Street Fashionista: Always Looking Your Best

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Street Fashionista: Always Looking Your Best by Leslie McAllister
Linda Berkey (Photo by Leslie McAllister)

I wrote a piece a few issues back on the pretty, punk-rock girl, Dawna Northup. She reminded me of fantastic women with vibrantly colored hair and untimely style. And during the interview, she mentioned Iris Apfel and Ilona Royce Smithkin. I immediately thought of Linda Berkey, owner of A Woman Tailor.

I would like to go on record by saying that women who dress dauntlessly and daring are the most stylish women on the planet, and I am inspired by chic ladies who are aglow with color and prints. They look polished, luminous, dynamic, electrifying – and I love them for it.

And hey, why stop with your clothes? Brightly colored hair can achieve the same result. I love bold pinks, like Linda’s, as well as soft lavenders and frosty blues.

Wearing zippy clothes helps a woman to achieve a crisp and youthful look. Another great way to look so pulled together is to have your clothes properly tailored, hence, Linda.

Women who dress
dauntlessly and
daring are the most
stylish women on
the planet, and I am
inspired by chic ladies
who are aglow with
color and prints.

She makes a great point below that I cannot stress enough: wearing baggy clothes makes you look big. By putting on the larger T-shirt to hide the accumulated weight that sneaked up on you just makes you look like you’re hiding it. So instead, wear a flared-leg pair of jeans with a fitted top and distract the eye by pairing a blazer with it. The flared-leg accentuates your curves, and the blazer hides the flaws whilst still making you look glamorous. When you take that fitted top and wear it in a beaming blue or a sunny yellow, you trick the eye and draw the attention upwards and away from those stubborn 5 pounds.

Guys you can do this too. Instead of the same office white button down try a soft purple one – you will look alive and rested, as the color reflects off of your face and instantly perks you up. Try pink too – because real men do wear pink. The rosy color adds life to your cheeks.

Who? Linda Berkey, owner, A Woman Tailor

Where? At her store located in the Colony Plaza

Why Linda? Linda, first and foremost, has the most gorgeous, boldly colored magenta hair. She keeps her style fresh and youthful while still dressing professionally and sophisticated. Linda puts the fun in functional fashion – because we have to get dressed every day, we might as well be expressive in how we put together outfits. By pairing a funky, black knit top with her brightly patterned pants, she keeps it modern and on point. Well done!

What We Want to Know:

Fill in the blank. Style is _________. Always looking as young as you can.

Greatest style lesson learned, period: Honesty. If a customer asks me what a garment looks like on, I will tell them if it looks nice or if it just sucks.

Greatest lesson learned in tailoring: I took courses for extensive pattern making. Having that skill really helps me understand how a garment or pattern is designed. It helps me to rip garments apart and know how to put them back together so the clothes can work properly.

What's wrong with apparel construction today? There's no quality control. Unfortunately, people don't know how to sew. At least one to two times a week, a pair of pants will come in with different inseams on each leg – and that's just one example.

Least favorite fashion trend: I can’t stand long jackets with long skirts. I love fitted things. I like showing curves. People don't realize that large garments make them look bigger.

Finish this sentence, my daily uniform is: Wearing color – and I love wearing flared or tapered-leg pants. I try to always have color. People need to get away from the "suit" look and pair unexpected colors. Color allows people to stay youthful.

Best-kept tailoring secret: I don't know. I have lots of them! I have a lot of insight on how a garment is made. I'm very good at visualizing what can be done with a garment and what will or won't work.

Biggest tailoring challenge/emergency: A customer called me on her wedding day. She put her dress on before having to leave for the wedding at Peek’n Peak and the invisible zipper wouldn't zip. I rushed over to her house with my sewing machine in-hand and got the zipper fixed.

What do you love about Erie? I love Erie summers. Our weather is usually stinky, so when it's beautiful out, I like to enjoy it.

On being an animal lover: I have four dogs – two Maltese [They were awesome. Linda had them in her shop and they plopped down next to her and cuddled as we talked. You can tell she has a connection with her animals], a Border Collie mix, and a Bluetick mix. I also have three cats!

I found one of my dogs while traveling. Someone dropped it off at a gas station. And my cat, Izzy, was adopted from the Humane Society.

Some extras on Linda for fun:

Linda started sewing at age 7, but wanted to be a park ranger while growing up. And when she was a senior in high school, she used to get called into teach middle school students by the teacher.

She has a degree in sewing, and the most intricate piece Linda has worked on was a wedding dress with lace and beadwork. She had to lift the lace, which can be tricky, work on the beadwork, and put it back together. Very couture!

Linda works 68-plus hours a week while putting out 200-250 garments with the help of her employee, Natalia. But during her time off, Linda is an avid gardener – specifically, she likes rose gardening and making boxwood and French topiaries.

My favorite thing about Linda is how fun and professional she is. Also, A Woman Tailor is the only place in town I take my vintage clothes and designer jeans to be hemmed – Linda keeps the original hem on the jeans! She and Natalia are extremely talented!

A Woman Tailor – The Colony Plaza 2554 W. Eighth St. 838.1844

Find me out on the town and challenge yourself to get noticed by the Erie Reader!

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