It's easy to call Suzanne Blair a fashionista — especially when you consider her background. The 33-year-old April Snow boutique owner studied retail merchandising at Ohio University before moving to Hawaii to work as a buyer for DVF and Hermes, then later for Coach in Hong Kong. But it's her worldly sense of how people want to dress that's most impressive to her native Clevelanders.
"In Hong Kong, they are very quick to pick up trends, so a month after the runway, it's on the streets," she says. But in Northeast Ohio, the lifestyle is "a lot more comfort-driven."
Customers will discover Blair's ability to capture Cleveland's easy, chic approach to fashion inside the tiny Tremont women's clothing store. With crisp, neutral-colored walls and strategically placed white shelving, its colorful pieces — from Oh My Love's floral maxi with sheer sleeves ($99) and Blank NYC's stretchy skinny jeans ($88) to accessories such as Kitsch bun pins ($18) for top knots — stand out.
"We wanted something spalike, just soothing, nice and clean," says Blair. "It's hard to shop when there's too much to look at."
The boutique only carries a curated selection of 15 brands at a time, handpicked from as nearby as Medina's Root Candles to as far-flung as LA's Sloane Rouge. "Take one piece and mix it with what you already have at home," Blair advises.
To make shopping even more of a breeze, she stocks her store with gift items such as Pure Enchantment's lotion bars ($4.99) and Koukla baby burp cloths ($12). "If you want to buy a dress and you're going to a baby shower, you can get the gift and you can get the dress," Blair says.
when you go: April Snow, 2501 Professor Ave., Cleveland, 216-417-3460, april-snow.com
Nearby Find: Get your sugar fix at Lilly Handmade Chocolates with truffles such as the Red Planet made with red wine-soaked strawberries, raspberry powder and dark chocolate. 761 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-3333, lillytremont.com
April Snow owner Suzanne Blair shows us how to turn two summer staples into fall favorites.
Sloane Rouge's white lace kimono, $95
Pair this with a solid-colored dress or a top and jeans. "It's an easy piece to add if it gets a little chilly," Blair says. "It looks good with a scarf on and riding boots. It's a good way to transition without having to wear a coat."
Lucca Couture's printed skirt, $68
Keep this fun skirt in rotation by adding tights and a button-up blouse. "[The skirt] really has the ability to look dressed down or dressed up," she says. "A button-up blouse is a classic look."