What I Wear to Work: Tanya Taylor

Relying on instinct helps the designer look and feel her best.

Designer Tanya Taylor in her studio
(Image credit: Tanya Taylor)

In a bi-weekly series, we're interviewing female executives, founders, and CEOs on their "power suit," a.k.a. the outfit they wear to conquer whatever the job throws at them.

Black suits with white button-ups: The stuffy dress codes enforced during Tanya Taylor's first profession (finance) ultimately led her down a different career path— that of a fashion designer. "That uniform was stifling all versions of myself," recalls Taylor, so she enrolled in a fashion course at Central Saint Martins in London and applied to the design program at Parsons in New York City.

Her first post-grad fashion internship with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's line, Elizabeth and James, ignited Taylor's excitement for contemporary fashion: ready-to-wear with a designer aesthetic at an accessible price point. "I found the contemporary industry so challenging. [The customer] is a real person, with a real body, with a real budget, and I wanted to take that on," she explains.

Through Taylor's involvement with the Vogue Fashion Fund and their mentorship resources, Taylor was able to get her eponymous fashion line off the ground. "My philosophy towards what I want to create has been emotionally instinctual. I have stories I want to tell through my collections and know the women I want to speak to," Taylor says. "That approach has helped build something that feels personal and inclusive, and it's given me purpose." Now, celebrating 10 years in the business, and leading a team of 30 women, Taylor explains how the office can be the best source of fashion inspiration and why excellent tailoring is the key to looking confident in her work wardrobe.

Tanya Taylor posing in her studio

Taylor in her studio.

(Image credit: Tanya Taylor)

On Her Morning Routine:

Usually, I'm up at 7:00 a.m. On Mondays, I play tennis at the Midtown Tennis Club, and that's my favorite way to start the week. On other days, I wake my kids up at 7:30. I have two boys, 4-and-a-half and almost 2 years old, and I make them breakfast. I like to go all out with way too much sugar. It's how I grew up. I do French toast, waffles, and sometimes pancakes. And I can do it fast—I can whip it up and finish breakfast by 8:30.

About two days a week, I go to a breakfast meeting near where I live in the West Village and then head to the studio. It's my happy place.

Tanya Taylor sitting on her desk

Taylor in her office.

(Image credit: Tanya Taylor)

On Creating Outfits:

I take seven to 10 minutes to throw an outfit together quickly. If I overanalyze my outfit, it stifles my creativity.

I layer a lot, and I always have some play on texture. I wear our collection every day, so I often pepper in pieces that compliment that. I like investing in bold designer items that I can layer with our neutrals. I buy a lot of Totême for basics and accessories. We don't do that much tailoring, so I'll pair a gorgeous Celine blazer or trouser with one of our feminine pieces. I buy a lot of vintage sweaters, sweater sets, and outerwear—Loulou Studio has excellent knitwear. I just purchased this old Dries Van Noten hot pink satin bra, and I want to wear it over our cotton T-shirt dress.

Tanya Taylor on the city streets

Taylor modeling her signature layering.

(Image credit: Tanya Taylor)

On The Details:

I like when my print or color story feels like you want to look closer. I like deciding where the boldness and volume are. Comfort is also so important. I'm standing most of the day, walking around the studio, in the design room, and moving things around. I need details, like pockets, so I can carry my phone. I wear clothes very realistically.

Shop Tanya's Favorite Pieces

Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director for Marie Claire, where she's worked alongside the publication for eight years in various roles, ensuring the brand's fashion content continues to inform, inspire, and shape the conversation about fashion's ever-evolving landscape. With a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara is responsible for overseeing a diverse fashion content mix, from emerging and legacy designer profiles to reported features on the influence of social media on style and seasonal and micro trends across the world's fashion epicenters in New York, Milan, and Paris. Before joining Marie Claire, Sara held fashion roles at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine and Self Magazine and was a style and travel contributor to Equinox's Furthermore website. Over her decade of experience in the fashion industry, Sara has helped guide each brand's style point of view, working alongside veteran photographers and stylists to bring editorial and celebrity photo shoots to fruition from start to finish. Sara currently lives in New York City. When she's not penning about fashion or travel, she’s at the farmer’s market, on a run, working to perfect her roasted chicken recipe, or spending time with her husband, dog, and cat. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork