Pamela Baczuk, Experienced Stylist, Striking Appearance, Giving, World Traveler At Heart, and Costume Designer
I met Pam at a local Women’s Networking Group for Entrepreneurs a couple years ago. I was immediately impressed with the way she dressed, the way she spoke and walked (very elegantly!), and what she knew about the fashion industry.
Pam is one of those women who doesn’t reveal all her cards right away. Rather, she lets you peel the onion of her life story, her soul and her beauty one layer at a time. She doesn’t tell you much about herself unless you ask specific questions, and even then, you may get a one or two word response. Needless to say, I’m persistent, and I didn’t give up! Today, Pam and I enjoy an easy, symbiotic, playful relationship and I look forward to introducing Pam to you, too!
As I interviewed Pam, I learned things I didn’t know about her. She’s had an interesting, challenging, and adventurous life. We share in common many things — our love of helping women feel beautiful, we were born in the midwest and made our way to California, and we both work really, really hard. She’s a worker! She gets things done! I love that about Pam. Here is her story…
Let’s begin by having you tell us a little about yourself.
Five years ago my husband and I made a life change. We moved to a small remote rural town called New Cuyama. It is about halfway between Santa Maria, CA and Bakersfield, CA in an agricultural area. We had lived in Los Angeles for almost 30 years. We decided to buy a house after renting for all that time. It’s a fixer upper and we are still at the process, currently replacing plumbing and remodeling the bathroom. We have no children of our own, but our siblings have given us nieces and nephews and now grandnieces and grandnephews.
As part of such a small community, we felt the need to become involved with community organizations to improve the quality of life and resources here. I am a board member on the Community Association and my husband is a board member on the Community Service District, which provides water for the town. I have volunteered for the past 3 seasons to coordinate costumes for the Children’s Drama Club.
I know you’ve had several careers in your life, including studying Fashion Design, and working for Banana Republic as a stylist.
Fashion has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My mother insisted upon the proper clothes for the occasion and matching or coordinating outfits. The training stuck and maybe some of her love of clothes rubbed off. I pursued making my own clothes, and copying garments that I would see in movies. I explored Fine Arts before going into Fashion Design in the early 1980’s. After graduation from FIDM in Los Angeles, I did some custom sewing, then, took a job at a bridal shop where I began to learn millinery. I went on to study with a private teacher. This led to an encounter with a costume designer who hired me to make hats for the shop he was opening on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Eventually he hired me as his assistant, and also as his milliner for stage work. As his assistant, I sourced fabrics, checked on production of the costumes, and took care of any organizing and transporting the costumes to locations. I worked on shows for Neil Diamond, Six Flags in Texas, Dollywood in its three locations, and smaller productions around Los Angeles and in Las Vegas. I made stage hats for some of these and for shows on Princess Cruises. This lasted about ten years.
In 1998 I began working for Banana Republic and discovered how much I liked helping women find the best clothes and the best styles to compliment their looks and lifestyle.
I developed a large database. I am still in touch with many of the women I met at Banana Republic during my 10+ years there. This position also gave me the opportunity to connect with local businesses to promote the events and new collections at the store. The store held special events for certain collections. I dressed the models for the events and helped plan the events, including promotion, food, music all based on the theme of the event.
After moving out of Los Angeles, I discovered Cabi, a direct sale clothing company that is sold mainly sold in private homes. I have been a Cabi rep for three years now. It has allowed me to remain involved, relevant, and engaged with women and fashion.
What’s the quirkiest/most interesting thing about you?
When I set up a Cabi show at a client’s home, I have to fit the entire collection into my 4-door compact sedan. I mean it is a small car! Not only do I have to fit the clothing bags in the car, but I bring a clothing rack with special hangers, boxes of shoes, jewelry, belts, and anything else I’m showing in the collection. Linda Waldon can attest to this skill that I have developed of being able to fit what should go in a small truck into my car! I must have extremely attuned spacial skills because I can make it all fit every time.
Turns out, when I took an aptitude test years ago, they said I was good at spacial relationships.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
When I was a child, I wanted to learn ballet, and become a professional dancer. That’s me in the ruffle dress. I called it my flower girl dress because I wore it in a wedding when I was the flower girl. I still have the dress!
What is an issue you may have faced at one point in your life that may have affected your confidence, and how did you overcome it?
