Hallie Abrams, 47, Orange
Owner of The Wardrobe Consultant
I've always loved fashion and retail. I probably would've studied fashion merchandising but because my family has been involved in retail in many ways for many generations, they kind of discouraged me. I got a degree in communications and marketing from Syracuse University. I became an account manager at Stern Advertising then left to have my kids, three in four years.
I started The Wardrobe Consultant 12 years ago after I had my last baby. I started it more as a hobby, it was just me back then. There are three of us now. We help wardrobe men and women of Northeast Ohio. We are fashion stylists for real people. I can use the same skills that I used with my advertising clients. What you wear is a form of communication and it's the first thing people see and make a decision on. We discover what message a client wants to send and we create a plan. Getting dressed every day is chance for you to express your best self to the world. Stressing about it is a bummer. I think my role is to help people take the stress out of getting dressed. I clean out closets, take people shopping, we do it all. We start with an in-depth questionnaire, do a wardrobe analysis and go from there. The business has grown by referral and now I have a blog, TheWardrobeConsultant.com and I publish something new every Tuesday. I also do daily Instagram posts @TheWardrobeConsultant.
It changes day-to-day depending on how I feel. I can pack for others to go on vacation but I can't make those decisions for myself. I want options. I'm a little more conservative and modest. I like to have contemporary touches, too. I also like layers and I like to incorporate vintage things. I never want to look like I jumped out of a catalog. As for the trends, I'm not driven by them but I am conscious of them.
I like the creativity of seeing and touching things and imagining them together. I like seeing the right piece find the right person. I don't love going into the dressing room and trying things on. I'm not an Olympic shopper. I spend my days looking and shopping for my clients. When I shop for myself, I usually power shop. I support local boutiques and local artists. I like Haven in Chagrin Falls and Brigade at Beachwood Place. I also like vintage and flea market shopping. I love the Burton Flea Market, it's twice a year. I find great vintage jewelry and accessories. I shop online as well. I like ShopBop and Net-a-Porter the most. As for my clients, it depends on the person's needs, budget, body type and their lifestyle. I have relationships with boutiques that are out of town, as well. Felt in Chicago is a favorite. They'll even send boxes of things for my clients to try on.
My interests are my husband, my children, travel, cooking, reading and I like to play Mahjong, it's a fun social thing. Our group tries to meet once a week but work sometimes forces me to be the dropout.
My dad is fashionable and my mom is beautiful and into fashion, too. The guys from J3 Clothing, who earlier worked for Kilgore Trout, used to come over and take pictures of my dad's outfits. That's likely where the nugget for my work idea came from. From a media standpoint, I would say that Olivia Palermo is an inspiration. I like how she puts things together and layers things unexpectedly. It always works and she always looks like a lady.
I'm reading Tina Fey's "Bossy Pants" and she said one of the best pieces of advice she got from Lorne Michaels was about how looking good might seem superficial, we live in a visual world, so if you don't look your personal best, people aren't going to focus on what you're saying whether it's funny or not, they'll focus on the other stuff. I don't look at what I do as superficial, it's not about one-upping anyone, it's about really helping people achieve their goals while letting their inside match their outside. There's nothing better than when a client tells me that they feel really good and confident. That they look good and they no longer stress over what to wear.
I'm really into Veronica Beard this year. I've always been fascinated by their designs and I think that this year's collections are great. I also like that they are sisters-in-law that work together.
Always be comfortable because if you can't walk in the shoes or you're fidgeting with the top, people are paying attention. Things reflect how I'm feeling that day. I'm always cold so I layer. I'm a big believer in the third piece. The third piece rule says to add a scarf, jacket, sweater, vest or other layer, it adds interest to an outfit. I love a scarf because if my neck is warm, I'm warm.
It has to be when people buy things on sale because they're on sale and they just hang in the closet with the tags on. It's not a good value if you don't wear it. If it doesn't look great on you or work with things in your closet, it's a bad buy no matter what the designer label. Look for sales, but love the piece.
My advice and my pet peeve are kind of the same. I help people figure out how to wear things that they already have and not buy things they shouldn't. I also talk to clients about having a balanced wardrobe. It's like the nutritional pyramid. The things on the bottom aren't the most exciting, but they're the workhorse pieces, they should comprise about 50 percent of the wardrobe. The next 30 percent I call classics with a twist. Like a cardigan in leopard print or a color. Nothing too way out there. The top 20 percent is where the really trendy things are. I don't spend too much on those things, they won't be around long, but they give new life to the basics. I sometimes place clients into two categories. They're either the cake or the icing. The cake people have more basics and don't want to branch out into accessories and the icing people have too much stuff going on. They buy the things that look appealing but they lack the structure to support them.
It's diverse. It goes from Cold Play and Bruno Mars to The Grateful Dead to Broadway show tunes.
I walk my dog. That's also the time that my husband and I catch up every night. I also do Overload Fitness twice a week. It's heavy weights at a super slow speed. It strengthens the muscles and doesn't create bulk, it's really hard.
I'm digging deeper into social media and starting to do Instagram stories. It's a behind the scene sneak peak of what we do.
Ideal shopping companion:
Coco Chanel, she was so unique in her time.
Dream fashion item:
Even though it doesn't match my lifestyle, I would buy a Chanel suit. They're beautiful and iconic.
If you weren't a wardrobe consultant and fashion stylist, you would be?
I would work in a floral shop. I like putting arrangements together.
You can tell a lot about someone:
By the way they treat other people.
Cleveland is the best city ever! It's on the upswing. I'm so proud to be a girl from Cleveland.
Place on Earth: Home with my family.
Restaurant: Plum Cafe and Kitchen in Gordon Square.
Salty or Sweet: Both...at the same time!
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate.
Clothing store: Felt in Chicago.
Makeup: Laura Mercier.
Accessories: Unique, vintage clutches.
Handbag brand: Gucci.
Shoe brand: Loeffler Randall.
Dogs or cats: Dogs.
Coffee or tea: Coffee.
Can't live without: Family.
Your most precious thing: A pair of silver candlesticks that were my great grandmother's. She smuggled them out of Europe by baking them inside loaves of challah bread.
Spirit Animal: A frog, they always hop forward, never backward.
Morning person or night owl: Total night owl.
Movie, TV or book: "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is my favorite all time movie. Back in the '90s my husband spliced himself into the end of the movie as part of our wedding proposal.
Junk food: Doritos.
Secret talents: I can make two sounds at once like clicking one beat and humming a tune. It's a stupid human trick.
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