She’s a darling among street style photographers, but Caroline Issa is much more than an influencer. The London-based chief executive and fashion director of Tank (a biannual magazine on contemporary culture) and editor of online magazine Because exudes an effortless style that’s comfortable yet chic. Perhaps, it has something to do with how she did not start out in fashion.
The former management consultant (she graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a business degree) used to spend her days in coordinated navy, brown and black suits. After meeting Tank founder Masoud Golsorkhi by chance, she left consulting for the world of publishing.
The journey from boardroom to street-style star is something that Caroline regards as pure serendipity. “There was a convergence of street photographers and blogs,” she says. “Images of us just doing our jobs attending the shows were increasingly reproduced, and editors like me were suddenly brought to the forefront.”
In August last year, she added another feather to her cap, teaming up with designer Monica Vinader on an exclusive jewellery collection. Here, she shares her love for jewellery, how she approaches fashion, and the secrets to her style.
“Trends come and go. So if you have just one great piece of leopard in your wardrobe, you’re pretty much set – you don’t need 25 of those.”
1) Transition jewellery from day to night
“I love jewellery and I use it to play up an outfit. I am also a big believer of day to night dressing. So I’ll go to office in a black suit, but dress it up at night with big cocktail earrings. I have no time or ability to put makeup on – I just need easy things to fit into a really busy day. And a lot of times, that means not even changing for my dinners. So jewellery is a great way for me to add a little more zing at night.”
2) Play with layering
“I love a maximalist approach to jewellery. I usually stack my rings, but now I’m also stacking my necklaces, which is quite fun. I like playing with lengths – layering long necklaces with short ones. Another thing: Don’t be too precious about mixing metals. Now I’m wearing rose gold with gold and a little bit of silver . A lot of people think there’s a rule that you can’t mix and match metals, but I actually don’t think that’s true.”
3) Build a jewellery wardrobe
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Riding out an excellent #londonfashionweek full of beautifully made things we shall have to treasure forever, and colour coordinating with my lush ride with thanks to @bentleymotors – thanks for taking care of us (photo courtesy of my driver Rob. Sorry Rob! Don’t leave me Rob!)
“Having a really great jewellery wardrobe is as important as having great classics in your (clothes) wardrobe. Two things I wear every day: huggie earrings and a long necklace. I’m wearing this gold huggie with a small, tiny aquamarine and citrine. I also wear this long double gemstone necklace – it goes over shirts and sweaters to add some colour.”
4) Use Singapore as an inspiration
“My mum was from Singapore and I love Singapore (she lived here for a year in 2001). You guys taught me some good styling tips. It was always about layering, so that even in that cold air-conditioning, you look sharp. It’s about putting a smart jacket over a fun, flowy dress.”
5) Buy less, but better
“It’s fun to experiment with trends, but one should invest a little time – the same way we invest in health – to think about the clothes that make you feel good when you wear them. Invest in those, then use things like a new pair of shoes to play them up. Many of us are getting into this mindset of buying less but better, and I think that’s important, seeing what’s going on with our climate.”
The stylish eco-conscious brands she loves
Caroline is all for sustainability in fashion. “They can be eco-conscious brands that are made with real quality. They might be more expensive, but I think they will last longer. There are certain things that if you buy, you would never have to buy another like that again,” she says.
This article was first published in Her World’s March issue.