Cincy Chic: What’s the concept of your boutique?
Lesley Hern: The Wardrobe has a unique offering carrying lines with a distinctive blend of International and updated traditional designers. The Wardrobe’s focus is luxury fashion with a chic style of casual, fun sophistication – creating looks for the individual. The Wardrobe offers a full selection of apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories with personal styling, trunk shows and private appointments.
Cincy Chic: What’s different about it?
Hern: The Wardrobe offers exclusive items to clients. We will only sell one size of a style or one original piece, and once it is gone, it’s gone. We know that clients shop at boutiques to find that special one-of-a-kind item that no one else will have, and we want to cater to that. The focus of The Wardrobe is top-notch customer service. The Wardrobe will tailor all purchased clothing free of charge. If the store hours do not suit a client’s need, private in-store and at-home appointments can be scheduled. Special delivery is always a must for those crucial times, and rewarding clients is a top priority. If a client needs further assistance with personal styling beyond what can be done in the store, then we will send a Wardrobe Therapy personal styling guru to assist for any event.
Cincy Chic: Where is/will it be located?
Hern: The Wardrobe will open with a preview store on May 19. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 10-6pm. The preview store will be at 6910 Miami Avenue in Madeira. The preview store will be a showcase of what the store will be offering. Then, in early June, we will have our grand opening party to launch our permanent store location. That space is currently still undergoing renovations, and is located next door to the preview store at 6904 Miami Avenue (on the corner of Camargo and Miami) in the new Hampton Square building.
Cincy Chic: How did you find yourself here in your career?
Hern: I moved from New York City to Cincinnati seven years ago. I was contemplating staying in NYC, but had been there for a while and wanted to come home to be near friends and family. I am from northern Ohio, but my now husband (then boyfriend) was from Cincinnati. I decided to come here instead of going home to try something new. I loved Cincinnati right away. It has such charm and appeal. It’s a perfect small town dressed as a big city. It felt like home immediately. Luckily, I was able to work for Ralph Lauren and travel back and forth from NYC and Dallas to Cincinnati. It was tough, but it kept me in the fashion industry while I was here.
Cincy Chic: Was it difficult to start your own boutique? Any advice to any other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
Hern: I think anything that’s hard in life is always worth striving for. I wouldn’t say opening your own boutique is easy by any means, but since I have always dreamed of doing it, that has made the hard parts a lot more bearable. My initial advice is to first make it your own concept and stick to it. I think that really helps make everything fall in to place. I have had some amazing mentors through the process. My good friend Ivy Pitzer, who owns her own boutique in Pleasant Ridge, Plum Diore, has been instrumental in pushing me along and consulting me through a lot of things. I am very thankful for the help I received every step of the way. I feel very blessed to have been surrounded by such amazing people, and I could only hope to help someone through this process myself one day.
Cincy Chic: Have you always had a passion for fashion?
Hern: I have always had a passion for this business. Fashion is a passion, but the business of fashion as a whole has always been appealing and became even more so when I lived in NYC. I have such a respect for the people in this industry, maybe partly because they demand it, but then mostly because of how rigorous and fast-paced it is. It’s like an adrenaline rush and you really get sucked in to it — at least that’s the way it has been for me. I have been very privileged to work under some amazing fashion icons. Some of the most influential people from my career have been Patricia Fields, Simon Doonan and Ralph Lauren. They have all influenced me and inspired me in different ways through either working one-on-one with them or watching them work.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite item in your store right now?
Hern: I think for now I will go with the high-waisted denim skirt by Munchu’s. Like 3.1 Phillip Lim, an Asian designer who is really making a statement in the industry. She designs with luxurious fabrics and one-of-a-kind face prints. I’m sure you’ve seen that the face print is a trend that is very high-end designer chic right now. It has been popping up in Prada, Givenchy and Yves Saint-Laurent. I am almost eight months pregnant, so I have no waist. I have to say, I am very sad about not getting to take part in the fabulous high-waisted looks this season. They are so flattering!
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite fashion trend right now?
Hern: My favorite trend would be a toss-up between the gladiator style sandals that are so hot this season and then more recently the Greek goddess dresses. Dresses in general with bright colors and florals are fantastic, but I really love the long maxi dresses that are flowy with the Grecian draping.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Hern: The restaurants. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m pregnant and love food more now than ever! I just think Cincinnati has so many amazing, family-owned choices with endless cuisines to choose from. Some favorites of mine are Jean Ro Bistro, The Precinct, Greenup Cafe, Grand Finale and Nada.