We tracked down Lookbook founder and blogger Othalia Tesserot for some serious shop talk. The result? A hilarious how-to on getting great deals, escaping bad trends and bringing back the backpack. Read on for the juicy details.
Q: What item in your closet is the one you can’t live without?
A: I would have to say my gray cardigan. I bought it on a whim, thinking I would not wear it that much, and now I find myself developing what might be an unhealthy attachment to it. ;) I layer it, belt it, pair it with a scarf; you name it and it's been done.
Q: Is there any accessory that you've held on to purely out of sentimental value? If so, what's the story behind it?
A: I visited the Dominican Republic a few years ago with some friends and had such a blast that I managed to convince myself that the all-inclusive bracelet they make you wear throughout your trip would be an excellent addition to my current jewelry collection. It must have been my way of holding on to what was one of the best trips I had ever taken. I refused to take that cheap plastic bracelet off and even started working my wardrobe around its tacky shade of blue. I eventually cut the thing off my wrist, but it still remains in my jewelry box as a great reminder of a fabulous week.
Q: Tell us about your most comical or interesting shopping trip.
A: My most comical shopping trip also coincides with one of my top life lessons: Shopping tipsy seems like a good idea in theory, but in practice, not so much.
A few years ago, a friend of mine and I decided to check out a store opening. The clothes were fantastic, accessories like none other, and wine was being served. We laughed and shopped the evening away, and I remember thinking to myself, I really should do this more often. I woke up the next day with a mild hangover and a few interesting purchases — including an odd red-colored eye shadow, which I distinctively remember thinking, in my wine-infused state, would emphasize my dark brown eyes. I had also managed to convince myself that by buying a pair of shoes in two different sizes (I believe the left foot was a size 7.5 and the right foot was a 9), I was being innovative.
Q: Is there any fashion trend you believe should be banished from runways forever?
A: I really hope I never have to come across the bicycle-shorts-and-cropped-top combo in magazines or stores. I don't care what your body type, that look flatters no one.
Q: What’s the oddest question you’ve received for possible inclusion in the Reader Requests section?
A: I once had someone ask me to style these utterly uninspiring yellow boots. Granted, the question was not odd, but the item left much to be desired. It's difficult to help someone with a piece you don't think they should be wearing in the first place.
Q: What is your style resolution?
A: Style is not about being über-trendy or following verbatim what the magazines and celebs deem cool. As cliché as it sounds, it's about being yourself, which is my style resolution every year. It's a constant reminder not to get caught up in the frivolity of it all and to chill on the over-consumption of things I don't really need. Fashion is fun and it's a great way to express yourself, but I try not to take it too seriously.
Q: Is the sequin ever going away?
A: Just like that bad apple of an ex-boyfriend, some things in fashion just keep coming back. I am not a huge sequin fan. For now it is here, but I give it another holiday season before it is kicked to the curb.
Q: What is the splurge item to transition into spring?
A: I would say a great floral or printed dress (Rachel Pally and Issa are my faves). They are perfect because of their versatility: Rock them with tights, booties and belted with a long cardigan when there is still a chill in the air. As the weather warms up, lose the layers and pair the dress with a nice strappy sandal and a few necklaces.
Q: What’s the biggest “fashion splurge” you’ve ever made?
A: I am not what you would normally call a splurger. I am a true bargain shopper at heart, so this question is a toughie. I once purchased this Club Monaco printed silk top because I simply loved the pattern. I only wore it once, but it still remains one of my favorite items.
Q: Name one trend you hope makes a comeback.
A: Backpacks. Remember when backpacks were everywhere, in the '90s? I miss that, and I do feel like they are coming back. 2010 is the new 1994, and all that is '80s and '90s not only is splattered on the American Apparel billboards but will have a huge impact on how we dress for at least the next three years. Therefore, I should hope to see more and more backpacks. Right now they are on the cusp of cool, as they have yet to hit mainstream fashion and might still be deemed “wtf” by most. However, I think they are a great update to the ubiquitous messenger bag.
Q: Shorts over tights — yea or nay?
A: It is a definite yea, provided you wear the correct shorts that fit your body type. I think it is a fun update to the skirts-and-tights combo.
Q: Any designers that you are hoping will do an “affordable line” for H&M or Target?
A: Michael Kors or Tory Burch! Clearly I am obsessed with what these designers embody: all-American jet-set cool — aviator glasses, gold accents on everything, stripes galore, and an unhealthy amount of tan bags and shoes. I think that either designer would make a stunning addition to H&M and Target, because their style is so classic and reflects effortless cool.
Check out Othalia's favorite red-carpet looks.