By Keysha Drexel
That old idiom about the apple not falling far from the tree fits Dr. Brooke Kaplan in the most stylish way.
Not only is the 32-year-old optometrist in an eye care practice with her father, but she is also following in his fashionable footsteps to help raise money for Mountain Brook schools.
Kaplan and her father, Dr. Jack Schaeffer, will be taking turns on the catwalk at the Schaeffer Eye Center Fashions for the Foundation event on Sept. 10 in Homewood.
Sponsored by the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, the event will raise money for the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation with a sneak peek at the upcoming fall fashion season.
Kaplan said it came as no surprise that her father was asked to model for the fashion show fundraiser.
“He’s kind of known for his style and so he’s a natural for this,” Kaplan said. “I’m glad we’re getting a chance to do this together to give back to the community.”
And while his main goal in agreeing to model at the fundraiser was to help the school system where all of his children were educated, Schaeffer admits he is looking forward to getting to wear some really fashionable clothes in the show.
“It was a really easy decision to get involved,” Schaeffer said. “I think it will be a lot of fun, and it will help give back to the community that has always been good to us.”
Giving back and helping others is what prompted Schaeffer to become an optometrist in the first place, he said.
A native of Charleston, S.C., Schaeffer said he grew up knowing that he wanted to be a doctor of some kind and devote his life to taking care of people.
He also grew up knowing that he loved clothes.
“My mother told me that even when I was a young child, she could not shop for me. She had to let me shop for myself. I was always into what was happening at the time, whether that was clothes or music or whatever,” he said.
One of his earliest fashion-related memories is being 13 years old and choosing an outfit for his bar mitzvah.
“I remember shopping for what I was going to wear and thinking it was very important that I got it just right,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed shopping.”
And while he does like to stay abreast of current trends, Schaeffer said he relies more on what he thinks look good than the opinion of others.
“I have my own style and I know what I like, and that’s the way I dress,” he said.
That philosophy of staying true to yourself is something Schaeffer shares with his daughter.
“I inherited more of my mother’s classic fashion taste as opposed to my father’s very flashy sense of style,” Kaplan said. “No matter what, you have to dress for yourself and no one else.”
Kaplan said her earliest fashion-related memory is getting ready for a friend’s birthday party when she was in the second grade.
“The theme for the party was to dress in your mother’s clothes. I had the hardest time combing through her entire closet (that had) so many beautiful items,” she said. “I spent more time trying on clothes for that than any other event in my life.”
But Kaplan and Schaeffer aren’t the only stylish members of the family.
It was Kaplan’s mother and Schaeffer’s wife, Beth, who helped make Schaeffer Eye Center the go-to place for the latest eyewear trends.
“My wife was the one that convinced me that we needed to offer the latest, most stylish glasses we could to our patients in addition to great eye care,” he said.
Schaeffer said he’s thrilled to have two of his children working with him now and a third who will join the practice soon. But he said he hasn’t ruled out other career options completely.
“In another world, I probably could have been a fashion designer,” he said. “But I think if I weren’t doing what I am doing now, I’d be in politics. I’m great at bringing people together to work toward a vision. I think I could make a difference.”
And both Kaplan and her father said fashion can make a difference.
Both said they think fashion is important because it gives people another way to express their personalities.
“Fashion is an extension of who we are, our personalities (and) a way to express ourselves without saying a word,” Kaplan said.
Schaeffer said fashion is also important because it helps people feel better.
“I think every day, you should get up and make yourself look good,” he said. “Looking good is the first part of feeling good.”
To find out how to see Kaplan and Schaeffer model the hottest fall fashions at the Fashions for the Foundation event, visit www.welcometomountainbrook.com.
The show will feature fashions from several Mountain Brook merchants including Harrison’s LTD, Laura Kathryn, Lingerie Shoppe, Macy’s, Marella, Michelle’s, Mobley & Sons, Monkee’s of Mountain Brook, Mountain Brook Sporting Goods, Mountain High Outfitters, Pants Store, Snap Kids, Snoozy’s Kids, The Pink Tulip, Town and Country and Village Sportswear.