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Founders

Company

The Room Downstairs

2675 Coolidge Hwy.
Berkley, Michigan 48072

Marcy Forta

When did you get started?
I started my boutique in the basement of my Oak Park home in 2003, opening it up to customers in the evenings and by appointment, and selling at shows before the holidays, which allowed me to work and still stay at home with me seven children.

It’s always a challenge to find clothing that fits our requirements but is still fashionable. I got the idea of opening a store during a trip to Israel where there are some great stores and I was buying things for myself, my daughter and friends.

In 2008, I opened the storefront on Coolidge that carries 1,600 skirts — from frilly and flouncy florals to tailored looks suitable for the office, and casual cargo pocket twill skirts — as well as extenders, layering pieces that go underneath shorter skirts and dresses.

Which item do you sell that makes modest dress more modern?
Shells, which I love to layer under jackets, vests, and sleeveless tops, jumpers and tunics, are available in more colors than are in the rainbow plus tie-dye and metallics. The shell industry has revolutionized the modest dress closet. They make it possible to wear anything you want and make it modest.

What’s most in style this year?
Most of the looks come from my personal taste that leans toward fun and functional with a bit of edginess and glamour.
Tunics are very big this year, especially when they’re paired with a belt. Denim is huge, too. Fashion should be functional. You still have places to go and errands to run.

For what ages are your clothes most suitable?
I’m hard-pressed to peg down an age range. Me, my mother and my daughter all wear the same things; fashion doesn’t have an age. A lot of customers ask, ‘Is this too young or too old for me?’ You should wear what you’re comfortable in.”

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