Aug. 22 2012 12:00 AM

Retail Therapy

I’ve never seen a single episode of “Sex and the City,” but I’ve always imagined there’s a scene where all the women are sitting around depressed, crying into their cosmopolitans about something (not enough sex? too much city?), until someone perks up and suggests that they all go SHOPPING! Cue montage scene, and all problems are solved. But that’s just (my highly subjective and borderline sexist take on) a TV show, right? Not anymore.

“I opened this store so there could be a place where women can get a lift, no matter what kind of day they’re having” says Celeste Saltzman, owner of the new women’s clothier, Retail Therapy, in Okemos. “We sell great looking jewelry, premium denim, great tops, fun, flirty dresses — our motto is ‘just what the doctor ordered.’ We give women a little retail therapy.”

Interestingly, the reason Saltzman came to Okemos in the first place was because that’s what her doctor ordered. Well, maybe “ordered” is too strong a word. More like “transferred,” as in her husband (a physician) accepted a position at Sparrow Hospital last month, leading the recently empty-nesters to leave their home of 21 years in Saginaw for Lansing.

I’m originally from Chicago, and I always wanted to get closer back to there,” she says (no one tell her that it’s still a full tank of gas away). “I found this great place in Okemos for the store, so then it became possible for me to it, too. There was never any doubt that it was coming with me.”

Saltzman opened the original Retail Therapy four years ago, where it was more of an all-purpose gift shop. Version 2.0 is focused on clothes and jewelry, but this isn’t some second-hand store or consignment shop.

“These are all new clothes, and I’ve hand-picked everything out myself,” Saltzman says. “I travel to shows in Chicago and New York, and place my orders six months in advance. I also have a great collection of artisan-made jewelry. You won’t find any of these things in a department store. These are boutique-driven brands, and you can’t find them anywhere else.”

Saltzman says her trick is to buy things that a young woman would buy and her mother would try to steal.

“I’m 60, but I wear everything in here,” she says. “Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you have to look dowdy or frumpy. You can still look stylish and fashion forward. So there may be something here that someone young could wear as a mini dress, and someone older could wear as a tunic. This clothing crosses several generations. I just want women to feel good about themselves.”

Retail therapy also provides alteration service on jeans and dresses, which is all part of the store culture of creating a service-oriented, friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, Saltzman says she only buys one piece of clothing in each size and only a few of each style, guaranteeing her customers will never show up at a party and see someone else wearing the same thing.

You know, the kind of thing that would send Carrie Bradshaw on a Manolo binge.

Retail Therapy

5100 Marsh Road, Okemos (517) 574-4427

Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sunday &