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Profile: Amy Wells Havins

Founder of Dallas Wardrobe

Amy Wells Havins has been advising people on what to wear since she was eight. The teachers of Dallas Christian Academy quickly learned not to wear the same blouse twice in one week. “I was a baby fashion guru,” she jokes.

“She was always styling people, always wanted to take us shopping,” says Katie Wells, 24. “She’s very honest and she sticks with her opinions.”

The Best of Both Worlds

The 26-year-old personal stylist and wardrobe consultant behind Dallas Wardrobe may not have known that her childhood hobby would translate into a career professionally advising clients what to wear, but she has always loved fashion and has long known that she wanted to start her own business. She melded these loves at Baylor, where she graduated in 2009 with degrees in fashion merchandising and business administration, which she calls “the best of both worlds.”  After graduation, she briefly repped a clothing line (Roxy, although she admits she is not a “surf person,”) and worked for a personal shopper in Dallas. There, Amy learned the basics of personal shopping and wardrobe consulting, including that she can’t dress everyone how she likes to dress and that with each new client, she must adjust to different preferences and price points. But it’s thirteen-year-olds, she says, who are the most difficult to please. “They’re very opinionated, but the younger girls would rather work with me than their mom, because I can sit there and talk about One Direction or Justin Bieber, because I still listen to that stuff, so I’m pretty relatable,” she says, laughing.

And she is. For a twenty-something who hangs out with the Dallas “It” crowd (Krystal Schlegel of the Style Book, Courtney Kerr of “Most Eligible Dallas,” Lauren Scruggs of LOLO Magazine, and Amber Venz of VENZedits), who has owned her own business since she was 24, and who just got back from a whirlwind trip to New York Fashion Week, she is remarkably normal. She fawns over Kate Middleton’s sophisticated wardrobe and drools over Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, her “blogger crush,” whom she ran into at NYFW. (She makes a check-mark with her finger in the air as she says “Life complete!”)

But sometimes even Miss Dallas Wardrobe herself has an “off-day,” causing her to sign off an email with “Warning: I look horrible!! Today is my ‘take care of stuff’ day….” (When the style expert answers the door with a floppy black poodle in tow, she looks perfectly adorable in her pullover and pearl studs.) She had set aside the day to finish a project she’s wanted to complete for “forever” in the red-brick townhouse off Lovers Lane she and her husband Wade moved into just over a month ago: folding laundry, which she admits she usually just leaves in piles, and meeting up with her friend Scruggs.

“I don’t think there’s anything normal about what I do,” she says. Between blogging late at night until her eyes hurt, keeping up with her website, and dealing with clients’ fashion emergencies, Amy’s life is anything but nine to five.

Balancing a Busy Life

“It’s a good balance, because I’m busy […] every single day, but at the drop of a hat if I need to go do something or pick something up, I still have time for me,” she says, as well as for her dog Banks, and husband Wade, who works in oil and energy.

Amy married Wade, also a Baylor alum, in June of 2011. “She and Wade belong together,” says Scruggs. “It’s a very sweet thing to see. They are so connected.” The pair travel often, dine out almost every night (“I don’t cook,” Amy admits), and box together a few times a week at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym. “It smells, it’s all boys, but it’s a great workout,” Amy says.

 And it was Wade who came up with the name of Amy’s business. The two sat down together about two years ago to talk about how Amy wanted to start her own business. “The timing was right so I just kind of dropped everything I was doing and focused on Dallas Wardrobe,” she says. From there, she worked with a company to build her brand, including the blog (an idea to which she was initially resistant), but then the Texas native, a Dallasite born and raised, used her local connections and word of mouth to drum up business. “It was an idea — executing an idea — which is all it takes,” she says. She has been blogging for about a year, and while it’s still not her favorite thing, it makes her more searchable and is a source of new clientele.  And even those potential clients who may not be ready to splurge on a stylist can draw inspiration from her outfit ideas and buy those items online through RewardStyle, a company created by Amy’s friend, SMU alum Amber Venz, which allows bloggers to make commission on clothes they post. “She’s a genius,” Amy raves.

An Expert Eye

And while Amy is extremely private about her clients, her friends and family know from personal experience what she can do. “She is very professional, but has a laid back easy way of communicating with people that makes her styling more like shopping with a friend and less intimidating,” Schlegel says. She and Katie send Amy snapshots in the dressing room to get the fashion guru’s honest advice. “She has helped me pick out outfits for major events,” says Schlegel. When it comes to closet organization, her job isn’t quite as glamorous. “Sweating, trash bags, dust…super sexy job, let me tell ya,” says Amy. “When she’s at work, she’s at work; she’s not messing around,” says Katie. And of Amy’s own closet? “[It’s the] most organized closet I’ve ever seen. She has a brilliant mind for that kind of stuff — it’s like art almost. She can see outfits and put together things I would never even think to.”

Since she started her business, Amy has taken on a few new roles. Scruggs appointed her LOLO Magazine’s fashion expert with her own “Ask Amy” sidebar on the website. Readers email in style questions to which Amy responds. “Amy was a great person to ask, because she knows what’s going on in the industry,” Scruggs says. Amy is also the new shop person for GrandLuxe Magazine. Each month she picks out a different product, boutique, or anything else that is local and writes about it for the magazine. Amy was also honored alongside Schlegel as one of the Fresh Faces of Fashion for 2012, working for almost half a year to raise money for the Suicide Crisis Center through fashion shows, raffles, and parties. “It was a great way to put charity and fashion together,” she says. But no matter how busy she is, Amy always makes time for her friends and family. “Even if she’s off traveling and I’m busy working and we don’t see each other for a month, it just feels like when we see each other we are going back to normal,” says Scruggs. “I’m never worried about rebuilding the friendship.”

At 26, Amy is accomplished in her personal life and career, and as her sister said, “it’s just going to build even more and more.”

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