Look Inside 10 of Philly’s Most Enviable Closets
There isn’t much in life that’s more personal than our wardrobes — they’re where we stow our personal artifacts, pile our favorite things (and dirty laundry) and hide our skeletons. Here, a glimpse inside the closets, collections and curiosities of Philly’s coolest characters, power players and fashion plates.
Nearly 80,000 people follow fashion illustrator Dallas Shaw’s Instagram feed for peeks at her stylish life—and into her gilt-wallpapered closet, a guest room in her circa-1905 Wilmington house that she converted into a dressing room. In the glam space, both designer and “dirt-cheap” clothes line a wardrobe rack, silk scarves hang in a vintage trunk, and part of her vast shoe collection (it spans hundreds of pairs; out-of-season styles are in storage) is displayed on salvaged window frames and along an old gate from a church. “I’m not into the cubed closet thing,” says Shaw. “Instead of a traditional closet, I wanted to have a room that I can live in.”
Denise Fike’s Queen Village trinity is a jam-packed whirl of color, kids (she babysits her grandchildren every day) and clothes. One room is devoted to her sprawling hat collection (current count: 60), and the rest of the house is peppered with her fashion finds, most of which she scores on eBay (“I find a lot of vintage Karl Lagerfeld and Thierry Mugler there”) and at T.J.Maxx, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Joan Shepp’s annual basement sale.
You know Saxbys owner Nick Bayer for either his coffee or his perennially sharp outfits: tailored blazers and button-downs, slim jeans, always a pocket square. He runs his meticulously organized Rittenhouse closet—a long L-shaped bank of open shelves and racks that he shares with his wife, Hally—as tightly as he runs his business: “If I don’t wear something for a while—usually that means six months—I donate it to Goodwill.”
Fergie Carey is as renowned for his beloved watering holes (Monk’s, Fergie’s Pub) as he is for his “mad and random style,” which vacillates from tees to top hats and glam rock excess (shiny gold leggings, Bowie-esque platform boots, a full-length fur coat). In his Bella Vista closet, he also stows his collection of kilts, which range from a formal tuxedo-style set to his everyday “casual kilt.”
Interior designer extraordinaire
Joanne Hudson has a few trademarks: quirky glasses (these come from La Brigitte, a shop Hudson discovered in Paris), a punchy purse (she owns some Birkins but swears Mulberry bags are better-made) and an armful of jangly bangles (“I have bracelets coming out the wazoo!”). It’s all organized at her Main Line home in a custom Downsview closet, as thoughtfully designed as her sought-after kitchens.
Real estate visionary
As the managing principal of MSC Retail, Douglas Green has helped usher some of the coolest brands to Philly. But securing real estate in his own closet proved to be a more difficult proposition. After negotiating with his wife, he managed to nab a wall of his Haverford home’s walk-in closet, which he lines with patterned button-downs, Suitsupply suits and jackets, triathlon gear (“Helmets, bikes, goggles, sneakers—I’ve started to geek out on it,” he says) and his collection of nearly 40 hats.
Each morning, attorney, philanthropist and noted bon vivant Ajay Raju gets dressed on the third floor of his vast Versailles-like Washington Square West mansion, in a closet that looks like a suit showroom. He knows what he likes: narrow English ties (which he stores pre-tied in a drawer), high-collar Angelo Galasso shirts, Isaia suits (all from Boyds) and Tom Ford shoes (“It’s scientific, the way he structures them. They’re almost like a sports car”). It’s also the place where he reads, bids on art and stores his prized hair dryers—including one with a Ferrari engine.
Ann Gitter’s closet, tucked at the back of the master bathroom in her circa-1860 Rittenhouse carriage house, is a militantly organized expanse of black, the only color she’s worn since 1970. But the sameness ends there: Gitter’s wardrobe includes 50 different pairs of black pants; a lineup of leather vests, slouchy tees and artful sweaters that rivals the selection in her boutique triumvirate Knit Wit; sunglasses that range from retro to futuristic; and a collection of city-stomper footwear (Rick Owens X Adidas sneakers for summer; Robert Clergerie and Comme des Garçons boots for winter) crowned by one pair of “big-girl party shoes” (Nicholas Kirkwood heels).
Rakia Reynolds spends much of her time ping-ponging between meetings and events for her dual roles as president of communications agency Skai Blue Media and entrepreneur-in-residence for Visit Philadelphia. So while her actual closet is in her home in Princeton, much of her wardrobe has migrated to her office at Center City co-working space Pipeline. “I could start my day with a relaxed meeting where I can wear sneakers, but then later I may be working with a more corporate client, so I have to dress that part as well,” she says. “Why not have those pieces in my office?”
Chef de force
When Kevin Sbraga is in the kitchen at his restaurants—Sbraga and Fat Ham—he wears clogs. But off-duty, you’ll find him in flashier footwear: leopard-print Jimmy Choo slippers, royal purple Ralph Lauren drivers, glittery Gucci sneakers. It’s a carefully curated selection that he stores in a compact closet in his Bella Vista apartment. “They have to be fun,” he says of his shoes. Next on his wish list? Giuseppe Zanotti high-tops bedecked with gold metal flames.
Published as “Closet Envy” in the October 2016 issue of Philadelphia magazine.