If fashion isn't the first thing you think of when you hear Detroit, you might just not be talking to the right people. For Elizabeth Belkin, Luxury Manager at The Real Real, the motor city is as stylish as they come. And the city may partially owe that to Belkin's late mother. From the 1970s through the 2000s, Hattie Belkin Whitehed was a retailer who brought the collections of emerging international fashion designers to the Detroit markets.
And the apple certainly didn't fall far from the seriously fashionable tree. In addition to her work at the luxury consignment site, Belkin, who describes herself as a "fashion junkie," also works as a personal stylist and has stacked credentials that include retail management for the likes of Cartier and Miu Miu. Swoon!
Here, Detroit's leading lady of fashion talks style in the motor city and how to inject personality into personal style.
What is the most stylish street in your city?
Anywhere in my neighborhood of Downtown Birmingham. We have amazing Cutting edge boutiques and charming restaurants. One of my favorite places to shop is Tender, where they have the best selection of European and American Designers. After a little retail therapy, I like to have dinner at Phoenicia, which has some of the best Middle Eastern Food around and is always packed with a stylish crowd. I’ve going there since I was a little girl. Another favorite is Bella Piatti. It has the yummiest Italian food and it’s super cozy and romantic! In the warmer months, you can enjoy a glass of wine while gaze into the neighboring galleries that line the street.
What is a perfect Sunday afternoon in your city?
Going to brunch at the Townsend Hotel with friends and then catching a movie. Our theaters in town have such a classic, old Hollywood vibe.
What do you love about fashion in Detroit?
It’s not about the trends here. People are very chic and sophisticated. People here are so diverse and willing to take risks.
When you can't think of anything to wear, what is your go-to outfit?
A bow blouse, fitted blazer and skinny jeans. Depending on the weather – this is Michigan, after all – I’ll go for a pair of stilettos or booties. My all time favorite, never-fails-me piece is my Saint Laurent black blazer with gold buttons. It looks good with everything!
The first thing I do in the morning is...
What is the best piece of style advice you have received and from who?
My late mother, Hattie Belkin Whitehead, was a fashion icon in this town and all over the country. She was and still is my inspiration for everything. She always told me to dress to impress myself, not others, and to have fun with fashion. The way you interpret style, trends, etc. is an extension of your personality and how you see and want to be seen in the world.
What are your top three beauty essentials?
1. Nu Face - It does wonders to keep my skin looking young and fresh.
2. La Mer - My mother always told me to spend money on a good moisturizer.
3. Lots of water - It keeps your skin glowing and your body clean.
Describe your personal style in three words.
Flirty, Whimsical, and Sexy