Armed with a degree in fashion merchandising and ever-present high heels that elevate her 5-foot-1-inch stature, Andi Rehm has a motto that keeps her looking stylish. “No pain, no gain — it’s fashion baby,” she says.
That philosophy is underscored by the spacious closet in her Birmingham condo. It’s a room, really, a former guest room outfitted for outfits. That includes an entire wall of high heels and platform shoes. She also shoehorned a computer desk into the closet. Given her love for clothes, it’s appropriate that she can “Google” within full view of her impressive wardrobe.
Working at Tender in Birmingham for nine years, Rehm has learned a thing or two about fashion. “You have to dress to feel good,” she says. “When you feel good about yourself, it just projects.”
Rehm says she’s always loved fashion. As a kid, she and her younger sister were given budgets for back-to-school shopping. “My sister would come home with three bags and say, ‘Look at all my stuff,’ and I would say, ‘Mom look at my outfit.’”
When her mother would point out that she got just one ensemble for the entire year, Rehm says she would reply, “But it’s fabulous.”
That girlhood passion for high-end style holds true even today. Spending money on the good stuff really pays off in the end, she says. “I don’t believe in fast fashion.
“As much as I follow trends, I don’t look at anything as too trendy.” Instead, when she selects a great piece, she says. “I don’t worry if it’s going to be in or out next year. I will find a way to make it work with those [new] trends.”
Some of her favorite pieces go back nine years. “You can update everything you own with a new pair of shoes or a belt,” she says. Rehm suggests investing in a great bag or jacket each season. “People see it every day, and it goes over everything.”
When she’s investing in good pieces, she’s drawn to designer Derek Lam for everything and Valentino specifically for shoes and handbags. Nina Ricci is “awesome,” she says, as are Zac Posen, Lanvin, and Alessandro Dell’ Acqua. She briefly considers that impressive roster and adds, “Paul Smith is so great” because he does classic things with a little edge.
As for developing personal style, Rehm suggests knowing what works for your body. As she’s advised so many women: Even though it looks great on someone else, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.