.
“I believe every woman should own pearls. It doesn’t matter if they’re real or fake,” she said. “Strings of pearls make any outfit fabulous. Accessories, to me, totally make an outfit.”
Draughon’s advice for clothing carries over into her home décor as well.
“Your guests should feel like they can drink red wine and you’re not going to freak out about it. You want people to feel like they can come sit on your couch and put their feet up. You don’t want them to feel like your home is too stiff to enjoy it,” she said. “I like color and I think knowing what colors flatter you personally is very important. The people who are most happy in their homes usually decorate with the colors that they wear.”
“Don’t pair big top and big bottoms. If you want to wear a blousy top, then wear fitted bottoms or wear a fitted top and blousy bottom.”
“Reach for a pop of color and always grab your pearls.”