Wetzel is one of those women who just radiates a stylish
confidence. From her close-cropped silver hair to her
always-impeccable outfit and carefully selected
accessories, Wetzel brings to mind the chicness of Meryl
Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,”
but with a distinctly Midwestern warmth.
boutiques in Mequon and Brookfield, both aptly named Faye’s, are go-to
shopping destinations for well-dressed women in metro Milwaukee and
beyond. With 27 years in the fashion business, Wetzel shares her
sartorial secrets with MKE Lifestyle.
How did you get
started in the fashion business?
worked in the advertising agency world for 20 years. I was in the
account service end of the business. I decided if I was going to work
that hard, I was going to do it for myself. I did a marketing plan for
myself on what I thought I could be good at and what the market needed.
What came out of that was a women’s clothing store and a health club.
The women’s clothing store took less capital than the health club and
there you go! I opened the first Faye’s in Mequon in 1991.
Did you grow up
was born and raised in North Dakota, and I lived in Minnesota. I’ve been
in Milwaukee since 1983. I was not this person who was extremely
interested in fashion, nor did I think I would have a clothing store. My
real passion is the business of the business. I like the back of the
house; I like to know what makes things work. Am I glad now that I’m in
this business? Absolutely. It keeps me young and it’s fun. It’s 90
percent not glamorous. But that 10 percent that’s glamorous is
What excites you most
Helping women with their self-esteem. Very shortly after opening the
doors, I realized I was not in the clothing business, I was in the
self-esteem biz. We have some women - a small part of our customer base
- that are high-powered career women. Some of these women would not make
a move without us. They say, “I want to look fabulous. What should I
do?” Clothes are our armor. If we’re ‘well suited,’ it’s half the
You have stores in
Mequon and Brookfield. Do you see differences in how women approach
fashion in these two parts of the city?
There’s a huge difference. It’s like Mequon is New York and Brookfield
is Los Angeles. Brookfield is a little younger, a little sexier. Mequon
is a little more sophisticated.
What would you like
women in Milwaukee to keep in mind when it comes to fashion and
Milwaukee has a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, because we live in
the shadow of Chicago. But we at Faye’s absolutely do our homework. Here
in Milwaukee we have a selection that is every bit as good as Chicago.
What advice would you
give all women who want to look their best when they leave the house?
If you think you look good, you do. You can have $10,000 worth of
clothes or jewelry on your body, and if you feel insecure, it’s gonna
show. You can have a $29 necklace and a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and
if you think you’re all that, you probably are.
Visit Faye’s: Locations in East Towne Square Mall and Galleria West
Shopping Center, (262) 241-8386 or (262) 432-0070,