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Your Style: Linda Van Sickle

September 23, 2018

When asked about her work at Charter House, Linda Van Sickle says she started at the very beginning. Or even before.

“I feel like I helped give birth to Charter House,” said Van Sickle, who has spent the last nine years as director of administrative services for the Mayo Clinic retirement living organization. “I had an internship there after college and was one of six employees,” she said, noting that this was before Charter House officially opened in the mid-1980s.

“I did take four years off to stay at home with my two sons,” said Van Sickle, who says she then worked part time as an assistant at Mayo Clinic. “But, after my husband died, people at Charter House asked me to come back. That was 12 years ago.”

Mayo, Van Sickle continues, is what brought her family here from Owego, N.Y., when she was a child. “We moved here because my brother needed heart surgery and Mayo was the best place. My father worked for IBM in New York and he asked to be transferred here. So we moved to Stewartville.”

Beyond Charter House, Van Sickle says, she spends time with her grown sons, Jason and Cody, sings karaoke and enjoys nature.

Please describe your style.

Unique. Not classic or conservative. I like out-of-the-ordinary things.

How did your style develop?

My mother was probably my biggest influence. My mother always dressed my sister and me in matching clothes. Leather dresses. White go-go boots. My mother always dressed us so fashionably.

Anyone or anything more?

I was always interested in fashion. When I was young, I had “Millie the Model” comic books. I found some at an antique shop in Oronoco. And I have a couple others. They are now just a treasure to me.

I always felt like I was the first girl in Stewartville to have something. I had a maxi coat in sixth grade. I saw it at Penney’s and had to have it.

Tell us about your purchasing these days.

I have a lot of clothes, but I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes.

Recently, I was at sidewalk days and saw a pair of white go-go boots. They were just my size. Not exactly like the ones I had when I was young, but they were vintage. I almost bought them, but I thought that might be a little extravagant.

I love consignment shops. You can find so many unique things. I have a collection of cigar box purses. I have vintage hats with veils. I even have a turquoise one.

That brings us to any color preferences?

I do have a favorite and it is turquoise! Aqua. Teal. Turquoise! When I look back on all of my school pictures, in all but one, I had turquoise on.

I have two pairs of turquoise shoes. I am still looking for turquoise boots.

Other partialities, including for jewelry?

I like bling. Sparkle! And I love peacocks. I have peacock jeans — painted feathers with gemstones. I have peacock earrings.

I don’t have a lot of expensive jewelry. I have my mother-in-law’s rings. And I have five to six sets of rings, but I don’t wear them most of the time today.

What do you wear to work?

I like to dress up for the residents. Sometimes residents will say to me, “Oh, I like to see what you’re wearing.” Or, “I love seeing what you have on every day.”

I don’t wear suits so much today. More dresses and pants with out-of-the-ordinary tops. I like to dress for fun while being professional. I usually wear heels. I’m not a flats girl. Not too high of heels, but heels.

Do you have a favorite season in terms of style?

I don’t know that I do. My favorite season is probably not summer. I love boots. Winter boots. With bling. Fashion boots. It’s a sad day when I have to put my boots away!

What should every woman have as part of her wardrobe?

A walk-in closet, so she can be organized.

Parting words?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

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