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Dressed for Success: How Liz Wendler Went From Corporate Climber to Fashion Entrepreneur

When asked if she has a personal mantra or quote she lives by, Liz Wendler replied, “Dress for the job you want to have, and if you are still unsure, dress ten to twenty percent better than you think you should. I'd rather be fabulously overdressed than awkwardly underdressed.” With over a decade of experience in the realm of personal styling, she's dedicated to helping individuals break free from wardrobe constraints and style-related challenges, especially during life transitions. Prompted by the birth of her second child and getting laid off from her corporate role after going back to work amid the COVID pandemic, she decided to take that time to focus on herself, her family, her health, and what she truly wanted to do next. Styling had always been a passion of hers, and after deciding to follow her gut and channel her years of sales, strategy, fashion, and styling experience into her own business, she launched Liz Wendler Styling in 2021 to help others look and feel their best. 

Liz Wendler posing in front of a mirror. She's wearing a bright pink blazer with a white graphic t-shirt and white pants with nude heels.

Greatly influenced by her childhood, she attributes much of her inspiration to her mom. She fondly recalls how her mom would always dress up and put on lipstick before leaving the house, often adding a scarf to combat the cool and damp Pacific Northwest weather. She has vivid memories of her mom sporting oversized 70s-style sunglasses, which she affectionately refers to as "mom glasses," a style that has now come back into fashion. Returning home meant changing into more casual attire to preserve their day clothes, a practice she found admirable. Her mother's effortless elegance left a lasting impression on her. “She knew how to present herself well.” Her love for fashion and finding ways to make clothing work for her body blossomed during middle school. Diagnosed with scoliosis in 5th grade, she felt self-conscious wearing a back brace during what she describes as the most awkward years of her life. Playing sports to keep her spine healthy, she navigated this challenging period by experimenting with different patterns, tops, and layers, using her creativity to stylishly conceal the brace and what she considered her odd athletic body shape. 

In her college days, she juggled her studies with working in sales at Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret. She used some of her earnings to build up her wardrobe, which her friends often shopped whenever they went out. After graduating, she auditioned for a Macy’s back-to-school fashion show. Although she was not selected, her talent caught the eye of an agent who was quick to sign her on. This was the start of her modeling journey at the age of twenty-one, which was considered late to begin. From there, she worked with big names like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Amazon, Nike, and Adidas. Along the way, she mastered the art of working the camera, gained valuable business insights, and honed her confidence. Because modeling in the PNW wasn’t very lucrative, she also worked at T-Mobile’s corporate office in online sales, climbing the corporate ladder. She used her PTO for modeling gigs and even took the time to learn the ropes of styling and makeup from Seattle's best stylists and makeup artists. She continued to dress stylishly for work every day, which stood out in the tech world's sea of t-shirts and jeans, and her colleagues and friends started to seek her help with their own fashion dilemmas and even hired her to help style them.

Liz Wendler standing in front of a crowd holding up a pair of dark denim jeans and a white laced long sleeve. A full wrack of clothing sits behind her.

She then made her way to New York City to broaden her corporate experience, and additionally signed on with Wilhelmina’s Fitness Division and continued to take PTO for gigs. Not yet sure of how to sustain herself through styling, she had a few stints with start-ups that were not the right fit for her, and she was either laid off or fired. At the time, it was a blow to her pride, but looking back, she considers those experiences to be blessings in disguise. They helped her develop resilience, confidence, and grit. After a few years in NYC, she moved to Austin, TX, where she landed a job with a custom menswear brand, and she was able to expand her knowledge from women’s to men's fashion. After nine months, she decided to step down from her position and bet on herself and her styling business. 

Despite being in the fashion industry for the last twenty years, Liz says she was genuinely nervous about venturing into entrepreneurship because she had always worked in a structured corporate setting, on a team, and followed a linear path to leadership. After her layoff, she decided that it was finally time to work for herself. “I thought about the many transitions my mind, body, and wardrobe experienced over the last ten years after moving to Austin from New York, getting married, having two kids, going through COVID, and attempting to go back to work. With all of the transitions, starting my own styling business to help other women tackle what I went through made sense to me.” Leading up to doing so, she had numerous conversations with her husband and admired entrepreneurial friends. Their encouragement, particularly from her husband, who reassured her of her talents, and dear friend Jessica, who believed in her abilities, was instrumental. Despite the support, she knew she had to embark on this journey on her own terms, and finally, she believed in herself and launched Liz Wendler Styling.

Liz Wendler standing next to a wrack of clothes. She's wearing a dark pair of wide legged denim jeans and a white mock neck long sleeve shirt.

Running her own business has taught her a valuable lesson: failure paves the way for growth. “I've had to make mistakes to learn how to get better, and the only way that can happen is to make decisions and take risks.” One of the biggest challenges she faced as a business owner was not being on a team where she could bounce ideas off of others. However, being a person who thrives in a collaborative environment, she overcame that by connecting with other like-minded women in entrepreneurial groups. She now emphasizes the importance of community for cultivating the right mindset and experience to propel one's business forward. Believing everyone should have a style coach to challenge their style and push their styling perspective, a future goal of hers is to grow the business into a bigger company and scale her style coaching services worldwide. Additionally, she is eager to fill the gaps she sees in the clothing market by launching her own clothing line or hat brand.

In need of a wardrobe refresh or starting on your own style journey?  Visit Liz Wendler Styling to schedule a complimentary consultation! 


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