Online only, but certainly not out of style

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After more than 40 years in Southbridge Mall, Things You Like owner transitions to web-only resort-wear business

By Jane Bartnett

Things You Like, the longstanding Siesta Key women’s resort wear boutique in Southbridge Mall, has become an online store.
Shoppers visiting the website will still find their favorite LuLu-B and Look Mode USA items, as well as other standard clothing lines.
For more than four decades, Diane Suczewski welcomed shoppers. She began the business in 1979 after moving to the Siesta Key area from the New Jersey shore town of Bricktown. When she made the decision to move her shop online, Dave and Denise Havill of Anna’s Deli agreed to take over the space, allowing them to make a sizable expansion.
“We will miss our friend Diane,” said Dave Havill. “We’ll certainly tell everyone that Things You Like is now online.”
Suczewski said that she misses being able to interact with her customers face to face and to guide them in their purchases, but encourages her customers to call her and discuss any questions about fit and style over the phone as they shop online.
Every All Things You Like purchase ships for free.
“For so many women who drove from Lakewood Ranch and all over Sarasota to see us, shopping online with free shipping will be much easier for them,” she said. “My customer is the woman who either lives here in Siesta Key and Sarasota or loves to visit here. I have so many loyal customers who’ve been coming to my store for over 40 years.”
When Suczewski began Things You Like, she purchased it from the previous owners who had opened the Siesta Key store but only kept it for a few months before discovering that retail was not the right business for them. They had been featuring junior fashion styles geared to young women and teens. Suczewski revised the shop’s offerings to focus on resort wear for women who lived locally, and for snowbirds and vacationers.
Looking back over the past decades, Suczewski said that she has certainly seen many changes and looks that are reflected in the resort wear that her customers love.
For example, in the 1980s capri pants become very popular.
“Walking shorts also came into style,” she recalled. The look was shorts and a matching suit jacket, recalling the popular TV show Murphy Brown.
“Capris still sell like crazy,” she notes.

Diane Suczewski as seen on her last day at her Southbridge Mall store. Her longtime business is now in an online-only form. (submitted image)

The 1990s ushered in a wider, straight-leg pant as well as bell bottoms. “Shoulder pads were a must,” said Suczewski, “and tops were oversized.”
Although the dawn of the new decade brought in low-rise pants, the trend was not the right look for Things You Like customers and Suczewski didn’t carry those items, she said.
In the decade of 2010, scarves, shawls and ponchos were “huge,” she added.
Looking back at the strength of the accessory that women embraced, she noted that “between 2015 and 2020, we sold thousands of scarves.”
Today’s women’s resort look, she says, calls for brightly colored oranges, blues, pinks and yellows. Quiet shades of beige, tan and gray are out.
“This fall, we’re looking at colors that are not quite as bright. Orange, violet, green and orange-red as well as gold-yellow and teal and olive are being shown. It’s a bit more muted,” Suczewski advised.
Looking ahead to the holiday season, as well as spring and summer, she says that resort clothes will be rich jewel tones.
As for other popular contemporary looks, Suczewski notes that the “Cold shoulder look is still being shown.” She added that customers embrace the casual LuLu-B casual line that she carries.
When it comes to a dressier look, she advises that “The addition of ruffles on a print dress does not necessarily make it dressy.”
Color, print and fabric determine how dressy something looks, she added.
She also reports that maxi dresses are back in style and she will carry them in the winter. “Long dresses can also be very casual,” she said.
She’ll soon be adding the Ethyl line to the site from the True Blue Clothing Company. “They have the best-fitting denims and other bottoms,” Suczewski said.
Looking ahead, Things You Like customers can look forward to seeing more colorful, casual easy-fitting clothing for which the store is known.
After attending the September fashion shows in West Palm Beach, Suczewski will add to her online offerings.
“For the coming season, I hope to add the perfect handbag and the perfect accessories,” she said.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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