clos-ette case: Tinsley Mortimer

Posted on May 30, 2012 by Melanie Charlton

Praise be to the warm weather gods – it is officially sundress season! And no one is rejoicing more than our friend Tinsley Mortimer, a self-proclaimed dress-o-holic whose collection runs from Milly to Marchesa. The handbag designer-turned-author (her darling debut novel, Southern Charm, came out earlier this month) is so crazy about knock-out frocks that she claims they can be positively mood-enhancing. “A pink, poufy party dress makes me feel confident,” says Mortimer. “It makes me feel comfortable, and the most like myself.” Here, she opens up the doors to her New York closet to share her most cherished pieces with us.
clos-ette case: Tinsley Mortimer
Tinsley Mortimer's celebrity dream closet
Photo Courtesy of JSquared Photography 

Which designers can’t you live without?

I would say Oscar de la Renta, Versace, Herve Leger, Dior, and Marchesa. But then I also love Alice & Olivia, Tibi, Milly and Juicy Couture. For shoes, Louboutin, Brian Atwood, and Guiseppe Zanotti are my favorites. I also love Kenneth Jay Lane for costume jewelry.

Other than the handbags you’ve designed, what are the most cherished items in your closet?

I feel like I’m a hoarder, and I honestly don’t feel like I could get rid of anything. I have this pink ruffled Cavalli dress that’s very over-the-top, sort of like a circus outfit or something, but I just love it, and I’ll never part with it. I also have this Balenciaga baby-doll dress that I bought when I was first making my own money. I wore a similar one in Vogue years ago, then I saw it in Italy in another color and I just had to have it. I also have these neon yellow and neon pink Jimmy Choos that I’ve had for a few years and can’t stop wearing. And one more thing: I have this Balenciaga jacket that’s black with short sleeves and these huge, exaggerated shoulders. Of course when you wear it, no guy likes it. They’re like, ‘what they hell are you wearing?’ It’s not that attractive, but it’s so cool.

Tinsley Mortimer's celebrity dream closet

Tinsley's stash of costume jewelry

What about casual basics?

I love Splendid striped tees – I have a lot of them and I can’t stop wearing them. I also have a lot of Alice & Olivia sundresses, and when the weather is warm, I cannot live without them. I wear them so many times, it’s embarrassing.

What’s your favorite piece of fashion advice?

I think it’s to not follow trends and to really wear what you’re comfortable in. For me, that’s usually a party dress.  I have this saying –“set it and forget it” –that I got years ago from watching an infomercial. And that’s what I say to myself before I go out. After you leave the house, don’t worry about what you’re wearing. You know how girls are always like, “do you like it? does it look okay?” They’re asking these questions when they’re out, but that’s when you should just let go and have fun with it. So I always say “set it and forget it” – leave the house and don’t think about it again.

How do you keep everything organized?

That’s the thing – I don’t. I can’t. I need Melanie to help me. My whole life –my living room, my bedroom – I like to be perfectly put together. But I let my closet be the one place it doesn’t have to be perfect. I luckily live in a loft with these big closets I can just throw stuff in, but it’s not pretty. I hate when people ask to see inside my closet. That’s my worst nightmare.  [Clos-ette Too tip: start by switching out mismatched hangers with a set of our best-selling hangers. You can thank us later for the instant streamlined look!]

Tinsley Mortimer's celebrity dream closet

A few pairs of favorite heels

What’s your ideal shopping destination?

I’ve always loved to shop in Palm Beach. I feel like it’s all just right there. You walk up Worth, and you’ve got Saks and Neimans. I just like to go to one place, and get a lot of different things. I’m a girl of convenience.

What’s the most embarrassing thing in your closet?

It’s this Nina Ricci grey sweater. I look like a homeless person when I wear it. It was made with these weird pieces and ribbons falling off of it anyway, but I sleep in this thing, I wear it all the time, [and now it] has holes in it. My mom is like ‘do not wear that anymore.’

Whose closet would you want to raid?

I love Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. I feel like they both dress a little differently than I do –they always look more cool, and I always look more prissy. So I would love to raid their closets for all their cool, casual pieces. But also Rachel Zoe –especially all her costume jewelry.

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