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How to Borrow Personal Style

Janet Mandell is making fashion more egalitarian thanks to her eponymous high-end fashion rental company

Sartorial superstar Janet Mandell’s new River North showroom boasts a luxe inventory of over 3,000 items of clothing and accessories, with many of the unique pieces coming from her personal archive. The entrepreneur and stylist recently expanded from a flagship Chicago showroom to an additional permanent location in West Hollywood after a successful pop-up.

“We never expected to expand so fast,” says Mandell, who’s worked with Gigi and Bella Hadid and Ariana Grande. “My inventory started from my closet and then expanded into all size offerings.” Some standout pieces in her sought-after collection are a Saint Laurent black velvet one shoulder crystal embellished dress and a great selection of Chanel tweed suits (just ask Priyanka Chopra, who borrowed a yellow and white check ensemble last April for a Broadway opening) along with Manolo Blahnik heels, jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels and clutches by Judith Leiber. We chatted with Mandell to get her personal style picks.

Why Chicago?

Chicago is our home and it was easy for us to start here. I also believe Chicago needs something like this more than Los Angeles or New York City. There are lots of fashionable women here.

What are your best styling tips?

Accessories are key! Never underestimate the power of hats and belts. I grew up with a mother who never stepped out without a scarf around her neck, Chanel ballet slippers and red lips.

What trends are you looking forward to this spring?

Statement bows and ruffles! I’m excited for the feminine looks I’m seeing on the runway to come to life. My celebrity
clients are all about sex appeal, and I cannot wait to get my hands on some of these monochrome sheer numbers too.

Why is vintage appealing to you and your clients?

You can always rely on designer vintage to come back. When I buy my inventory, vintage is important to us because it really sets us apart from other rental services. We dress a handful of celebrities and this is really what they are looking for.