Tonia settled into her chair, fixing a cup of tea, an armful of bangles jingling with each movement. In honor of our birthday, we invited Tonia, a lifelong customer and friend of Bliss, to tea with the hopes of learning and sharing her perspective on style. With the sun beaming in through the tea room, we got to hear her story from the very beginning.
Long before Bliss Boutiques opened, a young girl in New York had a party to attend, so her mother brought her to a local store with the hopes of purchasing a pair of plain, functional shoes. Young Tonia had a different plan: she spotted a pair of patent leather shoes, and her mind was made. After much persuasion, Tonia succeeded, the shoes were hers, and a lifelong passion for style and individuality was born. She laughed telling us, "Mother said I slept with them under my pillow!".
From that moment forward, fashion played a key role in Tonia's life. At age eleven, Tonia's family moved to Italy. While her mother brought Chanel patterns to the dressmaker, Tonia carefully selected her own fabric, and designed unique patterns for the dressmaker to follow.
It's no surprise that later in life when Tonia, along with her husband and family, moved to Maine she became familiar with Portland's Exchange Street, home to a handful of women's boutiques. She managed one of these boutiques, and when Angie bought and transformed it into Bliss Boutiques, Tonia stayed on as manager, and became a part of our Bliss family. Tonia told us the transformation was flawless, and that she quickly fell in love with the new products Angie brought into the Old Port, especially denim.
As Tonia shared these stories, we couldn't help but love how important her style is to her. Wearing clothing isn't a chore to Tonia; it's an opportunity to feel and present the best version of yourself. A patterned scarf transforms a gray day. The perfect pair of denim makes you feel strong and beautiful. That black dress you feel so beautiful in is a loyal friend to turn to in a rush. "Dress for yourself no matter what. Who cares if no one is going to see you, you're going to see you, aren't you?" At the end of our visit with Tonia, we asked her a few questions we thought you'd like the answer to:
How do you describe your style?
"Someone once described my style as very unique, and I loved that! It really depends on who you are each day, you're never the same person from day to day!"
What are three items you can't live without?
"Jeans, (J Brand fit me nicely)... I don't know, I just love all my clothes! I feel so sorry for people who wear clothes just to cover their body! In a way, clothes are like family, you have to know how they make you feel."
What should every woman have in her closet?
"Jeans, sweaters, scarves, CP Shades... Even during the summer, you always need something like a sweater coat at night. You really need to have pieces for every occasion. If someone calls at 5pm asking to meet for dinner at 5:30pm, you should feel confident in your options!"
What are your Bliss-favorites?
"My MIH waffle sweater, my new Destin scarf, (all my scarves, really!), jeans, little river socks, maybe even my Tylho blouse. There really wasn't anywhere to buy jeans in Portland before Bliss opened."
What keeps you coming back to Bliss?
"The help! I come in looking for new jeans, and within minutes, Kim and Althea have me in pairs I love! Michelle remembers jeans I got six years ago. I love that."
Thank you, Tonia, for sharing with us, and always inspiring us to put our best, and most stylish foot forward! We can't wait to share another year of Bliss Boutiques with you.