The Professional Touch: Design Your Work Wardrobe with House of Sole

by Kate Jacobsen | December 14th, 2011   

By Kate Jacobsen

Hello and welcome to my first column on TheWorkingWardrobe.com. Every other week, I will feature articles that contain interviews with independent artists from around the world. Designers will dish on everything from where they gather inspiration to the creation of their products as well as share advice on how to help you have fun with your work wardrobe.

My passion for independent artists was fostered through a sales job I held at a local Chicago boutique called House of Sole. Some of the designers I will be interviewing for my column are artists I discovered through my job there. Because it is where I began cultivating my future fashion career, I wanted my first column to be dedicated to House of Sole. I know that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my experiences there.

Picture 111 The Professional Touch: Design Your Work Wardrobe with House of Sole

I interviewed owner and my former boss, Tiffany Bullock. We spent Saturday afternoon catching up over pizza, got distracted by laughter and finally fit in the interview and the filming of a video where she put together four unique working looks that you can purchase at House of Sole! It can’t get much better than that, right?

The boutique is truly the gem of the South Loop acting as a one-stop shop for all of your fashion needs. If you shop at House of Sole, then I can guarantee that your co-worker in the adjoining cubicle won’t be sporting the same outfit.

Picture 101 The Professional Touch: Design Your Work Wardrobe with House of Sole

House of Sole prides itself on affordable, comfortable and appropriate clothing, shoes and accessories for the work place while maintaining a fashion forward, unique vibe. I can’t express the amount of love I have for this little shop on the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.

Bullock gave up a 15-year career in financial management to pursue her dream of owning her own business. Fusing her love of shoes and her entrepreneurial spirit, House of Sole opened its doors in May 2008 much to the delight of shoe mavens in the South Loop.

Bullock is the ideal candidate for this interview given her background in corporate America and the fact that she is fearless in fashion. I used to LOVE her stories about when she walked into the office in bright colors and fashion forward heels while being completely surrounded by blue, gray, black and pinstripes.

For more information about independent designers, shoe boutiques and dressing for corporate America, read my full interview with Bullock below. Also, enjoy the video where Bullock divulges the ultimate style secrets through four House of Sole looks that are both appropriate and FUN for the workplace. Take notes, get the creative juices flowing, select your favorite items and have your credit card ready to make a purchase. Enjoy.

FULL INTERVIEW:

Kate: Where did your love for independent designers come from?

Tiffany: I have always been a champion for the underdog. Before I opened the store, I knew that I wanted to work with independent designers. They are more unique and haven’t been seen before. They bring a fresh perspective to the industry. Boutiques tend to be catalysts for independent designers. For instance, now mainstream Spanish shoe designer, Chie Mihara, was first discovered by boutiques.

K: Tell me more about your experience with incorporating your personal fashion sense into  your career in corporate America.

T: I am not a conformist and corporate women should not be forced to conform. Not everyone HAS to wear navy pinstripe suits with panty hose. You can still meet corporate standards while being your own individual. I worked for one of the most conservative organizations in America, yet I was still able to be me by incorporating my own individual flare whether it was wearing scandalous undergarments, a pair of over-sized earrings or textured tights. Ninety-five percent of your outfit is attitude, and I owned my look day-in and day-out.

 The Professional Touch: Design Your Work Wardrobe with House of Sole

K: How has your store been influenced by your clientele in the South Loop of Chicago?

T: I tend to have mostly corporate clients. With my store, I didn’t want to conform, but I did want to meet the needs of my clientele. I want to be able to go on a fashion journey with them. I have learned that customers are like cookies in a cookie jar and there are three types. The first type of customer wants to jump out of the cookie jar and really “go there” with their fashion by taking risks. The second type of customer wants to take the lid off and maybe just take a peak at the wild side of fashion. Then there is the third and final type of customer who wants to leave the lid on and that’s alright. It will happen for them too eventually, maybe just not right away. I keep all three in mind while buying merchandise for the store. The fashion sense in the South Loop has definitely evolved and is still evolving. I still get an adrenaline rush when an insecure woman walks out feeling confident about her purchase.

For more information, please call House of Sole at 312.834.0909. Also, “LIKE” House of Sole on Facebook.

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