Fashionistas are what they wear. But despite our cherry-picking a collection of personal favorites, not everything always looks, feels or fits as we’d like.
That’s where Michele Roque Tarazi — personal stylist, shopper and fashion maven — comes in to determine what works in a client’s style, and what doesn’t.
Tarazi is the owner of You Can Do Better Than That LLC, a Pelham Manor-based business that helps you create a look that represents your personality. Whether the goal is to tap a closet of casual or professional wear or to find the perfect evening gown for that special occasion, Tarazi advises clients as they shop together or she does the shopping for them.
“When you work with me, my interest is suiting the client, not selling clothes,” Tarazi says. “I don’t want anyone buying anything that they feel uncomfortable about or in, or they feel like they won’t wear.”
Tarazi’s technique, which begins with a closet consult, was fine-tuned from years of working in fashion buying and merchandising at various companies, such as Polo Jeans, Armani Exchange, Lord & Taylor, J. Crew Group Inc. and Bergdorf Goodman. Since Bergdorf Goodman did not have a buying program at the time, Tarazi says, she was instead placed in the personal shopping office, where, for two years, she shadowed Betty Halbreich — one of New York City’s most exclusive personal shoppers, a 40-year veteran of the company and the author of “I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist.”
“Actually, the name of the business is a homage to Betty,” Tarazi says. “Because when there was someone in the dressing room who just didn’t look right, she would say, ‘Oh, honey, you can do better than that.’”
Tarazi encourages her clients to shed their old skins, ridding themselves of unflattering pieces and making space for the new. The process begins with clients trying on clothing from their existing closets for Tarazi to assess.
“When I am first working with a client, I like to start out in their closet,” she says. “That allows me to see what they’ve been buying and wearing and get to know the client a little bit more, to talk with them about their work and their lifestyle and to find out what they need.”
She knows that this can be an intimidating process for many. But with a bit of humor, the gentle, soft-spoken Tarazi breaks down the barrier thrown up by timidity.
“Once we get going, it just rolls,” she says. “Everyone feels insecure in front of a mirror or insecure in front of someone else when they’re trying something on, but then, they understand that we’re a team, we work together and I’m here for you.”
Next, Tarazi works on building up the client’s new look — and confidence.
‘That’s a bad sweater, but you don’t have a bad shape,” Tarazi will say to a client. She explains, “It’s about the item, it’s not about the person.”
She notes two major red flags when it comes to style — excessive comfort and clothes from youth.
“The reason it’s so comfortable is because it doesn’t fit you — anywhere,” Tarazi says with a smile. “You can be comfortable in your clothes and you should be. Nothing should be pinching or riding up or gaping, but it shouldn’t feel like pajamas.”
And although clothes from years ago may physically fit, their youthfulness can be aging — and can distract from your character.
“They may fit, but you’re a different person now than you were then,” Tarazi says. “Allow yourself to be who you are now. Don’t try to be who you were. Own your current personality.”
For more, contact Tarazi at 917-804-0093 or visit youcandobetterthanthat.com.