Growing up with seven brothers, and being the only girl, Doreen Hughes came by her tomboy style naturally. She was very skinny — her brothers called her “chicken legs” — played in the dirt, rode her bike and didn’t have much of a fashion sense until later in life.
Hughes, an island resident, is the owner of Mainland Testing & Wellness in Texas City and leads a very busy life, opting for a casual wardrobe, preferring clothes that flatter her body type.
“I like clean silhouettes with lines that highlight my body, while hiding the flaws,” she said. “My motto is: ‘Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.’”
As a business owner, Hughes doesn’t like to shop big-box stores and prefers locally owned, small boutiques.
“I think it’s very important to support local businesses,” she said. “It gives me an opportunity to meet other business owners, so I get most of my clothing from places like Treasure Trove in Galveston, Sydney’s Boutique in Texas City, and Four Seasons in Dickinson, to name a few.”
Before opening her own business, Hughes worked for Dell Computers and wore suits every day. But that’s all changed.
She loves dresses and jeans — Levi’s being her favorite.
“They’re comfortable, well cut and are a great mainstay since they’ve been around for over 100 years,” she said.
What colors do you like to wear? Black and red. Red is the new black.
When shopping for dresses, what do you look for? Ones that fit my body type. I have a mix of casual and semiformal ones, but a fave is my black, vintage-inspired swing dress with fringe that I bought at Four Seasons. I also like dresses by Cartise that I get at Treasure Trove. For vacation dresses, I look for silky, flowing things that pack well.
Describe a fun dress you have in your closet. My yellow “Carmen Miranda” dress. It’s bright yellow with tiered ruffles, mid-calf (by Isle) that I got at Sydney’s.
What skirts and tops do you like to wear? My black pencil skirt, black tube skirt by Last Tango, and a dusty pink symmetrical skirt. Tops include a red tunic-length that zips up the back, a brown/white zebra print with bling by Clara Sunwoo, and my off-the-shoulder peach/black zigzag print with wide sleeves. Dressier ones include one in red with eye-catching tassels and a black, shiny disco top.
What other jeans and pants are in your closet? Miss Me jeans and a flared-leg pair by l.e.i. I really like my black leather pants by Caché because of the great stitching on the waistband.
Describe your shoe wardrobe. I don’t look for brands. I go for comfort and almost all my shoes — a mix of heels, sandals and wedges — are open toe, strappy and I have them in all colors. I really like boots and most of mine are black. One outstanding pair is a spiked-heel, side-zipped black leather with tiger print accent. When running, I prefer Nike or Saucony.
Where do you shop for handbags and accessories? I like to get my purses at Tina’s On The Strand. Right now, my fave purse is my black Kate Spade but when I travel, I take my Big Buddha. As for accessories, I like scarves and belts. The belt I like most is a clear plastic one I got for $2 at the Salvation Army. I have a stunning abalone pendant necklace with matching earrings I bought at Karat Creations in Texas City, but I don’t wear a lot of jewelry at one time. My two favorite jewelry items are earrings and bracelets.
Who is the fashion icon you admire? Audrey Hepburn, because her style was very clean and classic.
What coat will you be wearing this winter? My Nine West gray wool with envelope collar.
Dresses: 30 plus
Skirts: 20 plus
Tops: 50 plus
Jeans: 25 pairs
Boots: 12 pairs
Shoes: 50 pairs
Belts: 2 dozen
Earrings: 45 pairs
How she stays in shape: Runs three to four times a week, walks, rides her bike.
An item she won’t leave home without: Lip gloss.
An item she cannot part with: Her mother’s 18-karat gold earrings.
Hughes’ closets are minus several items these days because she’s donating a generous selection from her wardrobe, including slacks, blouses, dresses, skirts, suits and jackets, for women who are re-entering the work force or going to work for the first time.