Mary Lou Jackson always wanted to own a dress shop. The idea had been swimming around in her head for years. Then one day, she heard about a small boutique for sale in Dickinson. Less than 1,000 square feet, the combination dress shop and beauty salon tucked away in a little pink house on St. Goar Street was exactly what she was looking for, she said.

She bought the inventory, took over the lease and headed off to a Dallas wholesaler, who gave her a line of credit. New clothes were shipped, Jackson displayed them, and the customers came.

That was 48 years ago. Today, Jackson’s popular Four Seasons Boutique & Shoe Parlour, now at 1705 FM 517 in a rambling 4,000-square-foot building, is filled to the brim with fashionable labels such as City Girl, á la carte, Joseph Ribkoff, Tru Luxe Jeans, Ming Wang knits, Damee jackets and Lisette pants. The shoe section of the shop is stocked with brands such as Onex, Dezario, LaPlume, Yellow Box, Vaneli and LifeStride.

“The top shoe style for the spring will be the wedge,”said Jackson, who also carries a nice line of accessories and gift items. The adjoining beauty salon, Flaunt, is run by Jackson’s daughter.

Jackson’s three closets at home are neatly organized, and she changes them out according to season. Her main closet is color-coordinated with pants at one end, jackets and tops in the middle and shoes in boxes on shelves. She likes color and is crazy about animal prints.

A pink, ruffled-collar jacket with designs of silver sunglasses (by Berek) is one of her favorite things to wear. Other favorites include the shimmery jacket of liquid silk in multicolored paisley print; a zebra print jacket with rhinestones; and blouses that zip in the front (by Jackets Galore). Her purses are filled with air-bubble plastic packing bags to keep their shape.

Q: How would you describe your own fashion style?

A: Dressy casual.

Q: Does your closet contain items from your shop?

A: Yes, all of them are from my shop except my ski outfits. I used to snow ski with a group called the “Skiing Grandmothers,” and we skied all over the world.

Q: What do you normally wear to work?

A: A jacket with matching pants or capri pants. Like today, I have on a fuchsia tee with black-and-white print jacket by á la carte. I like things that are embellished or that have bling.

Q: How do you prepare for your work day?

A: I put everything out the night before, press items if needed, then hang the entire outfit on the bathroom door. I don’t want to have to make those decisions in the morning.

Q: Do you have a favorite line of handbags?

A: Yes. I like Sondra Roberts Squared. They’re more affordable than the Sondra Roberts line.

Q: What jewelry items do you prefer?

A: Less is more for me. I like a simple look. I just wear a couple of rings, a Jimmy Crystal watch and maybe a small chain necklace.

Q: What is your favorite line of pants?

A: Most of my pants are City Girl, but the brand that fits me best is Lisette because they contain a lot of Lycra and have a skinny leg.

Q: What positive fashion changes have you seen in the past 48 years?

A: Fabrics that do not need dry cleaning. Foxcroft makes a lovely blouse that needs no ironing. There’s a new linen fabric called Fridaze that doesn’t wrinkle. Also, Ming Wang and Joseph Ribkoff are washable.

Q: What negative changes?

A: People don’t dress as nicely as they used to.

Q: What fashion mistakes do most women make?

A: Wearing their pants and tops too tight unless they can pull it off. Look in the mirror.

Q: So, what will happen when you make it to 50 years in business?

A: Have a big party at the shop and offer a nice discount.

Q: No retirement plans?

A: None.

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