Attending the social event of the year and need an absolutely perfect outfit? Delisa Schlachter is the woman to call. The 44-year-old Dallasite has built a reputation as the area’s go-to wardrobe consultant. But there’s more to this energetic fashionista than just making people look good. Schlachter is a survivor of colorectal cancer (now in remission for more than four years) and a mother of six—yes, six (Ryan, 23; Ryley, 20; Jack, 14; Luke, 13; Joe, 11; and Sam, 9). She and her husband, Marc, each brought kids from a previous marriage to their new union and they’ve worked hard to create a harmonious blended family. Schlachter loves her job (and all the shopping involved!), but puts her family and her health first.
You’re a survivor of colorectal cancer. How did that change your attitude toward life?I was a single mom with four kids at age 39 with cancer. It caused me to stop and smell the roses and realize each day is a gift. I also eliminated a lot of people from my life. I don’t want empty or superficial relationships. I cut my clientele down to half; I stopped working six days a week. Maybe I needed that smack in the face to show up to my kids’ games instead of racing to Louis Vuitton to pick up the latest bag.
Let’s talk business. How did you get your start in fashion? I started working in fashion at age 14. I had always wanted to be in fashion but I really didn’t want to do what I’m doing. I really wanted to be a designer. I have a Bachelor of Arts in fashion design. I worked so hard on my portfolio, but my professors all told me, “You should be a buyer!” And they were so right.
The secret to your success? Listening to people.
Who are your top designers? My favorites are Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno, Dries Van Noten, Brunello Cucinelli, and Lanvin. I love the up-and-coming new French designers that Liz Thompson and Jackie Bolin from V.O.D. Boutique are always finding!
So, we’re assuming your kids have to be fashionable too. They’re “street” fashionable. They’ve got to have the shoe, the shirt, the short … they’re in the know for their ages.
Do you have a dream makeover project? I wish I could get hold of that Dallas look and redo that whole bad image. It seems like we are one of the last standing people who do cocktail clothing for day, overdone tan, way too much makeup, etc. Sometimes people need to … realize that less is more.
You and your husband both have kids from a previous marriage. Now you’re a mom with a blended family—how does that work? I think the biggest challenge is making each child feel equally loved and equally important, and that we are one family—we are not “my kids” and “your kids.” We don’t say, “I have four kids” or “I have two kids.” We both say, “I have six kids.”
How important is organization in your life? I live by a list. I make my list the night before and I write down a timeline of exactly where I need to be when, who I’m working for, etc. Before I hit the treadmill [at the gym in the morning], I text my two big boys and they wake up the two little boys. I have the kids’ uniforms laid out at night. I make and label all the lunches the night before and I get up at 5:10 a.m. and make breakfasts. They get themselves ready and when I get home at 7:15 a.m. they bring me my green tea and we go to carpool.
What’s the secret to making your marriage work? We have a date night at least once a week—usually Friday night. We have a glass of wine and then go have dinner, and sometimes to a movie. We make sure we have one night a week that’s just for us. So many people end up getting divorced because their marriages become all about their kids and they forget about each other.
The best present your children have given you? When I was really sick in the throes of cancer, Jack was 9 years old. He had $14, and he had a friend’s mom take him to some coin store and he bought me this little ring that has a yellow heart with two purple hearts on either side. People ask me all the time, “Is that real?” And I say, “That is the most real ring to me.”
A quote with meaning … “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” —Soren Kierkegaard
Chosen getaway destinations … Rome, Italy; New York, NY
For the sake of fashion, you religiously read … French Vogue, Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily
Favorite restaurant? Sushi Robata in North Dallas
Shop you can’t go a season without scouring: V.O.D. Boutique, Victory Park
Your “It” Bag: Chanel