Growing up in Iran, Mojie Baharlou learned to appreciate fashion at a young age. Specialty stores would call her mother to give her first choice of their newest items, and Baharlou savored watching her choose her favorites. "I always loved to shop with her," said Baharlou, 46. "Her passion she kind of passed it on to me, I guess."
But when Baharlou was 14, a civil war erupted. Fearing for their family's safety, Baharlou's parents brought their two daughters to America and left them in the care of business associates. They returned to Iran for work, expecting to rejoin Mojie and Vida six months later.
It would be six years before they were able to return.
The sisters, meanwhile, had learned to fend for themselves. They graduated from high school and were attending Seattle Pacific University before being reunited with their family.
Still, Baharlou appreciates the lessons she learned. "I would not change one thing," she said. "Even though I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth, and I went from that high to that low I am very strong for that reason."
Now, both Baharlou and her sister, Vida Farwana, work for Saks Fifth Avenue at Polaris Fashion Place. Vida manages the jewelry department, while Mojie serves as Chanel handbag specialist and a personal shopper. Mojie lives in New Albany with her husband, Abdy, and daughters Ava, 15, and Maya, 12.
"This is the best I've ever felt," she said. "I love what I do. I have a wonderful family. I have wonderful friends. And for me, that's really full-circle."On her best fashion advice:
You have to have one perfect little black dress, one great pair of jeans, one nice button-down white shirt. To wrap an accessory around your neck just adds so much more. I think keeping it classic, elegant and sophisticated, you never go out of style.On the importance of dressing well:
It says a lot about our personalities. When I pass people, it's like scenery. You enjoy looking at beautiful scenery. I love to admire people's beauty.On her outdoor look last summer, when taking 20 kids camping:
I did not have clothes for Hocking Hills. I had to put on a pair of jeans with a T-shirt and flip flops. Even the kids were like, "This is not how you dress for Hocking Hills!" And I'm like, "I know, I know!" I don't even have sweatpants in my closet!
Kristy Eckert is editor of Capital Style.