After five years in New York, I moved to Boston for a year, then to Cape Cod where I stayed for about five years. I had a romantic disappointment in New York which was in part, the catalyst for moving away. Due to my emotional state and the lifestyle change, I gained a lot of weight. In addition, I was financially barely surviving. I lived in a house with several other people of similar age all in the same financial position. When I turned 24, one of them said I was “over the hill!” Although he was kidding, it bothered me. Winter on Cape Cod during a recession, feeling fat and ugly and being around people who were experimenting with drugs was not a positive environment.
When I met someone who seemed responsible, I jumped at the chance for a more conservative lifestyle. However, there were problems with that environment, too. Even so, we married, and soon after divorced. It wasn’t until I moved to California on invitation from my sister that I was able, with her support, to regain some confidence in myself. Soon after, I met my current husband and we are still together.
Later during what I know now was peri-menopause, I also gained weight, and was self conscious about my age. Our friends were mostly younger. Losing weight for a trip to Prague and the excitement of a new experience helped me renew.
What brings you the greatest joy?? What advice would you give a woman who is still searching for her joy?
I get the most joy from knowing that I have helped a woman feel better about herself. This happens when I help a woman select clothing that makes her feel joyful and it helps her confidence, too.
The other thing that brings me joy is when the children suddenly come to life on stage, having been dressed in costumes I have helped coordinate or personally constructed. I have so much fun designing costumes for young people!
Whenever I have been at a place in my life where nothing seems to give me joy, I think I pull inward, reflect on the past, meditate, and begin exploring new activities, ideas, and learning new things. In the process, I discover, that the activities and relationships that gave me joy before are often those same ones that give me joy. It is perhaps slightly altered, but essentially at the core very similar. For advice, I would suggest just listen to yourself, observe, notice your feelings, and be aware of your thoughts. Yoga is a beneficial physical exercise to help clear the mind.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style: Classic with Bohemian touches. It has evolved over the years, with the Bohemian taking precedence at times. For a while, I wore only vintage clothes. Now I mix vintage with current.
In your work with Cabi and Banana Republic, what have you observed about how women over fifty feel about their bodies, the way they dress, and how they express themselves on the outside?
If a woman stays involved in a career, stays engaged, and pushes herself to meet new people and learn new things, the changes in her body may be annoying but she is able to accept the changes and enhance what is inherently her own beauty. Of course, healthy lifestyle, food choices and exercise contribute.
When I hear women say, ”I’m retiring, and will not need any clothes,” I wonder if they really plan to dress in sweat pants and old t-shirts and how will that make them feel? Most of the women who shopped at Banana Republic, and now, the women I meet through Cabi want to look their best and want to find the right garments to flatter their changing figures. They are engaged with community, family, maintain an active social life, and work with their changing bodies. There are a few, who even though they might come to a Cabi show, are reluctant to even try anything. I try to encourage them, to at least try, because it makes such a change when they realize they can still look pretty. That uplifts their confidence and their mood.
What is your favorite style trick or tip you’d like to share?
Adding a bit of color, such as in a scarf, a belt or shoes, when you are wearing all black makes you approachable, opens the door for social engagement. If however, you want to remain aloof, wear all black, but make it sophisticated.
What do you have coming up with your Cabi Collections and style work for next year?
I will be happy to share the Cabi Spring Sneak Peak Video for a look at what is coming up. We are seeing lots of bright colors and bright whites! https://pamelabaczuk.cabionline.com/video/cabi-clothing-spring-2019-collection-sneak-peek/
In 2019, I want to focus on even more personal one on one styling and researching environmentally and socially conscious clothing in more depth. Cabi clothing is interchangeable season to season. It works with items in your closet from other companies as well as with previous season Cabi pieces. The factories are responsible to their employees and are highly rated for the ethical manner in which they operate.
Do you have a “bucket list?” If so, would you care to share one or two things still on your list?
Travel! I want to explore fashion around the world now. And, explore the history, the architecture, and cultures of other countries. First on my list is Spain and to learn a bit of flamenco!
Please share an inspirational quote or brief story to leave us with.
“To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams.” -Roger Vivier
That brings a fashion smile to mind. My advice is to wear beautiful shoes that make you stand straight and feel poised.
How can women reach you if they’re interested in something Cabi?
Women can reach me through my Cabi website >> https://pamelabaczuk.cabionline.com