Today’s interview is with the very charming and down to earth Tiffany. I really wanted to interview Tiffany because she is someone that I identify with in more than a few ways. Tiffany is a lover of beautiful items who is still experimenting and trying out new items and styles for herself – something I can definitely relate to. As you will soon see, Tiffany has many beautiful accessories – but they have come from hard work and some trial and error. She has some great advice about how to select and identify items that will stand the test of time in your closet, and shares some of her experiences along the way as well. Enjoy meeting Tiffany!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
I’m a newlywed enjoying married life in Northern California. I just graduated graduate school, got married to the same man twice (local and destination weddings), and now I am doing an internship until I land something full time.
You recently moved back to the Bay Area from Boston.What are some differences in styles that you found between the two areas? Any styles/trends that you’ve adopted from Boston now that you’re back in California?
I went to Boston for graduate school, so I was surrounded by other graduate students from various backgrounds and different age groups. My graduate degree was in Public Health, so 95% of my classmates come from medical or health backgrounds, and a large percentage of them are not from Boston. Students generally don’t dress up for classes, so I didn’t see a lot of Boston styles unless I was at Back Bay or shopping at the Prudential. Even then, nothing stuck out for me, except flats were very common, as the city is very much a walking city, which I loved. People also had some pretty great coats for the cold winters.
I know you’re a fan of fashion and beautiful accessories. What got you interested in luxury bags?
My undergraduate and clinical education was based in Los Angeles. Needless to say, there were a lot of beautiful people around me and many had luxury goods. I started studying bags and realized the quality of them was far superior to the ones I purchased in Downtown Fashion District. My first items were a Chanel pink Cambon shoulder bag from eBay and a Prada nylon duffel bag from the outlet when I was a junior in college.
I worked three part time jobs to pay for private school, and these were definitely splurges. By senior year of college, I saved up to buy my first Chanel black Caviar flap with silver hardware, which I still have and it’s in pristine condition. This goes to say you should pay for quality, because that flap is one of the best investments I’ve ever made for handbags.
What are some items that you wear the most in your wardrobe – your mainstays and workhorses?
Honestly, while I love all my designer items, the items I wear the most are my Puma sneakers and Longchamp Le Pliage totes to work. I try to carry a Balenciaga Work or an Hermes Lindy, but Longchamp is best for my long commute. I do switch around my wallets every few months. I love Hermes Bearn wallets, but I only own two that I switch around with others as I send them to the Hermes spa for reconditioning. They do a great job fixing it back to almost new!
On the weekend, I tend to carry my Gris Tourtourelle Lindy, it’s so great for errands as you can sling it over your shoulder. It’s a fabulous neutral as well. Honestly, it was a random splurge at Hermes. The sales associate brought it out, and I knew it had to be mine. I’m trying to take my Birkin out more, but I baby it too much. Also on weekends, I swear by Lanvin and Ferragamo flats, skinny jeans, and comfy tees. I live a very casual lifestyle in the Bay Area, so dressing up is a rare thing. If I do dress up, I switch around my clutches and heels, so there is no favorite.
What are some of your favorite and treasured items of yours? What would you like to add one day?
I saved up and waited for 2009 when my holy grail became available: an Hermes 35 Birkin in Raisin Togo, with palladium hardware. I’ve gone through many Birkins (I buy and sell since I can’t afford to keep them all), and this was my ultimate acquisition. Another one was my first Chanel flap that I mentioned earlier. Those two pieces are my favorite, and I tend to feel happier when I carry them. The Birkin has the most intoxicating smell still! I hope to add a few more Birkins, now that I know exactly what I want.
I’ve had seller’s remorse over selling a 35 black Box Birkin in gold hardware, so I’m going to save up for that one. I also want a Rouge Garance 30 in Togo or Clemence, gold hardware. Then my collection will be complete. I’m in no rush, as I have lots of other bags to keep me happy. These are bags I’ll someday find and own.
If you could start all over again with your wardrobe/closet – what is the advice you’d tell yourself?
I would tell myself to JUST WAIT and STAY FOCUSED. The reason why I cycled through a dozen Birkins was I jumped on a fun color or a good deal, and after using it for a few months, I wasn’t happy with it. It’s so much better to stay focused, build the funds, and then have the freedom to buy exactly what you want, even if it may take longer.
I have a separate savings account that I build my funds. I currently am now looking for those items I mentioned earlier. I may have to go through resellers, as these are hard to find combinations, and that means a premium. But I’ve made mistakes, and I don’t want to repeat them. I’m young, so I’m bound to screw up a few more times. I actually just splurged on a Van Cleef necklace, so my fun fund needs to be replenished again. Hence, STAY FOCUSED. Eyes on the prize.
What are a few items that you obsessed about, had to have – and then after a while, you wish you hadn’t purchased them?
My first Birkin was in 2007 with a Blue Jean Swift Birkin, in size 35. I just wanted the color, but Swift wasn’t my favorite leather in that size, so I just started to not use it. I also had a JPG birkin in Blue Jean Clemence, and it was too heavy. I had a Blue Jean Bearn wallet, which also I got sick of. I have tired of Blue Jean after a few years, so all of those items belong to happier owners now, I hope.
My biggest regret was a Rouge Box Birkin that was used and abused. I thought the Hermes spa would fix it, but it didn’t, and it was a sale bag, which I didn’t know. The seller hid that from me. I could have returned it, but I really wanted the combination, so I kept it. I eventually sold it, and now I know what I want, and will wait for those opportunities.
What categories in your closet do you skimp on, versus invest more money in?
I skimp on t-shirts and tops. They all end up being overused or become my gym shirts anyhow, and I don’t need expensive items for working out. I invest in good shoes, since I have huge, wide, and flat feet. If the shoes are great, I’ll resole them again and again so I can keep wearing them, like my Lanvin, Chanel and Ferragamo flats. I love Christian Louboutins and Manolo Blahniks, though only certain styles work for my feet. Hence, I treasure them.
What are some of your other hobbies and passions?
I love to cook and bake! I also am a chronic planner, so I’m working on enjoying the present instead of being so focused on planning the future away, when life right now is pretty fantastic.
Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!
I bedazzled my wedding shoes! I couldn’t justify the price for Louboutin Strass shoes, so I made my own. I have Strassed 3 pairs and love them. More for looking rather than wearing. I have little occasion to wear them out, plus I’m afraid of falling crystals!
How cool are Tiffany’s shoes? I briefly had the same thought for my wedding last year but quickly abandoned it as I knew I wouldn’t have the skills to pull it off. So I am doubly impressed that Tiffany managed to do two pairs! I loved reading about Tiffany’s closet journey and really appreciated her candor – especially about keeping focused and being patient about the pieces you love most. Thank you Tiffany for taking the time to share some of your life here with us today, and enjoy married life!