It’s hard to imagine a time when the fashion-savvy Patti Brock-Sklar wasn’t as polished and chic as she is today. The former paralegal and current boutique owner and ballroom dancer made several twists and turns before gracefully landing in Pleasant Ridge.
After working for other boutiques and learning the retail trade, Brock-Sklar opened Excelsior! on Woodward at Sylvan Avenue. Thirteen years into that venture, she prides herself on carrying designers not found in department stores. “We carried BCBG before they even opened their [Somerset Collection] store,” she says.
Fashion vendors often note Brock-Sklar’s keen eye, telling her, she says: “ You’re always picking the things that no one ever picks.’”
Keeping it fresh is her mission. “I think the responsibility of a boutique is to be different,” she says. “You have to force people to be creative.”
When outfitting herself, Brock-Sklar says she dresses to suit her mood and shops at her own store. “If you feel good, you’re going to look good,” she says. “I never know what I am wearing until that day; it really depends on how I am feeling.”
She frequently blends styles and eras. “I have quite a collection of vintage, which I mix with my new,” she says.
For lingerie and shoes, Brock-Sklar, sometimes takes her dollars elsewhere. Favorite stops include Dillard’s shoe department and My Shoe Closet in Royal Oak. Her home shoe rack is laden with more than 100 pairs, including some vintage.
She also is devoted to accessorizing, and big earrings are a favorite — whether they’ve been deemed in or out of style at the moment. She also goes for impact with bracelets, easily sporting five at a time. “If they go from your wrist to your elbow, that’s the best,” she says.
When sizing up the season’s trends, Brock-Sklar likes to “infuse” them with a dash of individuality. “It doesn’t matter to me what [designers] are showing. It usually is a matter of what I love,” she says. When trend-conscious customers inquire about the latest color palette on runways, she replies frankly: “I’m not real sure.”
After that admission, she dispenses some advice: “Do what you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and tap into your creative side.”