How to Shop The RealReal with Beauty Marketer Charlotte Cleary
Meet Charlotte. Charlotte makes sure I have the lowdown on each New York Fashion Week so I can pretend like I know what I’m talking about.
But don’t let her designer-packed closet fool you—she shops economically and sustainably, on the hunt for secondhand. Think more sitting on the couch online consignment shopping on The RealReal and less stuck in Union Square at Saks.
So, who are you? :)
Hi, I’m Charlotte. I‘ve lived in San Francisco for 5 years now and I work in marketing for Marc Jacobs Beauty. Working at a cosmetics or fashion company is pretty rare in San Francisco since most people are in tech. It’s definitely fun telling people what I do because it is surprising.
How do you describe your style?
My style is pretty simple. I tend to think pretty hard before making a purchase. Some people, like my mother, might chalk to up to indecisiveness which drives her crazy. I really need to know I like something and I really need it in my wardrobe before I buy it. I tend to gravitate towards denim, white, grey, and black. I don't have too many prints or patterns (minus leopard). I like pretty simple things I can throw on all together.
How has your style changed?
l used to think the clothes I bought had to be by a certain designer but I learned pretty quickly that doesn't mean it's the best quality or the best piece of clothing. I also rarely buy things full price anymore and have gotten really into The RealReal luxury consignment website. You do have to go in knowing what you're looking for but I’ve found some really great things on there. I bought a leopard print Elizabeth and James bag for only $100 I have gotten too many compliments on. It’s been really great to find staples for my wardrobe that wouldn’t be able to really get at regular, non-secondhand full price.
I have also bought a number of structured blazer jackets on there. I found 2 Isabel Marant jackets and I just got an IRO bouclé jacket for $85 when it retailed for $430. I wear a lot of jeans and t-shirts and I think this type of jacket makes me look a bit more pulled together. It's such an easy way to feel like you have an actual outfit on. You wear a jacket over a t-shirt and it looks just as polished as wearing a solo silk blouse…but with the blouse you can only wear once and then you have to dry clean it.
What is your go-to look?
Lately I've gotten into loose-fitting jeans opposed to skinny jeans. I love this pair of Madewell white boyfriend jeans with a ripped hem. I’ll pair that with a pretty simple top. If I’m going out I’ll wear a bilk silk tank top with a leather jacket and a nicer pair of shoes. These are Chanel—I splurged.
What's a piece in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?
And hoops, I have a penchant for hoop earrings.
I got a pair of hoops in the 10th grade when I was shopping with my grandmother. And after that the accessory became very special for me. I know they are a big trend but I think they are timeless and I’ll continue to wear them, whether it is a nice gold pair or tortoise shell.
When did you start getting into fashion?
Freshman year of high school I discovered Shopbop. I wouldn't buy anything but I would look at the ‘What’s New’ section to see what was out there. Since then I have always enjoyed staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the fashion world.
I didn’t work in fashion until this past year. Once I started working in this industry it’s been fun dressing for work. And when I dress well it makes me feel better about the day.
How do you make sure you’re not falling into the trends while still understanding what is going on in the designer fashion world?
I like to keep my looks classic and simple but it don't want to look like everyone else. I think I have an eye for something that works well for me and I’ll wear that a lot. It's nice to also get something that's not from the same place that everyone is shopping, that is possibly secondhand.
How do you find these pieces that you know will work for you?
You can create feeds for things you are looking for on The RealReal so I have an IRO jacket feed, shoes in 9 1/2 feed, and an Isabel Marant jacket feed. I’ll go through phases. Somethings I’ll scour them everyday and then maybe take a break on them for a month. So I’ll check on those. Most of the brands I have ordered I haven’t actually owned before and it’s worked out. Jackets are also easier to buy online than maybe say a dress or a skirt fit-wise too. I go in with an idea of what I want in mind, certain designers that I am looking for, and go from there.
How has your style changed?
I had a lot of flower-print dresses I wore to tailgates during college. And short denim shorts, I said goodbye to those. My style in college was all over the place and I have gotten more streamlined now. I try not to impulse buy things anymore.
I have realized there are certain cuts of shirts I really like that work for me. My mom laughs now because I refused to wear them growing up but I love a classic turtleneck cut. I wore a pink one once on a date and the person I was seeing said I looked like Steve Jobs. We are no longer dating.
I also like mock neck tank tops, high neck cuts in general. It’s less about what is trending anymore and what is flattering for me.
What brands do you love?
I like All Saints jackets a lot. I bought a pair of Freda Salvador mules over a year ago and I've gotten a lot of use out of those. I like my Isabel Marant jackets. I do like rag & bone for jackets and jeans. I discovered & Other Stories, owned by H&M, in NYC and I'm really starting to like the store. I also buy Grana for basics and Clare V. for accessories.
What's your advice on finding a style and building a closet you love?
If you really like something and it makes you feel good you should buy it versus what someone else tells you to buy. It is also a lot of trial and error. You can try a less expensive version first [think thrift!] and if it is a style you like you can then invest more in that look. It’s about you, not someone else.