This week’s 5 on Fashion caught up with Stephanie Ridgeway, one of the most sought after Style Gurus in contemporary clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue on Worth Avenue. Having been on all sides of the business, from corporate to management to buyer, Stephanie finds the most rewarding part of her job is working one on one with her clients to find those unexpected, a bit daring trends to add to their closet for a pick me up, then watching that client light up when she looks in the mirror with love. I found her on the second floor helping three very satisfied Women at once, none feeling at all neglected, a talent I absolutely admire beyond. I waited for her to have a second, which she didn’t have, but happily gave me before her next appointment arrived.
Did you always want to be in fashion, or did you happen upon it along the way?
I always loved fashion, that’s for sure. My first fashion job was working for the Corporate Headquarters Flagship of Victoria Secret Company in Ohio. I loved everything about it! I liked being around like-minded people with fashion forward thinking and fresh ideas. I find Fashion people to be endlessly interesting, and constantly changing to define and redefine what style is for them and the consumer. Victoria Secret really opened my eyes to how much goes into creating a brand, executing a campaign, and giving the customer what they didn’t even know they wanted. I am so thankful for my background, it really comes in handy now that I am at Saks on Palm Beach.
Saks on Worth Avenue is quite a distance from Ohio. What do you make of the Palm Beach Shopper?
Well, there isn’t a Palm Beach shopper per se. This is a seasonal, luxury resort environment, so we have every kind of style and taste come through the store in a day. Our local regulars tend to be daring, age appropriate but will take chances, always want what’s new and trendy before it hits the mainstream. It’s not a clientele that waits for sales, though everyone loves a bargain, but my clients tend to be trend setters, and want what is right off the truck from New York the day it arrives. It’s funny. For such a classic and proper environment, the ladies we service in this store are always adventurous and up for trying a new trend. Not always buying it, but never afraid to try something new. It makes working at this particular location a daily treat.
What trends do you see as we slide into season here on the Island?
I’m seeing a clear shift towards lady like, 40s and 50s style silhouettes, really playing up the full skirts and adorned accents. The bootie as evening shoe is a new trend that is coming into focus. Stacked heels for holiday are hot again. We always see an influx of leather during the season, but this year a lot of mixed media and unexpected fabrics mixed with skin is hot. Velvet is back, also mixed with unique fabrics and skins. Like I said, on the Island we have some of the most classic, tailored tastes, next to the wildest, over the top trendy clientele you can imagine, so we don’t work on trends like they do in some bigger stores. I am really excited for the shipments we have coming in over the next few weeks! I took a peek, and its all about fun, flirty and fresh this holiday season.
What is your least favorite trend you have seen in recent years?
Giant Bows. I just have something against giant bows on the front or back of dresses. If someone likes it, I’m accommodating, and will get them the piece of their dreams, but I’m just not a bow girl. (laughing) Whatever that means?
If you could pull one piece off the floor for yourself right now, what would it be?
One of our new Theory tailored comfy sweaters. Theory and Tahari both have very exciting collections for Fall and Holiday. I’m loving everything He is doing right now!
Stephanie can be found happily servicing clients, and pulling fresh looks on the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue at 150 Worth most days of the week. Her shopping style is stress-free, easy, and fun. She thoroughly enjoys taking the time to listen to what you like or don’t, and pinpointing looks that perfectly fit your vision. After pulling my new favorite Vince Sweater and to die for, perfect Rag & Bone jeans, Stephanie is definitely my new Go To Girl on the Island for all things fun and fresh in fashion.