"I love to make women feel beautiful. I love clothes and I love connecting with women. That’s really it,” says Susie Cohen, Bellevue Club member, stylist and closet consultant. “That’s really what I do.”
Cohen, currently an Eastside resident, was raised in Plainview, New York and says her family planted the seed for her love of fashion. “Growing up, my mom worked in a high-end women’s fashion store, and I was always in the store with her,” she says.
Hungry to learn more about the industry, Cohen attended Syracuse University, where she earned an internship with Federated Department Stores (later renamed Macy’s). After graduating, she started with the Bloomingdale’s training program and quickly became the assistant manager for designer handbags and then a buyer for fashion accessories.
When she moved to Seattle in 1995, Cohen worked for a variety of fashion outlets, eventually owning her own clothing franchise called Little Gym. In 2012, however, Cohen was ready for a new venture. Enter a good friend and consultant for the clothing line Etcetera. “She said they were looking for a consultant in Bellevue,” Cohen says. After sampling the modern style and high-quality fabric of the clothing, she knew it was a good fit.
“Since then, the clothes have skyrocketed in terms of design. I would describe them as modern, chic, transitional pieces you can take from day to night, any season; they’re true go-to pieces,” Cohen says.
From jackets and sweaters to pants and shoes, Cohen now sells the Etcetera clothing, along with offering her styling expertise, from a showroom she created in her home. Additionally, six times a year, Cohen hosts local shows so women can shop and get styling tips. She also often partners with friends and peers to host events and fashion shows for various charities.
“Some people come to me for that one piece that is going to pop their wardrobe,” Cohen says. “But I have a lot of clients that do 90 percent of their shopping with me.”
But Cohen takes her passion for helping women perfect their wardrobe one step further. One of her most popular services is closet consulting.
“It became a natural evolution. I like to offer full-service help with women’s closets because that’s where it starts. I know it’s just clothing and sounds superficial, but that’s really where a woman goes to start her day,” Cohen says. "Closets can be overwhelming because they’ve never been properly cleaned out; women have all these pieces, but they only wear three.”
Cohen says when consulting with women she likes to go piece by piece asking specific questions: Does it make you feel beautiful? Does it fit? Is it something you will feel inspired in when you wear it?
“I recognize it’s hard to part with certain things because it’s the dress you met your husband in or wore during other life events, but if you have another person there, you have the freedom. People want that freedom,” she says. “My feeling is get rid of it; free yourself of the guilt of not wearing it.”
Cohen is quick to point out that it’s not all about getting rid of clothing (most of which she encourages her clients to donate or consign). She also teaches her clients how to utilize certain pieces in new ways. “We can take pictures of outfits, make a photo library. I can take a sweater you love and find five new outfits.
“The standard is: if you feel amazing, and it looks great, wear it.”
For more information about Susie, visit stylewithsusie.com.