Each time I cross paths with Sherry Linder, owner of Seams To Fit, I feel like I’ve been sprinkled with fairy dust. I am genuinely uplifted and inspired in her presence. Sherry is true to herself and her vision while remaining considerate and thoughtful of others. This isn’t always easy to achieve as a busy shop owner with so many relationships and things to manage, yet she does it with grace, elegance, confidence, and love. Over the last 10 years, I have found treasured pieces for myself, friends and clients within the walls of her store and with the help from her team. To my delight, I have had my heart set on full-priced items that have then miraculously shown up on consignment! I can think of at least 3 very specific items this has happened with: a one-of-a-kind Numero 10 handbag, a Mike & Chris woven denim jacket, and a backless bronze dress by Back. Most memorable, though, are the moments I’ve had connecting with Sherry and her daughters over what’s happening in our lives. I thought you all might like to know a little bit more about the stylish woman behind the vision of one of our favorite boutiques in Portland.
How do you describe your personal style?
Simple, chic, in my favorite colors: Black and White. I love a scarf for an accent accessory any time of year.
How has it changed or evolved during your life?
Not much, just less flowery.
I often meet women who feel like they should dress down in Portland so they fit in. Do you think it’s important to blend in to your surroundings?
I have always believed in creating your own style, feeling good about yourself in your own eyes, rather than the elusive styles of the moment. I encourage women to follow their hearts and intuitions.
Do you ever find yourself talking with women who wish they had more occasions to dress up?
Yes, especially those who have moved here from places that afforded more opportunities for that as a general trend.
Who are some of your favorite clothing and jewelry designers?
Donna Karan, Marithe Girbaud, Rundholtz for clothing and Rebecca Bashara for jewelry.
What compelled you to open Seams To Fit?
I had the experience of working in another consignment shop for a number of years as an employee, and upon peering through my tiny storefront window on a walk with my husband, I imagined my vision of creating a safe place for women to shop without any pressure to buy, but to walk out feeling better about themselves than perhaps when the walked in. It is my vision of female sanctuary. As it happened, the doors opened for that tiny storefront to become Seams To Fit, 15 years ago.
What made you want to open a home store in addition?
Going to Phoenix several years ago I visited a consignment shop for men and women where right next door there was a furniture consignment store by the same owner. Again, my imagination lit up and I envisioned the expansion of Seams To Fit. Furniture and home decor can be viewed as just another element of fashion in my mind. My clients for all these years suddenly had a venue to recycle their home goods as well as their closets. Besides, home decor has always been my first passion before clothing, from a young age!
We know you are conscientious of your community, how did you come up with your “Charity Seams To Fit” option?
We have always passed on any of our donations in the store to a few non-profits that focus on women and children. I realized as our store grew (and we started our Ebay store online) that there was a charity site built into Ebay’s business model. We learned that anyone could donate a certain percentage of proceeds from that site to specific non-profits directly. Seams To Fit would provide the staff to move merchandise forward for charity, and delegate 100% of the proceeds to the consignor’s non-profit of choice. Rather than one area of need to receive dollars monthly, we choose to support four particular needs: 1.) The hungry and elderly. 2.) Empowerment of women. 3.) Urban education. and 4.) The arts. It felt well rounded in the community, and as a small business, we could really make a difference. It has proven true to my intention.
What is the greatest extravagance in your own wardrobe?
My Louis Vuitton Epi Leather Lussac Tote Bag, I have two.
What’s one of the craziest/most impressive items you’ve seen come through Seams To Fit?
A Hermes Kelly Bag and a Tiffany & Co. Platinum “Diamonds by the Yard” Necklace. Totally unexpected and wonderful!
How do you fight the urge to bring home all the beautiful things that come through your store?
Trust me, I give in quite a bit, but thank goodness my personal style remains relatively paired down.
Do you have a rule as to if you’ll allow yourself to purchase an item or not?
Does it really suit me and will I really wear it? …Also, my daughters and co-workers are always good at giving me an honest second opinion.
What is it like being in business with your daughters?
One of life’s greatest blessings! It keeps us close to weather the ups and downs of the business together, and allows us to regularly interact with each other as adults. Since our extended family has been gone for many years, our immediate family has always leaned on each other for support. My husband and twin brother also hold crucial roles at Seams To Fit. (Accounting and maintenance, respectively.) I’m a lucky lady!
What advice do you give young women regarding how to dress?
I tend to see style as part of one’s personality and I try to intuitively steer my customers toward pieces that will make their personality and figures shine.
What are some of your favorite places to shop in Portland?
I’m not much of a shopper outside the store, but when I do, it would be Stella’s on 21st for greeting cards. I always collect cards. Writing to others with pen and ink makes me happy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I remain humbled by the trust that is placed in my hands daily to bring new life and new ownership to some of the most beautiful things around us. I consider myself fortunate to have come to know so many people I can call my friends and community.