Julie Feldman, co-owner of Guys N Gals, shares how the boutique has grown since her mom started the shop 43 years ago, her favorite fashion trends for 2019 and where you can catch her sometimes twice a day. Check out the shop on the SEEN Marketplace.
By Rachel Schostak
1. When and what inspired you to get into this business? My mom Lois started the business 43 years ago. She always loved clothing and had four girls to dress. Our first store was 300 square feet and now we are 3,500 square feet. She never imagined it would be such a huge success. I started working in the store when I was 11. I love fashion and people. It was the perfect career for me.
2. What does a typical day look like for you? Every day is different. There are no two days that are alike. Most days I’m on the selling floor the entire day helping customers. As new items arrive I re-merchandise the store. Mannequins are changed every two to three weeks. Buying trips are another job responsibility. I go to New York eight times a year to purchase the latest in fashion and accessories. I also go to Chicago, and I’m planning on adding California and Vegas to the mix.
3. Who inspires you in the fashion/design world? The designers that have influenced me through the years are Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy. I’m inspired by fashions from Gucci, Valentino and Tom Ford.
4. What do you love most about your role managing the store? Every aspect of my job is rewarding. I love dressing customers so that they feel incredible in the fashions they are wearing. Merchandising the floor is always a challenge; finding the perfect spot for new items is very satisfying. I adore working with all my employees. Everyone here becomes a family.
5. What is the mission of your store and how do you want customers to feel when they enter your space? I want everyone to feel very welcome in the store and part of the Guys N Gals family. Our mission is to dress everyone in the most updated clothing and accessories and feel great in the items that they wear. I want everyone to enjoy a positive shopping experience.
6. What are your current favorite items in the store? A fan favorite are the pants from the Elaine Kim line. They are amazing and flattering on everyone — an added bonus is they are easy to pack when traveling. (Elaine Kim will be making a personal appearance in March for a trunk show.) The Pam & Gela collection is unique from track pants to dresses — the patterns and use of color is fabulous. Zadig & Voltaire is a European company, and you can tell by the fashion-forward flair. This spring, their beautiful blazers and gorgeous silks will be arriving. Cinq a Sept does stunning dresses, pantsuits, blouses and blazers that are loved by all. We carry multiple denim lines that all have great fits. Every company we carry has its own unique contribution to the store.
7. Tell us what makes the in-store experience special? Guys N Gals is a specialty store where everybody knows your name. We love helping our customers and putting wardrobes together. We pride ourselves in knowing our customer’s personal style — an experience you cannot get online or at a department store.
8. Are there any new products or lines that you carry soon that excite you? We just got back from New York and ordered incredible accessories from new vendors that will be coming into the store soon. We are excited for the arrival of Lee Vintage (we carried Lee jeans in the ‘70s). What’s old in new again. And we’re getting a gorgeous dress collection from England.
9. In regard to your personal style, do you have a signature look or accessory? I love all the latest trends that compliment my style. I’m classic with a twist. My signature style is to take a classic blazer and pair it with a great pair of jeans or leather leggings. This spring and summer I’m looking forward to pairing my blazers with the updated bike shorts (yes, they’re back). I am obsessed with anything leopard! Accessories make the outfit.
10. A few items in your closet that you can’t live without? My go-to items are my blazers, Goldie tanks, Cami NYC camisoles, Elaine Kim pants, leopard cardigan, leather leggings, Frame jeans and Cotton Citizen high-waisted jeans with a slit at the bottom. You’ll never catch me without my large hoop earrings, Karen Lazar choker, Shinola watch, Paula Rosen diamond ring and multiple bracelets. These are a few of my favorite things.
11. Who inspires your style? I admire Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; they are timeless.
12. What are your favorite 2019 style trends? Spring/summer 2019 has many, many exciting new looks that I love. Short suits have made a revival in pastels and brights. Bike shorts (reminiscent of the ‘80s and early ‘90s) are a must have in many fabrics and colors. Sun-kissed hues and neutrals are always a classy look. Denim is always a favorite, whether it’s a great pair of jeans, jean jacket or the new, but old jumpsuit. The raffia bags (big and small) are a great accessory for summer. Dainty layered necklaces and stackable rings are all the rage.
14. Favorite quote or words to live by? I have a few quotes I love. Some are from the fashion icons:
“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a little black dress.”— Karl Lagerfeld
“Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside.” — Coco Chanel
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” — Edith Head
The most important one: “Be kind, work hard, stay humble, smile often, keep honest, stay loyal, travel when possible, never stop learning, be thankful always and love.” — unknown
15. When not working, where are few local places you like to hang? I go to the gym whenever I have a day off or in the mornings before work. Starbucks is a must at least once if not twice a day. The restaurants that I frequent are Cantoro Trattoria, Phoenicia and Prime 29. If I’m eating lunch out with my kids you can usually find me at Stage Deli.
Shop our favorite Guys N Gals items on the SEEN Marketplace:
SHOP: Bailey 44 dirty money ponte dress, $268
SHOP: Star gold earrings, $40
SHOP: Mother boxy zip moto jacket, $375
Stop by Guys N Gals at 6353 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield Township. Follow @guysngals on Instagram and other social media accounts for in-store events and new products!