Casual Queen: Lisa Gloninger
By Liz Petoniak | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
“Anyone who stays in any business for 20 years has to feel pretty good about themselves, about what they’re doing, and about their customers,” says Lisa Gloninger, owner of Cajoli boutique, with a big smile. “Believe me, I am very thankful for my customers.” As the 20-year anniversary of her shop approaches, September 29-October 1, you can see that she’s feeling good. “I probably have at least 100 of my original customers [from when I opened my first location in Aspinwall] who still come in on a regular basis. Dressing everybody is fun. Especially when someone says, ‘you’ve been dressing me for 15 or 20 years now, and I wouldn’t know how to put it all together if it wasn’t for you.’”
“Cajoli girls,” as they’re called, have flocked to Gloninger over the years to shop part of her own casual, fun, chic style — lines like Hudson Jeans, Hard Tail, Rails, Gorjana, Streets Ahead, Johnny Was, Fresh Laundry, Monrow, Margaret O’Leary, and Nicole Miller fill the racks — as well as her wide selection of formal wear. “The store has definitely followed whatever I was going through in my life. When I was pregnant, luckily babydoll dresses were in!” she says. “My customers like my style, but I do carry a lot of things that I wouldn’t necessarily wear.” Her personal style transformation aside, one of the most exciting evolutions she’s witnessed over the years is seeing Pittsburgh finally catch up in the world of fashion. “Things that were ‘in’ people just balked at here, and then two years later they would think it was the coolest thing ever. That has changed,” she explains. “Pittsburgh is a really cool place to live now, between the music, restaurant, and going-out scene, so people want to have cool clothes to go out, feel good, and be noticed. Hopefully I’m contributing to that.” With time as the ultimate testament, we’d say that she certainly is. Cajoli, Hartwood Towne Centre, 3392 Saxonburg Blvd., Fox Chapel/ Allison Park. 412.767.5505. cajoliboutique.com.
Q & A
How would you describe your personal style?
Lisa Gloninger: “Blue jeans, blue jeans, blue jeans! Really, I’m all about jeans, and they can be any color. I’ll add a great boot, the coolest top — whether it’s a blouse, a sweater, off-the-shoulder, or a great tee — a conch belt, and some great jewelry. I’m very casual and I like the bohemian style. I like to be comfortable, but I do want to look good. If I’m going to get into a party dress, I’m not glitz or sequins. I do like color, but my favorite dress is black, sleeveless, with a keyhole neckline. I just like to keep it simple.”
Where are your favorite places to shop?
LG: “When I want to go shopping, I go shoe shopping. Footloose is a great local shoe store. And, I’m very into tennis, I play paddle, and I hike. I work out every day, so I’m always in casual clothes, and I like to go to DICK’S [Sporting Goods] to shop for Nike and Under Armour. But to be honest, I’m not a big shopper [laughs]. That’s why I have a store! It’s very convenient. I have more clothes in my closet than I have at the store — I love clothes. But when I go on vacation, the last thing I want to do is go roaming in and out of stores. I’d prefer to play tennis, go boating, or sit at a cafe, have a drink, and people watch. Having said that, I’ve spent a lot of time in Colorado because I have family and friends there, and there are two stores that I will always go in and purchase a couple things from. Other than that, I get everything from my store.”
Who are your style icons?
LG: “Not only do I like the way that she dresses, but occasionally my look has been compared to Jennifer Aniston’s. She does wear that little black dress. She will throw on the bohemian top, or a white or black T-shirt with a cute pair of jeans or jean shorts, which are my staples in the summer. I like the way Kate Hudson dresses. And, believe it or not, Helen Mirren. She always looks fantastic. Tamron Hall from NBC’s TODAY show. My style isn’t that structured, but, she looks gorgeous every single day. I love her outfits.”