Passion for Fashion: A Conversation with Amanda Klein
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein wearing Navy Python Pants and White tee)
For the first seventeen years of my life, I lived in school uniforms. I wore red plaid dresses in elementary school, beige corduroy pants in middle school, and white Oxford button-downs in high school. When I wasn't in school uniforms, ninety-five percent of my clothes came from Mona's. Mona's is a South Florida fashion staple located in Coral Springs. Mona's juniors/women's clothing store has been my go-to store since I was in diapers. The store's namesake Mona and her daughter Amanda have created a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. When you go to Mona's, you become a part of a community. It's the place where strangers become friends as people provide unsolicited compliments about anything you try on. When I graduated high school in May 2015, I said goodbye to polo shirts and their accouterment in favor of jeans and graphic tees. I knew nothing about fashion and styling. Amanda Klein, née Appeal, taught me how to create a timeless outfit without going bankrupt. Amanda has since been my fashion fairy godmother. I always stop at Mona's and ask Amanda about the latest trends, staple pieces, and in-season colors whenever I come home. I talked with Klein to learn more about her passion for fashion.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein wearing the Paris sweater)
1. What do you do?
I run a clothing store in Coral Springs, Florida, called Mona's. Mona's is a juniors and women's clothing store that offers contemporary and dressy clothes. It's a family-owned business started by my great grandfather, and then my grandfather took over. Now, my mom and I run the store.
(Gif Courtesy of Wx.com )
2. What is it like to shop at Mona's?
My customers range from around thirteen to well over sixty. Because I'm the younger store operator, I tend to help our younger customers. Nowadays, teenagers like to dress like they are in their twenties. I have to balance the teenager's desire to look trendy with the mom's age-appropriate concerns. So, I help find a happy medium for both parties. The store also has a communal aspect to it. We are a local store with local customers, which makes Mona's the neighborhood store. Customers are nice to each other, and many people shop off of other people's looks. For example, if you try on a cute dress, a customer might ask me to pull the same dress from the back for her daughter.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram)
3. How do you pick the clothing brands featured in the store?
The number one factor is the quality of the product. Secondly, we look to see if clothes are on-trend and a good fit for the store.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein wearing the white ruffle dress)
4. Switching gears, What is style?
Style is someone's own personality. I think everyone has their style, and it evolves every day. For me, some days I wake up very happy, so I try to dress in color. Other days, I'm exhausted, so instead, I wear sweats, a tee-shirt, and a hat. You just have to own it.
(Gif Courtesy of Wx.com )
5. How was becoming a mom influence your style?
I think I changed because I don't have to take too much time getting dressed anymore. I know that I have to come home to my baby, so I can't wear my jewelry anymore. It's not a priority for me to be like, okay, I need my necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. So for me, being a mom means having essential items that I could wear at a moment's notice. It's about being comfortable and still wearing cool shoes.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein wearing in a jogger set)
6. Who are your style inspirations?
I love Jennifer Aniston's style; I think its is very chic and simple.
(Image courtesy of https://www.womanandhome.com/us/Jennifer-aniston-outfits/. Image credit: Future)
I always tell my clients that if they don't understand or know their style, pick a celebrity to kind of base their style off on and see how it fits them and their lifestyle- Amanda Klein
7. What are closet staples anyone should have in their closet?
A black blazer because I feel it goes a long way. You could wear it for all kinds of occasions. In addition, everyone should have their pair of go-to jeans with no rips. These jeans could transition from a professional office setting to a less formal event. Finally, I think everyone needs a black boot regardless of age; they are always very cool.
(Image courtesy of Unsplash)
8. How do you dress a person for their body type, hair/eye color, age, etc.?
I dress customers not by trends rather by what I think makes a person look put together. For someone tall, I would try not to dress in something crazy short. I also believe every color looks different on different people. For you, you have beautiful green eyes, so jewel tones would look amazing. If someone has red hair, then greens and purple would compliment them very well. If someone has brown hair, reds look great. For someone in college, I would not dress her so seriously and would dress her in flirty and playful clothes. While someone who is middle age, I would dress more business professional by not showing too much cleavage.
(Image courtesy of https://www.vogue.com/article/behind-the-red-carpet-with-emily-ratajkowski . Photo: Getty images)
9. How can a person elevate their style?
I think a person can elevate their style by taking a risk. If the customer wants to elevate their fashion, I would suggest a puff sleeve paired with a slack for work, try a heel instead of a wedge, or wear a bold color like a bright pink or blue instead of wearing neutrals (grey, beige, black and white).
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein wearing the Black rubbed cut out tanks paired with a ruffle purple skirt.)
10. What clothing would you spend more on?
I would probably invest in high-quality silk that flows nicely on the body. I would also spend a little more on a blazer because that's something you're going to have for a very long time; I have had my blazers for over twelve years now.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein is wearing Carmel Blazer for fall)
11. Is there anything else you want to tell people about what you do and about the store?
As a salesperson for a very long time, I think women get stuck on clothing size. Just because a piece of clothing is sized large doesn't mean that it is a large. Instead, it means that it is the right fit for you. Customers get so crazy about the size and get upset if they have to go up a size. Remember, each brand runs completely different sizing systems. Some brands run very small and use junior sizing, while other use women sizing.
(Image courtesy of Mona's Instagram. Image depicts Amanda Klein is wearing Balloon sleeve in brown paired with Mom Jeans)