Resident Business Profile: Cheryl O’Connor
As Appeared in January’s West of Market Kirkland Living
Cheryl O’Connor’s passion for creating beautiful things began early. It began before marriage, kids and houses. It began before her undergraduate degree, her masters and classes in fashion design.
Her creative eye started with dance, gymnastics and cheerleading.
“When I was little, I was always creating art, dance routines or shows for the family and neighborhood friends.” Cheryl told me over coffee. Back then, she choreographed dance performances, puppet shows, and water routines in the pool (similar to synchronized swimming).
Today, Cheryl shares her creativity as a personal style advisor, inspiring women to express themselves through fashion.
Looking Good and Feeling Comfortable
For Cheryl, good fashion isn’t just about looks. She believes looking good and feeling comfortable go hand in hand with being confident. Over coffee she told me, “I’m a firm believer that fashion has the potential to help women of all ages and stages feel confident and beautiful in any situation.”
While Cheryl encourages her clients to dress comfortably, she also inspires them to be creative. She said, “I want women to have fun with fashion and feel comfortable trying new things. I want them to use clothes as a way to express themselves.”
This is a principle she learned as a teenager. She noticed the close ties between clothes and perception. “I saw how what you wore and how you presented yourself created an image. Throughout my teens and college, I played with different outfits and styles of dress as a form of personal expression,” she explained.
How does she help you convey your personality through clothes? In a variety of ways. One of her favorites is refining your closet. Joining you at home, she’ll help you sort through your wardrobe, editing out pieces which no longer work and combining your existing selection into new outfits. “I get so excited when I walk into a client’s closet. The possibilities are always endless,” Cheryl said.
Additionally, she can act as your personal shopper to help you spruce up your current selection. With her help directing you towards time- less classics and fun trends that fit your body type, you’ll have always have a look that makes you feel on top of the world.
Not Always A Fashion Expert
After earning her degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University, Cheryl dabbled with fashion professionally. She worked both the retail side as a manager at the GAP and the wholesale side as a sales representative for Jimmy’z, a surf and skate apparel company. Eventually, she spent two years fine-tuning her fashion skills in the Fashion Design program at the Art Institute of Seattle. But that would be years later, after her son was born.
First, she stepped away from the fashion world to pursue social work. Earning her master’s in Social Work from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she spent 10 years helping those in need to better their lives.
Today, she remains committed to giving back. She donates all clothes “edited out” during closet refinements to a transitional housing program for women.
Fashion at Home
Cheryl’s 6-year-old son Donovan may only be interested in wearing superhero and sports paraphernalia T-shirts, but he still knows what mommy does. Recently, he wrote an essay about Cheryl’s work, stating: “Mom dresses people.”
Her 10-year-old daughter is an equally independent dresser. “She has a very strong sense of self and knows exactly what she does and doesn’t like,” Cheryl told me.
So, while mom may be dressing others, she’s rarely dressing anyone at home. Not even her husband Brendan. “He has great taste and a style that suits him. Sometimes he’d like me to “style” him, but I don’t, except when I buy him new pieces of clothing for a special occasion. I don’t want to mess with his style. It suits him so well,” Cheryl told me. After all, that’s one thing she never does – she never alters a look that’s spot on.
Cheryl’s Style Tip
If you want to enhance an outfit that feels a little drab, try adding one stylish piece to your look, such as a statement piece of jewelry, a cool scarf, a fun jacket or a fabulous pair of shoes.
Cheryl Anne Styling