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Meet Sharon Forman Sender of Pile to Style in Chestnut Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Forman Sender.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Sharon, MA (yes, Sharon from Sharon) and attended Syracuse University. After moving to NYC in the late 90s, I completed a dual degree program at Columbia University and Bank Street College of Education, getting my Master’s in social work and special education. In 2010, I moved back home to Boston where I was surprised to find that my NY state special education degree was not accepted. Rather than going through the process of getting a new licence, I decided to take a risk and pursue a long held desire towards a career in fashion. I worked at Louis Boston before opening my own personal styling business, Pile to Style, which I’ve been running for the past four years. Between time spent living in Manhattan and working at Louis, I’ve developed a unique understanding and passion for the fashion industry. I use this knowledge to help others find their own unique personal styles.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting my own business was terrifying! Admittedly I was ‘technology challenged’ and had to learn how to use social media, build a website, and navigate fashion apps. Nowadays I live on my iPad mini and routinely post looks to Instagram.

Also, I wasn’t sure how my NYC aesthetic was going to translate in Boston, which for many years leaned conservative when it came to fashion. I have been pleasantly surprised to find what I thought might be a weakness, was actually a strength.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pile to Style story. Tell us more about the business.
With my passion for the fashion industry and an intuitive understanding of how to organize it into functional parts, I help clients (women and men) discover and maintain their own personal style. I find pieces that look great, fit well, and can be integrated in a way my clients may never would have come up with on their own. I try to utilize the clothes they already own, many of which haven’t been worn in years, but with a few tweaks from a great tailor, can become a new favorite. If necessary, I’ll complete the look, with some modern pieces.

I identify what my clients don’t even know they’re missing by introducing them to pieces that they won’t find in everyday department stores, focusing on quality over quantity. I love discovering up-and-coming designers and spotting trends early, and I routinely travel to LA, Miami, NYC, SF, and Chicago to find one-of-a-kind items.

I help my clients sync their external appearance with who they are and how they feel, something that would otherwise take time and focus they don’t normally have. Utilizing my social work background, I listen closely and learn about who my clients are as individuals and then translate that into an aesthetic to fit their life, paying close attention to the “how” as well as the “what,” especially when organizing closets in a way that facilitates the daily practical application of my advice.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
No matter what the circumstance, your wardrobe should be practical for you and your lifestyle. Except for a few special pieces (mine is a vintage Pucci duster that only gets worn on trips to LA), things should be functional, meaning they can be worn often in many different ways.

For me, online shopping is both a blessing and a curse. While we all have access to everything all the time, we are rarely looking at models who are shaped like us, live like us, and who know what we already have in our closets. Often times, this leads to return purchases or cases of “fashion victim.” My greatest advice for those who are getting ready for their next purchase, is rather than a head to toe look that you found online, make a tweak in the shape or proportions or by using a different accessory. No matter what, make it your own.

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