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 at Marie Claire, covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to. Over her six years with Marie Claire, Sara has reported on the ever-evolving world of fashion— covering both established and emerging designers within the industry. Sara has held fashion positions at Lucky and SELF Magazine and was a regular contributor to Equinox’s Furthermore website, where she wrote across their style, wellness, and travel verticals. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and currently resides in Manhattan. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork.