'Real Housewives' stylist tries on Charlotte for size

Dean Pardue is known to millions as the personal stylist for housewife Kim Zolciak of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta." Pardue, 42, fell in love with Charlotte after a few visits and relocated here from Atlanta a year ago.

Q: How did you get your start as a stylist?

My grandmother was a master tailor so she taught me to sew. Back in high school people would have me embellish their shoes or paint on their denim or sneakers. Then I went on to make prom dresses.

Q: How did you meet Kim Zolciak?

We met on the social scene about eight years ago and we clicked instantly. I started out as a personal shopper for her and her daughters. I also did styling work for Jane Fonda, Sanaa Lathan, Meg Tilly and socialites.

Q: You brand yourself as a "lifestylist"- why is that?

I like working with the everyday woman that needs wardrobing and shopping. I have clients I've done everything for from interior decorating to organizing their closet.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge you face working on the show?

I went from having such a wide variety of people to style and create clothing for to being typecast. For so long I've been seen as Kim's stylist as opposed to all the other creative things that I can do, from feminine and modest to the avant-garde.

Q: RHOA is known for "keeping up with the Joneses." How do you deal with clients that only want to buy labels?

If they're open to my suggestions ... I try to gravitate them towards anything that keeps them honest and open about fashion. I try not to steer them towards a label, price point or a trend. I'll tell them to try an independent designer or something locally made.

Q: Do you have clients here?

Yes. I work for several socialites doing design work in their homes and organizing their closets and wardrobe styling.(He charges $100 an hour.)

Q: What's a common mistake you see everyday women making? A lot of women want to pile on all their good pieces at once. Limit yourself to one statement piece and build your wardrobe from there. Invest in quality, classic basics that you'll wear forever and learn to look at those pieces as investments.

Lashawnda K. Becoats, correspondent