Tracy Varga wants to demystify the role of a stylist in people’s lives. She helps women with their wardrobes, whether it be for that one special outfit to finding different ways to use the clothes they already have in their closets. She promises that working with her will alleviate anxiety, not add to it. And she knows about anxiety for she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and swam with hammerhead sharks, both literally and on Wall Street, in her past life.

Tracy Varga: FACES of Louisville

Tracy Varga, owner and stylist with The Tracy Varga Group

You had a big job in your past life that is very different from your job now. Tell us how you got to this place in your career.

When I moved to Louisville to marry John, I left my finance job in Chicago behind. After some time off to have our son, Jack, I explored several job opportunities in Louisville. My goal was to find a career that was creative, interesting and allowed the flexibility to be with Jack and to support my husband’s demanding career. I have always loved fashion, so it was natural to start working in that industry. I worked in retail initially, but found my passion was working one-on-one with women in their closets. It has been a wonderful and very rewarding career. Recently, I added two very talented wardrobe consultants to our team — Katie Mac Murphy and Julie Hale. As a team, we hope to continue to grow our clothing services and have recently added an educational style blog for woman over 40 called Pink Suede.

What is the hardest thing about being a wardrobe consultant? The easiest thing?

Hardest is getting women to focus on themselves for a couple of hours.

Best is helping woman gain confidence in their look. It has been wonderful to help women dress for a dream job interview, find the perfect dress for a special wedding, go on their first date in 15 years. There is such power in rediscovering your inner and outer beauty while in your 40s, 50s and 60s.

Why are people so afraid to let someone in their closet?

Everyone thinks that their closet is the worst.

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What is the greatest misconception about a wardrobe consultant?

That we are going to throw away all of their clothes, like on What Not to Wear, and/or they will need to spend large amounts of money on new clothes.

How much of your time do you spend being a therapist or a girlfriend and less like a closet organizer?

It really all blends together. We do our best work when we understand the whole person. Often, a dress or pair of shoes comes with a story. Closets are filled with memories and we help our clients make the best decision. A clean, organized closet and a few cute outfits is awesome therapy for anyone!

What’s your uniform … what do you wear 75 percent of the time?

A pair of jeans, boots and an oversized sweater.

What do you personally struggle with in your own wardrobe?

Finding things that fit well.

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What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?

A quote I have on my desk that says “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”

Who is your mentor?

My father, who taught me to go after my dreams, and my mother, who taught me the importance of being a mother and homemaker.

What is best advice you have received in business?

Show up on time, be prepared, exceed expectations and take criticism seriously, but not personally.

If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?

Be a hiking guide in Colorado.

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What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

In my single days, I took a sabbatical from work and traveled with a friend on an around-the-world pass. Our goal was to find unusual adventures. We scuba dived with hammerhead sharks, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, visited Zanzibar (because we loved the name) and had cocktails while watching a volcano erupt.

What did your room look like as a child?

Floral chintz and kelly green shag carpeting. I loved it!

What is your favorite place to go eat?

My mom’s house or my sister-in-law Kim’s house. I also love Blue Dog.

Where do you like to shop?

Local boutiques, vintage stores and Chicago.

What is a luxury you allow yourself?

I have a fitness trainer and I travel.

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What is your weakness?

I like to do too many things.

What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?

I love spending time in the parks and enjoying our wonderful restaurants.

What are three things you cannot live without besides God, family and friends?

  1. Learning something new
  2. Being outside
  3. Good food and wine

What are you currently reading?

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

What are three of your favorite things right now?

  1. Spending time with my girlfriends (new and old)
  2. Watching movies with my son and husband
  3. Being with my large extended family

Thank you to Tracy Varga for letting us shop with you at Peacock Boutique. For more information about the Tracy Varga Group, visit tracyvargagroup.com.

As always, much gratitude to our FACES photographer Adele Reding for her fantastic work. See her profile on her Facebook page.

Edition May 2014