CLOSET CRUSH: Emily Rolewicz

People Style

March 31, 2021



by Whitley Adkins | photographs by Amy Kolo

Real-estate developer Emily Rolewicz appreciates nice things, but she admits she’s thrifty, too. “I am very conscious about [spending]. I always say to my husband or kids, we didn’t get to where we are by spending all of our money stupidly.” Rolewicz, who grew up on a farm near Winston-Salem and went to college at Virginia Tech, and her husband, Jamie, own Cornelius-based JMR Construction. While commercial development is the bread and butter of their business, Rolewicz says she also enjoys custom residential development, which includes a recent 15,000-square-foot house, as well as her own lakefront home.

In her closet, Rolewicz worked with Charlotte-based Closet & Storage Concepts to design the cabinetry. “I knew I wanted an island of some sort, but because the closet wasn’t deep enough for a true walk-around island, we came up with a peninsula.” 

The mother of two has a couple of rules when it comes to shopping: “Number one, I have to love it, and number two, I also make sure I get a deal on it. I buy things that I’ll wear for years to come. Especially anything high-end or classic, I search eBay or Poshmark, because if it’s only been worn once, what do I care?”

Comments have been edited for length and clarity.

How do you describe your personal style?  

Maybe a little country, a little rock ’n roll. I’m very much a tomboy, but then I also realize my body is very womanly — so even though I’m a tomboy, I want to show that off.

Rolewicz picks her jeans for the day by the pockets, so her mother-in-law came up with this clever system for hanging them, below. “Additionally, you can put boots and hats below it, which makes the space more usable.”

Do you have a uniform?  

All summer I rock a midi skirt, Golden Goose [sneakers] and a T-shirt. And in the winter, jeans and a sweater, or maybe camo pants, a sweater and jean jacket. Also, I love overalls — I carry a tape measure [and other items] for work, so I love pockets. I’ve tried to wear boots, but I walk like 70 flights of stairs a day.  

What do you wear for date night?

Date nights are my time to be creative. Sometimes I wear jeans, but most of the time I wear a dress or maybe a skirt. My husband hates rompers, but I love them. In the winter, I always wear a heeled boot. In the summer, always a heel — sometimes a wedge, but always with a heel.

Go-to shopping sites:
eBay, Poshmark and Tradesy. The majority of my Golden Goose [shoes] are second hand. I mean they’re dirty when you buy them in the first place!  

On that genius laundry setup in her closet:
I give my husband credit for the washer and dryer in the closet, and it’s the best thing we ever did. My stuff never leaves unless it goes to the dry cleaner. It’s so convenient — I don’t have to carry laundry anymore! That’s my best pitch for putting a washer and dryer in your closet.

On designing for your wardrobe:
As a builder, from a design perspective, it’s important to think about what you have and what you are working toward. When I built this, I was still wearing suits all the time, but I knew it wasn’t going to be that way forever, so I tried to keep that in mind. Other than my shoes, I don’t like seeing stuff. I don’t want to have to fold my sweaters really pretty, so that’s why I have lots of doors. And my stylist, Brittany Newcomb (Instagram @bnoblestyled), has worked really hard in here to make the space visually nice.  

THIS OR THAT

Boots or sneakers?  Sneakers

Heels or flats?  At night, heels — I love heels.

Tote or clutch?  Actually, I would really prefer neither. I literally keep an ID in my husband’s wallet, and I’ll leave my phone in the car. A crossbody or clutch if I must. 

Favorite accessories  Sunglasses, because we live on the lake. All summer, I change my sunglasses depending on what I’m wearing. I don’t love jewelry that much — I’ll switch out my earrings, but other than that, I don’t really wear much jewelry. I wear a diamond tennis bracelet when it’s dressy, and I have a casual Rolex and a dressy watch. 

Go-to clothing designers  Does Zara count? I love Zara, and Ulla Johnson, Zimmerman and Sea New York. 

Shoe designers  I love Jimmy Choo, Alexandre Birman, Paris Texas and Tamara Mellon. For a lower price point, Steve Madden really does a good job. My favorites are my Jimmy Choos with a gold-bronze metallic fish-scale wrap around the ankle, and a Dee Keller cow-print pair.  

Purse designer  Alexander McQueen and Louis Vuitton, though nothing mainstream.  SP

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