Downtown boutique Jeffrey caters to the Über-stylish shopper and relies on even more style-savvy folks to help them pick things out. Enter Raul Becerra Jr., personal shopper. Becerra landed in New York a couple of years ago when, he says, "fate and destiny" put him at Jeffrey. With a background in women's ready-to-wear in San Francisco and having worked in production and textile, personal shopping sounded like the perfect fit. Now he styles celebrities and socialites, finding the ideal outfit for that red-carpet moment (or just a night out). When we got him on the phone for an interview, he was jetting off to L.A. for a weekend. "I miss NY fashion already!!!!!" he wrote from his BlackBerry during a layover in Colorado. After the jump find out what he loves this season, what he's so over, and who he thinks could really use a makeover.
What do you actually do at Jeffrey?
I have fun at Jeffrey’s, really! I’m in sales, but really I’m a personal shopper in the ladies' ready-to-wear department. I have my girls, and I get to pick out looks from the runways for them. I really wardrobe them from season to season. It goes from day-to-day to cocktails — it’s just a whole range of things that they need to be dressed for. I do shoes, clothes, accessories — everything.
Who are your clients?
They vary. They can go from celebrities to socialites. They’re very interesting. They live very exciting lifestyles.
Can you name-drop?
Do you ever have clients that you have to push into trying what you've picked out for them?
You know, absolutely. I think there are times I need to sit down and discuss why or why not I lean for a certain piece for them to wear to a certain event. I’m not going to force them to wear something that they’re uncomfortable with. But if we need to have a conversation to encourage them to push their limits, I’m definitely not afraid to do that. Maybe they're afraid to be fashion-forward, or it could be something that they feel is too revealing. I try to help them step out of their box.
Is there anyone you think could really use a Raul makeover?
Ivanka Trump. I just want to tear her apart. She’s tacky. She needs something a little more age-appropriate — something more romantic, like Nina Ricci.
What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
Every woman should have a pencil skirt from L'Wren Scott! Seriously, every woman should have great basics that will take her from day to evening, such as a hot pencil skirt, underpinnings with a crop blazer, a black cocktail dress, hot pair of black and dark-blue jeans, a sexy pump as high as you can go, and comfortable flats.
What trend do you love this season?
I’m going to say the shorter trend this season. I’m all about it. A skirt can never be too short if you ask me. It took my clients a little bit to get used to. Also the loud flower motifs from Balenciaga or Dries Van Noten. And the bright colors — the pinks, the yellows.
Speaking of which, you're also known for your killer eyewear.
I began wearing eyewear when I was a kid because of Morrissey's influence. Actually I didn't need them then, but I stole my cousin’s eyeglasses and wore them at school every day so I now have to wear glasses every day because of that. So it started with my fantasy of Morrissey — so it’s sort of like shoes for me. It’s a way for me to sort of take on a new look every day.
So you build outfits around glasses?
Oh yeah, always.
How many pairs do you own?
Forty. The first thing I think about when I wake up is which pair I’m going to wear that day. I wear one at work and one after work for evening.
Are you a big vintage shopper?
I used to be. When I was in San Francisco, I wore a lot of vintage. I find vintage in New York is overpriced. But as far as eyewear and accessories absolutely — I'm all about it.
Why do you think it’s overpriced here?
In San Francisco there are secondhand store that aren’t really charging. You can go somewhere in New York and see stuff that would be like $200. But you can find things in San Francisco that’s like $2, $5, $10. But I certainly go shop at Amarcord here.
What’s selling really well in Jeffrey?
Balenciaga, L'Wren Scott. No particular piece comes into mind. For L'Wren Scott of course the tight, short dresses. From Balenciaga the Monet pieces really did well. And Balmain, of course — the boho-chic dresses.
Do you like the tight-pants trend for men?
I’m into it. That’s all I wear. It’s not for everyone, but definitely for me.
What trends do you wish would go away?
Top-Siders and wayfarers.
What's your advice for shoppers on a budget?
Shop around. It’s out there. Hit the sample sales and cheap vintage stores.
Girdles and makeup for men are also proliferating. Are men about to be the new women?
No. I’m hoping not.
What fashion object are you lusting over right now?
I'm lusting over a pair of creepers!
What in your wardrobe can't you live without?
My 88 by Anna Sheffield necklace.