Style File: Right At Home with Rolsyn “Roz” Neiman
By Matthew Hacke | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
Roslyn “Roz” Neiman has a passion for real estate, which has translated into a successful, 30-year tenure as a real estate agent for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. Neiman also has a passion for fashion, which has translated into an extensive wardrobe filled with sentimental and exquisite pieces. “I don’t get rid of anything,” she says, as she walks through her closet. The Shadyside realtor and resident describes her style as both “modern” and “eclectic,” with wardrobe staples from local boutiques on Walnut Street to items that she has picked up along her travels. Neiman says that she tends to purchase neutral clothing so that she can focus more on accessorizing. Luckily, her collection of precious stones and metals from Pittsburgh jewelry designer Graciana Fennell does just the trick. “I have what I call a ‘Graci Box,’ where I keep all of my Gardell by Graciana pieces,” she says amusingly.
When she’s not working, Neiman can be found spending time with her family and friends, many of whom have given her the wardrobe pieces that she cherishes the most. Her husband, three children, and three grandchildren are her greatest joys. Fortunately for Neiman, when she does decide to purge some of her impeccable clothing, she has granddaughters happily waiting to accept her closet staples. “My granddaughters, Olivia and Natalie, go shopping in my closet,” she says with glee. “They love the way that I dress and they dress just like me.”
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is both modern and eclectic. I mix textures and fabrics. I remember being in kindergarten and my mom would put a dress out that I was supposed to wear the next day. I’d look at it and throw it out the window. I wouldn’t wear it. I knew at that age what I wanted to look like and what I wanted to wear. When you’re a little girl, you typically want what your friends have and there were these t-strap capezio shoes that I wanted more than anything in the world. All my friends had them. My dad was the kind of person who didn’t like to buy me what everybody else had because he always thought I should be an individual. I begged and I pleaded for these shoes. Finally, he took me to the shoe store to buy me these shoes, and a new, different style of shoes had just come in. Truthfully, I ended up liking this different style more. I ended up going with the capezios because everybody else had them. The next day, my best friend came into school wearing the ones I actually liked and didn’t end up getting. That was the moment I stopped copying what everyone else wore. I just do what I want. I’m most comfortable in leather pants or leggings, great boots, silky shirts, a leather jacket, or a big cashmere sweater. That’s what I wear every day. I’m pretty neutral color-wise in my every day clothing, but my two favorite colors are pale pink and pale blue. So if I am going to wear any colors, it would be those colors. If not, it’s all black and cream. I get up in the morning and I just know what I want to wear for the day. I have my ‘Graci Box’ of jewelry from Gardell by Graciana. I open it up and pull out different pieces to wear with the neutral tones in my outfit. It’s all about accessorizing when you have a neutral clothing palette. I like looking edgy. I don’t like looking put together in an outfit.
How does your style translate into how you dress for work?
The real estate industry and the way a relator dresses has changed a lot. I distinctly remember when the first house in Pittsburgh came on the market for over $1 million. My boss, Helen Hanna, called me and said, ‘You have to come to this house right now because it’s the first house that will ever sell for over $1 million in Pittsburgh.’ I went over wearing a pink leather mini-skirt and a white, silk shirt with slouchy socks and shoes. When I got to the house, Helen took one look at me and said, ‘You’re not coming in here. Go home and change.’ This has changed significantly during the 30 years that I have been a realtor. I dress so casually now. I go to closings in ripped jeans, nice boots, and a jacket. Nobody says anything, and that’s what I am most comfortable in.
Who are your style icons?
I have one style icon and she is Marla Zimmerman Smallis of CHOICES in Shadyside. For 25 years, she’s epitomized what I like in clothes. Honestly, when I’m not shopping at CHOICES and I am in a different store, I find myself asking, ‘Would Marla wear this?’ Even though I don’t follow any specific trends, the way she puts herself together is what I admire. I try to emulate it, but sometimes I have to say to her, ‘Tell me how you did that! How did you put that outfit together?’ She’ll call me when things come into the store that she knows I’ll like or I walk in. I’ll tell her frantically, ‘I have to go to a party and I don’t know what to wear and I don’t want to spend a lot of money.’ And she’ll say to me, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.’ There’s one designer that Marla would never wear, that I happen to love and have a lot of: Mary Katrantzou. I love her pieces!
Where do you shop for your wardrobe?
I’m a little bit of an online junkie because I work so hard. It’ll be 12:30 at night and I’ve just worked all day. I’ll say to myself, ‘Why don’t we buy something, Roz?’ So, I go online and I know all of the sites to shop for the wardrobe pieces I love. I can even put in something that I really want, for example, one time I really wanted a navy blue cashmere mohair sweater. I typed that in and so many different options came up on the screen. I like shopping online because I can really judge what I am looking at. My favorite sites to shop online are NET-A-PORTER, mytheresa, and Farfetch. I don’t even go into stores except for CHOICES, Maxalto, and e.b. Pepper. Those three stores in Shadyside are my go-to stores, as well as Roberta Weissburg Leathers if I am going to buy anything leather. When I’m in New York visiting my sons, Noah and Parker, I love to just walk up and down 5th Avenue, as well as Madison Avenue, and shop. I also make sure to stop in Bergdorf Goodman and Barney’s!
Who are you favorite designers?
I love Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou, Kaufman Franco, The Row, and Alexander Wang. I went to school in Boston and I had a friend who always said to me, ‘If you have a good purse, a good belt, and good shoes, it doesn’t matter what else you wear.’ And I tell my children the same thing. You could wear a pair of Levi jeans with an Hermes belt, a T-shirt, and a great pair of Gucci loafers and you’re set!
What item in your closet do you have the most of?
I have tons of shoes, primarily boots. I have at least 150 pairs of shoes. If it’s in style, I keep it. I don’t like to dress trendy in the sense that it’s what everybody else is wearing this year. I am very secure in how I feel about what I wear. I’m really comfortable with what I put on.
What are your tips for clients in terms of decorating, shopping for, and buying houses?
The one thing that I tell all of my clients, buyers, and even myself when I’m looking at things, is to not drive yourself crazy. Just go with it. If it feels good, it’s good. I have a friend who goes into stores and for two hours, she’ll look at the same three sweaters. I do that in two minutes. I know what I want. I don’t like shopping per se. I like having things. To homeowners, I tell them not to overthink it and just fall in love. If you don’t feel it in your heart, you’re going to overthink it in your head. You’re then more likely to make a mistake. I also tell my homeowners to not decorate or do major renovations as soon as you move in. Live in the house for a little bit because you’ll find that you’re going to live in it differently. I was originally going to make my kitchen bigger, but my girlfriend told me to turn the extra space into an office. I’m glad I listened to her because I work more than I cook!
A FEW OF HER FAVORITE THINGS:
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, 5501 Baum Blvd, Shadyside. 412.361.5000. howardhanna.com.