Hilary of Dean Street Society in Downtown Brooklyn


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Hilary Rushford, founder of Dean Street Society. We dare you not to smile back.

Hilary Rushford is a bright and shiny gal based in Brooklyn—Boerum Hill to be exact. Finding inspiration from her location, her company, Dean Street Society helps the stylishly-challenged and the cluttered masses. Check out her Krrb corner and read on to hear directly from Hilary who will inspire you to appreciate your own neighborhood’s finds and have fun in your closet.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a musical theatre performer who was blessed to work with Rockette & Broadway companies, I nonetheless lived on a starving artist budget most of my time in NYC. Yet I managed to garner the compliments & advice inquires of my friends on fashion, until they convinced me to start my own business as a personal stylist & found Dean Street Society.

Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I’m a Cali girl, born & raised near Mailbu, who’s called NYC home for 8 years, & Boerum Hill Brooklyn home for 2 1/2 years.

What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
The streets of Boerum Hill are so charming. Each time I walk a new friend around the neighborhood I’m happy to stop as they swoon over the brownstones & peek in the windows at night. The bars & cafes – Building on Bond, Rucola, Alchemy, Ted & Honey – appropriately make you want to sit for hours over a leisurely brunch, glass of wine, or get inspired with your laptop.

What are your favorite place you go locally to discover hidden treasures. 
I refer to Film Biz Prop Shop as “Super Secret Special Place” because I’ve found so many gems there! The first time I walked in I literally had tears in my eyes I couldn’t believe all the unexpected pieces.

My favorite finds from the Brooklyn Flea are $2 keys & monogrammed charms I’ve turned into necklaces.

We love to throw theme costume parties here at my home on Dean Street & the Salvation Army on Atlantic Avenue is where you can get a brilliant option for $10.

What blogs or websites do you visit regularly?
Entrepreneurial Guru: DanielleLaporte.com
Inspirational Butt-Kicking: MTH2012.tumblr.com
Smart + Hilarious Fellow Brooklynites: EveryoneIsGay.com
Menswear + Wittiness from a Fellow Brooklynite: MrDanger.tumblr.com
Non-Guilty Pleasure: SurisBurnBook.tumblr.com

Dressed and we're impressed.

Dressed and we're impressed.

As a kid, were any of your toys and clothes hand-me-downs? Stories please!
As the first child/grandchild my only “hand me downs” were the now vintage pieces that belong to my mother. My favorite are still her Barbies from the 50’s, especially the brunette (naturally) who was a stewardess with a big ponytail & cat eyeglasses. Even then I knew she was chic.

Today, how often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? What is your modus operandi? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
My friends & I have been known to make a whole day trip out of going to a few choice resale shops out on Long Island. But on a more regular basis my favorite are the stoop sales you stumble upon on a weekend when you’re not expecting it. We hosted our first in February & loved meeting our neighbors, so we’re planning another for the spring.

Patterns layered on patterns.

Patterns layered on patterns.

Have you ever taken home an object you found in the street or dumpster? If so, what was it? And where is it now?
Yessss. And bragged about it often! So far in our apartment we have a brown trunk, blue end table, green chair, 2 window frames, a front door (used as wall décor), a bar cart, & a red chair that came with us to dinner at Lobo & a movie at Cobble Hill Cinema. Street merch is my favorite way to decorate & I love how many stories we have around our pieces!

Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
A minimalist. Absolutely. After 5 apartments in 6 years, with each move you want to pack & un-pack less & less. And for me physical clutter leads to mental clutter. I’m always encouraging my clients to clear the clutter of their closets. It’s said we wear 20% of what we own 80% of the time, which I find to be very true without intentional effort. I find getting rid of what you don’t actually use gives you more room to breathe & create, even if that’s just being creative with the outfit you put on in the morning.

What is your most cherished thrifted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
I have my grandmother’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, my aunt’s “Alice in Wonderland” & “Little Women”, & a 100 year old copy of “Alice in Wonderland” my dad bought me as a Christmas present. I think there’s nothing so charming as an old book. Along with my MacBook, they’re the first thing I’d save in a fire.

Do you create/make things? What are you working on these days? By the way, what’s your day job?
I am so not crafty or a DIY girl! At all! I wish I were. And that I could sew. But alas. The only time I get inspired is doing the décor for our theme costume parties. My passion for hosting brings it out in me a few times a year.

So while you won’t find any of that on my style blog, you’ll hopefully find style inspiration from what I wear, practical advice from my videos, perspective from my articles, & a sense of my community here in Brooklyn. And when I’m not blogging & writing, I’m working with my styling clients: “real people with real budgets” – moms going back to work, lawyers who want a promotion, musicians doing a photo shoot. I help them make better use of what they already own, identify the holes in their wardrobe, & make a wish list to spend smarter when they shop. Less clutter + cash flow; more simplicity + authenticity.

Thanks Hilary!

The Short List

Danielle Laporte
Making Things Happen
Everyone is Gay
Mr. Danger
Oh, Hello Friend
Happiness Is
Suri’s Burn Book

Film Biz Recycling
Brooklyn Flea
Salvation Army, 436 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY

Find Hilary
Dean Street Society
Hilary on Twitter
Hilary on Facebook


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