By Keri Foy

Women whose jobs fall on the creative side tend to let the left brain influence their weekday style. Susan Zehnder, chief development officer at Huber Decor, chooses to display her originality while staying classy.

She doesn’t wear khaki pants or pantyhose. In fact, the office of Huber Decor has a longstanding joke about the dress code — just about anything flies except pantyhose. “I’ve single-handedly done away with the pantyhose industry,” Susan jokes.

Susan, along with Nancy Rankin, is part owner of a suite of businesses under the Huber Decor brand, including Idea Source, Essential Details, and Blooms Boutique. Her role largely revolves around developing new business along with project management of big clients such as Texas Roadhouse and Longhorn Steakhouse. Huber Decor helps restaurants choose their decor and supplies the artwork, artificial plants, and artifacts.

While the office attire at Huber Decor is even more casual than business casual (sweatpants are allowed on days with no client meetings), Susan holds herself to a higher style standard but skips the formality of suits. “Suits are super stuffy, and I feel masculine when I wear them,” Susan says. “Our company is more artsy, so we don’t have to be traditional about the way we dress.”

After years spent in corporate America wearing suits and pantyhose, Susan is now drawn to dresses, skirts, pants, and blouses. Her favorite wardrobe staples are denim jackets from Cabi, J. Jill and Eileen Fisher; denim pencil skirts from Talbots and Ralph Lauren, J. Crew high-rise skinny jeans, and a leather Brighton peace sign belt. “I wear jean jackets with dresses and skirts constantly, but I never wear them with a jean skirt,” Susan says. She finds she often pairs the belt with the skinny jeans.

“I want to be comfortable and confident, first and foremost,” Susan says. “I like being able to leave in the morning, and if I run into a client during the day, I don’t feel like I’ve been caught. I could go anywhere and everywhere with how I look.”

About her clothes
Susan prefers loose-fitting clothing. “I don’t like to feel ‘sausaged’ into anything,” she says. She’s tall and takes her height into account when she’s buying pants, dresses, and skirts.

Susan’s wardrobe features lots of black. Once, when she and her son walked into a department store, he saw a wall full of black clothing and exclaimed, “Mom, there’s your section!” Her affinity for black made such an impression on her kids, the same son drew her in all black in a family picture, which she now has framed.

Susan loves open-toed shoes and will wear sandals up until the first snow of the year. During the winter she wears mostly boots. “By far, the best secret on shoe deals is the Dillard’s end-of-year clearance sale and Von Maur’s clearance room,” Susan says. “There are great deals to be found in both places.”

Susan opts for fun, comfortable outfits with a nice pair of sandals. Photos by Sunni Wigginton 

Susan loves to shop and never goes out just to buy one thing. She likes to browse for sales. She of course loves to shop at Blooms, a boutique she co-owns, but she also makes her rounds to Dillard’s, Von Maur, and Sassy Fox Consignment for her Eileen Fisher fix, and Anthropologie for its sale rack.

About her hair and makeup
Susan’s thick hair doesn’t take a lot of styling, but she does have her favorite styling product — Moroccan Oil. It helps keep her shoulder-length mane from getting bulky. “I use a lot of it, and I use it religiously,” Susan says. “It’s a great way to tame it down and keep it healthy. It’s changed my life.” She also washes it the night before to help control the “fuzz” and styles it into beachy waves in the morning using a flat iron.

Every night, Susan rubs coconut oil onto her face and skin, then uses a damp washcloth to remove the excess before using a prescription Retinol A cream. “I also use castor oil on my eyelashes and eyebrows,” Susan says. “It really has nourished them, and I’m seeing results with length and fullness.”

To start the makeup process in the morning, she primes her skin with Trader Joe’s Nourish Antioxidant facial serum. For makeup, she’s loving Revlon’s Fantasy Brow, Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up for eyeshadow, and MAC lipsticks in Pickled Plum for meetings and Midi Mauve for everyday wear.