It’s no coincidence that some of Buffalo’s best-dressed women also happen to own clothing stores. One might think it’s because a 2,000+ square foot personal closet expands the options, but it’s more the opposite — a keen style sense is what led them to retail in the first place.
976 Elmwood Ave.
Sharon Randaccio didn’t need to open a store. A former bank executive who owns a successful talent management/professional placement firm, she was driven to open Red Siren at its original HarborCenter location to help support waterfront development. The store, now in the Elmwood village, offers classic, timeless and ageless pieces that are on trend (but not a slave to them). Randaccio says they reflect her “work hard, play hard” style philosophy, and her belief that what you wear should build your personal brand.
“Do you want to be viewed as down-to-earth, the life of the party or bold and no-nonsense?” asks Randaccio. “Your brand should be a true reflection of you and how you want to be known.”
Randaccio said she dresses for the occasion, but her choices are always about expressing confidence.
“I am just as comfortable in a pin-striped business suit as I am in a pair of distressed jeans. I enjoy well-tailored, structured clothes but typically add a bit of unpredictability like an outrageous pop of color, a piece of statement jewelry or a wild pair of boots.”
Here are two outfits that she says reflect her own personal brand – depending on where she’s going.
Left: Randaccio said she loves animal prints because they’re classy…with an edge. This black and gray leopard print dress by Gretchen Scott ($149) fits the bill. “[Animal prints] are definitely part of my signature style, in spite of my husband’s dislike for them,” Randaccio jokes. Right: Comfy skinny jeans, like these by DL ($179) are a staple of Randaccio’s casual wear. She pairs them here with a denim shirt by Trina Turk ($129) and a purple wrap by Minnie Rose ($149). Stuart Weitzman boots (bought on sale for $495) and silver jewelry from UNO (bracelet, $129, necklace, $399) complete her look.
810 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
5454 Main St., Williamsville
Like the store she owns, Annie Adams’ style is more eclectic.
“I like to combine looks when I can – like a vintage dress with modern accessories and shoes, or a denim jacket over a dressier outfit,” said Adams.
With two locations (Elmwood Village and Williamsville), her Second Chic stores offer a range of gently-worn consignment apparel and accessories, including designer labels.
Her go-to outfit is a dress with accessories. “They are easy and comfortable, especially in summer,” said Adams.
Here, she models three, and shows how different — and affordable — the looks can be.
From left: Adams wears a Sooyung Lee dress, Forever 21 boots (currently priced at $38 and $15 at Second Chic) with a vintage belt. Denim dress originally from Lord & Taylor (now $22 at Second Chic). Origami by Vivien lace vest ($18), Bralette from Victoria’s Secret (purchased on sale for $16). Vintage cream dress (no tags, $48 at Second Chic). Andrew Marc leather jacket ($88, Second Chic). Adams’ own necklace (purchased at estate sale for $38).
3959 Main St., Buffalo
“If you can own it, you can wear it,” says Patti Lawley, co-owner of Annarlette in Amherst. “Don’t try too hard – be yourself.”
Lawley’s been on trend since grade school. “From wide-whale corduroys and yolk sweaters to duck boots and Pappagallo purses, I was bitten by the fashion bug at an early age,” she says.
Now, along with business partner Mindy Shine, her store sells high-quality, original pieces that reflect the styles of two of her fashion icons: Jackie O. and Victoria Beckham.
“I love her style evolution,” said Lawley of Beckham. “As she ages, her sense of style is more refined, with classic touches and monochromatic outfits. She puts a great deal of emphasis on quality.”
If she could only wear one outfit for the rest of her life?
“A pair of comfortable but well-fitted jeans, a white T that I could accessorize with a scarf and jacket, and a great pair of booties.”
From left: Dress by Lucian Matis, $1,500, Annarlette. Strapless silk corseted bow dress by Lucian Matis, $695. Faux fur wrap, $495. Blazer by Veronica Beard, $600. White shirt by Elisa Cavaletti, $120. Jeans by Rich and Royal, $190.
Style pet peeves
Our fashionistas were also asked to weigh in on what irritates them most when it comes to personal style.
“People who try too hard bug me just as much as those who don’t care how they look. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Highlight your figure and your lifestyle, not the rich and famous by flaunting couture brand logos,” said Sharon Randaccio.
“Going to an event that’s supposed to be dressy, and people don’t rise to the occasion,” said Annie Adams.
“My biggest style pet peeve is not being comfortable in what you’re wearing,” said Patti Lawley. “If you’re choosing a trend and it doesn’t suit you or your personality, it just doesn’t work.”