Annie Abbott has an eye for fashion, and she’s made it her business to help people find their style.
The Seattle native was introduced to the world of fashion when she left college and became a personal assistant to celebrities in Los Angeles, she said.
“It took me to some interesting places in fashion,” Abbott said.
After five years living out of a suitcase, she moved back home, with the caveat that she go back to college.
Abbott attended Seattle Central, and then the University of Washington, where she graduated with a degree in social science.
During that time she was also working full time in real estate finance, but said the passion wasn’t there.
After years of providing friends and family with free fashion advice, it was Abbott’s sister who pushed her to start charging people for it, she said.
She started Anne Townsend out of her Madison Park home in June 2017. She quit her real estate finance job in January, so she could continue growing her personal styling business.
“Fashion isn’t huge here, and it’s my goal to make it huge here,” said Abbott about Seattle. “Maybe nobody has elevated the standard here, and maybe I can elevate the standard.”
Clientele at Anne Townsend — Townsend being Abbott’s middle name — has grown organically through word of mouth.
Her process starts with a free 30-minute phone consultation, which she uses to learn as much as possible about a person and their style objectives.
“I haven’t had anybody not proceed yet,” Abbott said. “I would say once someone commits to getting on the phone with me, they’re pretty committed to the process.”
Then there’s an in-home session, where Abbott looks through a client’s wardrobe, helping them decide what should stay and what should go. She said she also tries to improve a person’s style by combining clothing and accessories the client already has.
“I try to be really sensitive. I think some people have this preconception that the stylist always just comes in your home, tears down everything and says, ‘You have awful style,’ ” Abbott said. “Then there is that fine line of, somebody has hired me for my opinion.”
Abbott works with Nordstrom and Marios for the shopping process, as well as neighborhood retailers that include Alice and Emry Boutique in Madison Valley.
After building a fashion profile, Abbott said, she will go to stores ahead of her clients and pull clothing out for them to try. Clients can spend up to two hours trying on various clothes.
“I like to make it a slow process — you don’t have to buy everything today,” she said. “I would say a lot of people I work with do like to shop; they just need an opinion.”
Once the shopping is done, they go back to the client’s house to work the new apparel in with the existing wardrobe, and then package and accessorize.
“I like the whole process, but I really like that part,” she said — and the shopping.
The process will continue as long as the client needs to develop their wardrobe, and Abbott is available to consult when someone needs help planning for a business meeting, night out, or any other social event.
She uses The Clients Behind the Clothing series on her website to show people who may be interested in her services that she doesn’t take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to fashion.
Abbott did discuss on social media the trends she was seeing during Fashion Month — a series of fashion weeks that occur in New York, London, Milan and Paris in September.
She would like to work with more stores and brands to create a styling business where she can curate a shop that serves high-level clients directly, she said, noting this model exists in LA and New York.
“I said, ‘I never want to sleep in my house again in September,’ ” Abbott said, intending to be at those shows.
The client market she wants to grow is people — men mostly — in the tech industry, who tend to dress more business casual.
Abbott spends her free time with her husband Colin Curtis and their two dogs. She and her husband like golfing at Broadmoor, walking the Washington Park Arboretum, hiking, boating and trying new restaurants.
“I really do like to go shopping,” she added. “It’s just my nature.”
Find out more about Abbott and her services at annetownsend.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos were provided by Erin Schedler Photography.