Shopping for Couture…at Home
(Not only are you shopping local, but the tax dollars earned stay in our community.)
There’s something unexpected and extremely comfortable about shopping Worth New York at Jeanne Burke’s Lake Forest home. Greeted with a homemade muffin, Jeanne takes me to her living room that has been transformed into a high-end fashion boutique. With Worth’s fall collection beautifully displayed and mirrors strategically placed, Jeanne and her sales partner, Susie Paulson, get to work outfitting me for the cool, luxe fall season ahead.
“When people shop with us the first time, I know they’re a little nervous,” Jeanne says. “They might feel like they have to buy something because we’re friends. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Jeanne and Susie’s repeat customers support this statement 100 percent. “Nearly all of our clients come from referrals,” explains Susie, who has spent most of her life working in retail and with Worth for the last 15 years. “We want our customers to be happy so that they’ll want to share this shopping experience with their family and friends.”
Jeanne and Susie take personal shopping to a whole new level. Once they meet a client, they keep detailed notes on the pieces she’s bought and wardrobe pieces she may be looking for in future seasons. “We want their personalities to shine through the clothes,” says Jeanne, who often pulls certain items for her customers before they come for a shopping appointment. Because Jeanne and Susie have the first sales slots for Worth New York in the area, clients need not worry that something they love will be out of stock. “Our garments are readily available,” adds Jeanne. And Worth prides itself on being able to coordinate collection items season after season.
“I describe Worth as being classic with a cutting edge,” says Jeanne, pointing to the button and zipper details on various jackets and dresses. “These clothes are made as if they were a couture line,” she explains, showing how each item is beautifully lined. “While these clothes cost a fraction of what couture retails for, these are investment pieces for sure. The great news is that they last for years and years—ultimately saving you money in the future.” Worth carries sizes from double zero petite to a size 20.
Both Jeanne and Susie began working for Worth when they wanted a flexible working arrangement while raising their families. “With four collections in house each year, two weeks of appointments each time, it’s a very manageable working situation,” Susie adds.
Jeanne and Susie also like to work with their clients post- trunk show, often having orders sent to Jeanne’s house and have clients pick them up from her. “If it works for their schedule, I like to have my customers try their clothing on for me. I want to make sure that it fits and that they love it. If it doesn’t work for them as we’d hoped, I want to fix that right away,” Jeanne says, even bringing in her own seamstress to tailor items if necessary. Worth also has a flexible program available for returns and exchanges.
“Jeanne and Susie are wonderful to work with,” says Kathy Kennedy, a Worth customer for years. “I love the unique, sophisticated look of the clothes and the fact that I’m not going to see my outfit on lots of other women.”
Jeanne will have the fall and winter collections available to order at her home from September 14–28. To make an appointment with her and Susie, email [email protected] or spaulsonworthcollection.com. For more information about The Worth Collection, visit worthny.com.
Just outside Lake Forest’s business district is a hidden couture shopping oasis in Sarah Moore’s home. Designed in New York’s fashion district, the Carlisle clothing collection displays current fashion attitudes. With the element of the unexpected, a visit to Sarah’s house almost takes you to Paris. She and her sales’ partners Carol Gillig and Lisa Kluever have the opportunity to share this fabulous line four times a year. It is one of the chicest boutiques in town.
“When we remodeled this house years ago, we built this basement to showcase the Carlisle clothes,” explains Sarah, who has been a Carlisle sales representative for 17 years. Carlisle’s extensive collection fills rack after rack in her showroom with a private dressing room off to the side. With a heated floor and fireplace, a customer’s comfort level is always first she shops.
“We can be as involved as our customers want us to be,” says Carol. “If they want our advice, we are there to give it. If they want to shop on their own, we’re happy to assist them in any way,” she adds.
Above each item clothing item displayed, is a diagram that shows all of other pieces it coordinates with. “Carlisle carefully works with its dye lots each season so that a color you see this fall will coordinate with a green you see next fall,” Carol explains. “This is a nice thing for our customers because they may want to buy a shirt and blouse this season and wait on the jacket. Then next season, Carlisle may offer a coordinating jacket giving new style to previously purchased items.”
Note-keeping is a must for the Carlisle sales group who has files dating back to the very first purchases made by their customers. “I also do a lot of closet audits,” says Lisa Kluever, another member of the Carlisle team. “Some of my clients like to shop their closets first and then we can figure out what pieces they need or can add to be current this season.”
The ideal Carlisle shopper is one who likes to shop efficiently for couture quality clothing at a fraction of the prices. “We have unveiled honesty here,” Carol says. “We want our clients to look and feel their best, so if we think something is not quite right; we’ll suggest something that might work better.” Carlisle caters to women of all ages from size zero to 18. “We’re a wonderful option for women who wear special sizes…where else can they shop and find this selection,” Sarah adds. Carlisle has a forgiving return and exchange policy to ensure a customer’s satisfaction.
In order to spread the Carlisle message, Carlisle representatives enjoy doing community fashion presentations for local women’s or business groups. They are happy to be monthly guest lecturers on the following topics: “Fashion Preview: The Looks of the Season,” “Dress Your Body Type: Styles that Flatter Your Figure,” “Carry On Dressing: Outfitting Seven Days in a Small Case,” or “Ten Easy Pieces: Ways to Wear More and Buy Less.”
Please call 847-207-5555 to get on the lecture calendar, have a closet audit, or for an appointment to see the current Carlisle collection from October 5–18. For more information on Carlisle New York, visit carlislecollection.com.
—Ann Marie Scheidler