Shopping as Therapy With Ania Schwartzman
“Loehmann’s was our mecca,” Ania Schwartzman said reverently. “We were devastated when they closed their doors. Me, my mother and my grandmother—a Holocaust survivor—loved spending weekends there, searching for deals, offering unsolicited advice to strangers in the communal dressing room.”
Five years after Loehmann’s shut its doors, Schwartzman, a 47-year-old New York City-based psychologist, has found her way back to her first love, fashion. Last year, when Schwartzman’s friend announced that her husband wanted a divorce, people suggested coffee dates and cocktails. But Schwartzman offered to take her shopping for something to wear to her daughter’s graduation. She not only found her friend a dress, she also provided her with an outlet to share her feelings.
It was while counseling that friend in a Lord & Taylor dressing room that Schwartzman had a eureka moment. What if she combined her professional expertise with her fashion sense to help people in transition find clothes that not only look good but also make them feel good? Enter The Fashionologist, a therapeutic service combining personal shopping and styling expertise. With Loehmann’s gone and Lord & Taylor now shuttered in Manhattan, Schwartzman takes clients to Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Zara, Theory and Ann Taylor Loft.
She was quick to warn that her services are not “one of those ‘before and after’ transformational experiences. It’s more like tweaking. If you’re looking for someone to push you a little, suggest a better cut of clothing, a little more frill, an added accessory, that’s where I come in,” she said confidently. “It’s not just about putting something on and feeling pretty for the moment. I want my clients to feel optimistic, ready to take on the world. That’s a lot bigger than simply feeling pretty.”