Duchess Clothier is a tiny enterprise seated in the small urban paradise of Portland, Oregon. Founded as a one-person operation in 2005, Duchess has grown into a thriving business that provides its employees with fulfilling work lives and its customers with the thrill of high quality custom suits and separates as well as excellent, impassioned, and insightful service.
What Makes Duchess Different?
Communication is our secret to success. Our approach has always been to sit with the client and listen to their preferences, observe their personal style, and ask the right questions. The advantage we have is that most retailers view apparel as either masculine or feminine, rather than appreciating the subtle nuances that exist within and between these two ends of the gender binary. Our mission is to ensure that each client – from those who walk in not knowing what they want to those with particular taste and needs – feels comfortable, confident, and celebrated throughout the entire process.
Each individual has a unique style, and our designs are simply a starting point for a larger conversation with the client. Every detail will be lovingly and painstakingly gone over during the consultation process, including the choice of fabric, stylistic details, fit preferences, and body measurements.
What We Believe
The suit has remained virtually unchanged for two hundred years, and for good reason. A well made, properly fitting suit is comfortable, attractive, and commanding. When a person dons a suit that is made specifically and especially for them, they experience a higher sense of self-esteem, dapperness, dash, and pride that is generally lacking in our present era of casualness.
Duchess Clothier finds the concept of people in suits rather exciting and is here to help every person find and embrace their best look. Today, there is more flexibility in how a person chooses to dress and express themselves - and that sometimes runs contrary to society's expectations. Duchess strives to provide the stylish human with whatever type of clothing suits their fancy and best expresses their authentic self.
Meet Our Team!
Sienna Burnett is a queer femme performance artist and advocate for fashion free of gender essentialism. She holds a degree in Acting from the University of Northern Colorado and has performed Spoken Word Poetry across the country. Her work has been featured on Button Poetry, BuzzFeed, and Write About Now. She believes in personal style as a powerful tool for intentional living, and finds immense joy in supporting folks in their Duchess Clothier experience. Sienna enjoys CrossFit, dressing up in drag, and thinks dogs are the master comedians of life.
Head of Alterations // Designer
At any given moment, Erin is likely thinking about a piece of clothing. How was it constructed? What does the fabric feel like? What mood or era does it evoke? Her passion for apparel became a career path when she started the Apparel Design certificate program at the Portland Fashion Institute. Altering garments at Portland's finest clothier is a dream come true for Erin. She hopes to continue this line of work for many years to come. If you know Erin, you know that she hates spiders! You might not know that one of her favorite types of duck is the Common Merganser--alias, "Goosander"--because of its crazy hairdo and its tendency to make like a submarine.
Consultant // Designer
Baili's career in clothing started at four years old when she crafted a dress made of towels stapled together. When she outgrew her stapler, she ventured off to Oregon State University where she graduated with degrees in both Apparel Design and Merchandising Management. Her dream was to find a way she could combine her love of fashion with social justice and body empowerment, which led her to Duchess. There is no cookie she can't bake, and has been known to use her books as a ladder when decorating her apartment.
General Manager // Consultant // Designer
Katie opened her first business, Étoile, in 2007, championing local/independent designers and artists, along with showcasing her handmade clothing line. In addition to owning and operating a small business, she has worked extensively in art education, apparel/soft goods production, manufacturing, and design. In her role at Duchess, Katie is happiest when working with clients to create their dream suits, designing new garments and maintaining the flow. She feels incredibly lucky to get to work with such a wonderful team, and to make folx feel seen, confident, valued and beautiful. She is particularly partial to Donegal tweeds, soft pretzels, true crime, horror movies and pugs.
Photos: (the amazing) Sara Simpson
Duchess Department of Blep
Fizio Peanut Baby
Seyta Selter, Founding Duchess
The founding Duchess was born in a forest of evergreens at twilight in Washington state. Duchess began as a vintage reproduction shop for the people of Portland, but metamorphosized when Seyta wished more people would wear dapper suits. If Duchess then, is a dream made real, it was dreamed a long time ago by a young, feisty Leo with a penchant for subtle brilliance and an abiding connection to nature. Seyta will always be present with the Duchess dream, but her focus is on her private practice in depth psychology and ancestral healing. (Innerlands.org)