Felicia Bittle gave her friends free fashion advice for years before she realized it could be a profession. A native Charlottean, Bittle, 39, earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from N.C. A&T State University, and an MBA from UNC Charlotte. “I thought I was going to take over corporate America until I realized it isn’t what it looks like on TV,” says Bittle. After a career at Wachovia and Wells Fargo, she began her personal-stylist business three years ago. “I fell in love with that piece that makes people feel good about what they are wearing.”
Q. Were your parents stylish?
A. My father, every Saturday night he would have us pull out all of our clothes for church. He’d ask, ‘Do you think this goes with that?’ When I was doing my website, it clicked: That’s where it started for me.
Q. What’s the first piece of clothing you chose for yourself?
A. I was shopping with my grandmother and she gave me the choice between a jean jacket and a Members Only jacket. I chose the jean jacket. It had plaid lining and funky sleeves.
Q. What does style mean to you?
A. Expressing your personality nonverbally, through your clothing, your hair, your image. There’s a reason why Beyonce doesn’t dress like Rihanna. True people with style don’t try to look like anyone else.
Q. What designers do you admire?
A. I am in love with Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera, Jason Wu, Alice and Olivia, Diane von Furstenberg, Ted Baker. I’ll always be a fan of Chanel. I’m a girly girl, romantic. I have just a slight edge but not a lot.
Q. Tell me some key pieces in your wardrobe.
A. My black leather skirt. My jean jacket from The Gap. It’s one of those pieces that it feels if you are being too dressy it casuals you back. My diamond studs. And Bulgari. I like to smell good.
Q. Your favorite shoes?
A. My gold gladiator Steve Madden shoes. They are not comfortable, but they are awesome. I feel like when I’m walking into a room I’m walking into a room!
Q. What fashion advice can you give women?
A. Every girl should have a Glam Squad, which is a makeup artist, a hair stylist, an aesthetician and a waxer.
Q. What beauty products do you think are fabulous?
A. I love Giovanni, and Cream of Nature hair products. I’m a huge fan of Bobbi Brown. I trust my makeup to my makeup guru diva Joy Randall.
Q. What piece of clothing can’t you live without?
A. My pink silk pajamas.
Q. What bag do you carry?
A. Yves Saint Laurent. I saw it in a magazine and it was perfect. I called the store in New York. She said, ‘You got the last red one, and I’m going to give you a discount.’ But then she charged me for shipping!
Q. Who is your muse?
A. My business muse is June Ambrose. She’s like my mentor, but she doesn’t know she is my mentor. My fashion muse is the young lady Lupita Nyong’o from “12 Years a Slave.”
Q. What’s next on your list to buy?
A. I would love a set of David Yurman bangles.
Q. Do you have fashion quirks?
A. I think you kill an outfit when it’s not tailored. And when you can tell someone is wearing something because of the name.
Q. Who are your fashion role models?
A. I love Victoria Beckham’s style, and Katharine Hepburn. Michelle Obama does a classy look. I love Idris Elba. David Beckham has a great style. Pink combines edge and class at the same time.
Q. How do you stay in shape?
A. I’m a Southern girl; I’m an eater. I think everything is either fried or has a drink beside it. I work out with a trainer. I need somebody to tell me to work out.
Q. What’s your best bargain?
A. My house. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted a historic home. I live in Monroe, in a historic home in a historic district. When the market fell, I negotiated the price; that’s my accounting background.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. Church. There are some places that bring you peace, and every time I go to church there is no trouble, there’s nothing in my head, there’s just peace.