Miles High Style opens shop in Bogalusa

Published 7:37 am Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bogalusa now has its very own version of “What Not to Wear,” in the form of Lisa Miles and her Miles High Style business.

Miles has set up shop at 317 Louisiana Ave. The former site of Vicki’s Café, the building now houses both Alicia Hartfield’s in-the-renovation-stage photography studio and Miles’ office. The multi-faceted operation that is Miles High Fashion includes an online boutique and personal shopping and closet organization services.

The boutique, which went online June 11, can be located on Facebook by visiting www.facebook. com/MilesHighStyle. Votes from customers decide which items will be up for sale. Miles said she offers a preview album of clothing each Sunday and the items that receive the most “likes” are the ones that she posts for sale on Monday. Customers can purchase items through Paypal or they can ask her to hold an item and then pick it up and pay for it at her office, she said.

In May, Miles earned her certification from the Fashion Image Institute of San Francisco to be a personal shopper and stylist, she said. And, as far as she knows, she is the only certified personal shopper in Bogalusa. With her certification, Miles can shop for customers or go shopping with them and can tell them what their body type is during a body consultation. Like “What Not to Wear,” she said, she gives them “the rules of shopping.”

For women that don’t have either the time or the desire to go shopping, Miles will scour the stores for the perfect clothes, she said.

“Once I know what your style is, what you’re looking for, what your body type is, I can shop for you and just bring it here and you can come try it on,” she said.

The third aspect of Miles’ business is closet organization. The people who have utilized that service so far, she said, “absolutely love it.” An organized closet, she said, makes for a less stressful life and is a big help when a woman is “running around late for work” in the morning.

When Miles embarks on a closet organization project, or “closet edit,” she said she weeds out the unnecessary items, but doesn’t just “come and throw it all away.” She said she has a system that includes a series of five questions.

“For every garment they want to keep, they need to be able to answer yes to each question, just to get them logically thinking about, ‘Do I really need this?’ ‘It’s really out of style.’ ‘I can’t even button it anymore,’” she said.

A lifelong fan of fashion, Miles, said she has “always wanted to help people” and was already assisting friends with shopping and picking out clothes prior to starting the business. The Columbia, Miss. native also holds a master’s degree in counseling and worked as a high school teacher and guidance counselor for 17 years before moving to Bogalusa in 2006. She said she has always had a desire to help people and wanted to put her counseling experience to use in her new business venture.

Her main goal in opening the business, Miles said, was to empower women through clothing, which can improve their self image, raise their self esteem level and motivate them.

Changing their clothing and image, she said, can help women “in so many other aspects of their life.” If they have gotten a big promotion or they have gone through a divorce, for instance, clothes can “change how they feel about themselves,” she said.

“If you put on an outfit that makes you feel confident, sexy, that you know you look good in it, that you wish you had one for every day of the week — I want women to feel that way about everything that they own,” she said.

“Research shows that women only wear 20 to 30 percent of their existing wardrobe, so what’s happened to the other 70 or 80 percent? It’s unworn. It’s unloved. It’s unused. You don’t know why you bought it.”

In showing a woman how to shop and helping her organize her closet, Miles said she wants her customer to have a closet filled only with clothing that will fit and flatter her.

“They don’t have to settle,” she said. “If that’s the one thing that I can get them to understand is that clothing should not bring you to tears. It shouldn’t drive you to the edge of madness. There are ways to dress your body that will make you look and feel the best that you have ever felt. That was really the premise of me starting the business.”

Though Miles is up 370 friends on her Facebook page and has shipped items to as far away as Connecticut, Texas and California, she that said she wants to serve the local area and that the online boutique is not her main area of focus. She believes she “can make the biggest impact in women’s lives” through the personal shopping and closet organization services, she said.

Contrary to what some women may think, personal shopping is “not a luxury item anymore,” she said.

“I don’t charge $400 an hour to do this,” she said. “It’s extremely reasonable. I’ll work with anyone on any budget.”

Miles said she appreciates the support customers have shown toward the business, and she discussed how well the refund/exchange policy has been working when items purchased through the online boutique end up not fitting the customer.

“I can’t say enough about the people that I’ve worked with so far,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve made a lot of new friends.”

Miles holds a weekly sale, at her office, of the items that are left from Monday’s online boutique sale, she said. The office sale takes place each Friday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Customers who want to meet with her about the other services can contact her by phone at 750-8182, by email at mileshighstyle@ or through Facebook.