The New York-based fashion photographer Mei Tao has an enviable look that is both casual and just the right amount of fashion-y. She has an uncanny knack for pairing classics with a bit of whimsy—as well as for the great sample sale or big-box store find.
What she’s wearing right now: A painter’s t-shirt from J.Crew, a cashmere sweater from Uniqlo, pants from Comme des Garcons, a coat from Jil Sander’s J+ line for Uniqlo, a kid’s scarf from Little Marc, shoes from Christian Louboutin, and a Carre Royal tote bag.
Her go-to pieces: Uniqlo and J.Crew are my favorite go-to places for basics and more—both lines are well-designed and affordable. I love that they do collaborations with other designers/labels, which always keep the lines fresh. This coat is from Uniqlo’s J+ Fall line and I got it for $149!!! The scarf is from Little Marc, Marc Jacobs’ unbelievably adorable children’s line. Kids’ clothes can be a great way to mix a bit of fun into my grownup wardrobe. Crewcuts’ boys, which goes up to size 14, is a great place to look. I recently got this fold-up Carre Royal tote from my very stylish friend Sarah for my birthday. She couldn’t understand why I insisted on carrying my cloth Trader Joe’s tote for all of the extra things that I pick up throughout the day. When I told her I can just throw the Trader Joe bag in my handbag when it’s empty, she gave me this Carre Royal tote, which conveniently folds into a big wallet and tucks into my handbag. These wrinkle-free, polyester Comme des Garcon cropped pants were a splurge. They are super comfortable and great for travel.
Her look: I like to be comfortable—but I also want to look good. I stick to a pretty limited palate of basic non-colors: black, navy, grey, white, khaki, and denim. My style is what my eight year old daughter calls “Tomgirl”. And I love to borrow from the boys’ and mens’ fashion, where I take a lot of my style cues. A good blazer over anything and men’s-style shoes like oxfords, wingtips, and dessert boots make me feel instantly pulled-together.
Fashion risk: Color. My friend Gaby, who is behind the line Tucker brought prints and colors into my life. She gave me one of her signature blouses for my birthday a few years back and a breath of fresh air came into my dressing routine. Instead of a men’s button down, I’ll often wear a silky printed color Tucker shirt under my blazer—I feel so much prettier!