Stylist Interview: What to pack for London

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Tamara Rothstein is a ridiculously talented stylist and, now, designer. She grew up and still lives in London. Her personal style is amazing, her professional styling is always creative and impressive, she loves to support her female friends and is one of the loveliest women I’ve met. In short, Tamara really is the definition of ‘cool London woman.’ I met her for coffee at The Fields Beneath a great little coffee shop in North London.

Me: How would you describe London street style?

Tamara:  London street style is a mix between quite a few things.  I think it’s a mix between like… I think the way that London’s structured, that you can kind of have council estates say, next to like £10 million houses, because it means it’s all a mix.  And no one really looks… when you’re a teenager, everything mixes together.  So I think London’s street style has always been, even in the 70s, it’s always been like a sense of suiting with more, like, punk.

I think that there’s still such a mix.  I think you still get so much of that, you get the street style which is now trainers and t-shirts, maybe sportswear.  But you really then put it together with something maybe a bit smarter.

I think everybody is always trying to elevate it slightly so I don’t think it matters what subculture you’re from.  You’re always trying to do that.

Me:  I feel like people on the street in London take more fashion risks. I think they’re really free.

Tamara Rothstein:  Yeah.  I think that they do. I think naturally, it’s not like when you go to Paris, if you wear something quite kind of street style in Paris you feel a bit sloppy.  In Paris, it doesn’t work so much, but here it really works.

I think New York you can be quite eccentric too.  People don’t seem to blink.  I always find that.  But I think in London, when you’re young, in most London schools, you have to wear a school uniform.  But then when you wear sportswear, that’s the time when you can personalize it.  So whether you have like a short tracksuit bottom or a baggy tracksuit bottom, or if you decide to wear, I don’t know, like your school socks up or your school socks down or what kind of trainers.  The one time when you’re like 13, when you’re becoming a teenager, you can really put your identity and differentiate yourself between the others on the team.

Me:  What are some key pieces that you wear often when you’re in London?

Tamara Rothstein:  I think when I’m in London, I always wear… I think my style is pretty much a trainer, some kind of like easy legging.  And that can be from like a smart, easy legging like a men’s trouser to a normal legging.  And then I always seem to wear a t-shirt.  Then I think my thing that changes it is I always wear probably a three-quarter length navy blue coat.  It’s usually Jil Sander.  So if it doesn’t go with my Jil Sander coat then it’s almost not my style.  But everything else is quite dressed down and then the coat, my coat is actually quite formal.

Me:  The coat holds it together.  Like you plan it around that one piece.

Tamara Rothstein:  yeah.

Me:  And you always need a coat in London.

Tamara Rothstein:  Always.  You always do. You think you don’t and you’re always cool out.

 

“London street style is a mix… (it) has always been, even in the 70s, it’s always been like a sense of suiting with more, like, punk.”

 

Me:  What do you think are some key pieces to pack for visiting London?

Tamara Rothstein:  I think you have to pack a coat.  But I think like a good walking shoe because the great thing about London is that you can just walk into so many different areas.

London is so big.  But actually Zone 1 is not so big so you can really like walk across the bridge and go from Trafalgar Square to Parliament and across to Royal Festival Hall and down to the Thames.  So you kind of need a good walking shoe, or like some shoe that you feel you can get around in.

But then I think when I’m visiting the city that’s a really important thing for me because I just like to see everything.

Me:  I’m with you. I have some Isabel Marant boots that have like a little itty bitty wedge.  I wore them all over Paris once and my feet were just swollen every night.  And it was only a 1 inch wedge.

Tamara Rothstein:  Yeah.  And find something warm.  It’s not much fun being in a city and not being warm.  But again, I think then if you decide to go somewhere, you’ve got a smart coat on, you’re fine.

Me:  And it kind of pulls you together.  You don’t feel out of place.

Tamara Rothstein:  No.

Me: And, most importantly shoes. We just kind of talked about that.  But like would you say a tennis shoe, a Chelsea boot, what are the three pairs you would pack?

Tamara Rothstein:  I think for me, a good hiking boot.  Like everyone’s doing a hiking boot now from… I’ve got a pair of Jimmy Choo hiking boots.  Everyone does like Bally do a good hiking boot.  Everybody does a good hiking boot now.  It’s really interesting.  Hillier Bartley have just done a really good hiking boot.

And I don’t mean, like it doesn’t need to be like the hiking boot, like the one you get from a sports shop, I mean like a good leather.

Me:  Like a Timberland type, which would be kind of like the lower end.

Tamara Rothstein:  Exactly.  Then you’ve got like these really high ones.  And I just think they’re just warm.  They’re comfortable.  They’re practical.  You can wear them with a black trouser and look smart.  I guess it’s like the man’s answer to a car shoe or something.  You know like those Tods car shoes that men wear in the summer, you don’t want to wear a sandal.  I think it’s like elevated hiking boots.  I mean, I just love them.  And then…

Me:  Just on the hiking boot, black or brown?

Tamara Rothstein:  Oh, it’s really hard.  I’ve got both.  Probably black.  It’s easier.  Then I think a good sandal.  And then I got, I think, some evening shoe of some kind for comfort.

Me:  Like London is so full of cobblestones and I feel like stilettos are the most impractical things unless you’re uber-ing everywhere.  But even then, you can hardly walk into the restaurant.

“A good hiking boot… They’re comfortable. They’re practical.  You can wear them with a black trouser and look smart.”

Tamara Rothstein:  Yeah.  You get your foot stuck in grooves and everything.  Cobblestones.

Me:  Yeah, you do.  Or you fall.  It’s like wedges all the way or nicer boots.

Tamara Rothstein:  Or like boots with a good heel.  I think like Celine always does a really good practical heel for a woman to wear.

Me:  And what do you do when it’s raining?  Like what do you walk around in?

Tamara Rothstein:  I love the rain.  I’m kind of one of those people who adore the rain.  I love the rain.  I was telling somebody else out there the rain just makes me so happy.  It’s like the sound of it.

Me:  You’re in the right city.

Tamara Rothstein:  I know.  I just love it.  I just love when like there’s no one about in the rain.  It’s just heavenly.  I think for me it’s just some kind of waterproof jacket.  Whether it’s like a leather or something just to keep it off you.  I mean, I’m not really an umbrella person.

Me: What is your go-to bag to carry?

Tamara Rothstein:  Probably at the moment it is this one.  It’s the Mansur Gavriel.

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Me:  The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag.

Tamara Rothstein:  But I also think… there are other bags I really like.  I sometimes just like carrying a canvas bag.  It’s light and I can get quite a bit in it and out of it.  I just feel a bit freer with it because it’s less precious.

That’s the really good thing about these Mansur bags that they do weigh nothing.  I can’t have a bag that’s heavy.  It just doesn’t work for me.

More London chatting with Tamara next time!!

 

Shop Tamara’s recommendations

COATS!

LACE UP BOOTS!

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