Fashion Designer Elie Tahari Shares Style Tips

Spring is in full swing. And just as the flowers are blossoming, perhaps so is the desire to show up in the world with renewed vitality, a refreshed wardrobe included. Fashion designer Elie Tahari is a master of pivoting with panache: He gained fame as a sought-after designer of business suits before bringing his polished aesthetic to casual wear and separates. A new documentary, The United States of Elie Tahari, spotlights his rise to prominence in the fashion industry. “It was truly an honor to share my life and experiences this way,” says Tahari, who sat down with Oprah Daily to talk about the state of fashion, the film, the spring trends he’s most excited about, and how to find the perfect balance of comfort and style this season and beyond.

There’s a new film about your life and work—tell us about it.

Elie Tahari: It was truly an honor to be asked to share my life and experiences this way. The United States of Elie Tahari means so much to me. I think most people will see it as an example of the American Dream. I came to New York from Israel with $100 in my pocket and never left. Through a lot of hard work and desire, I managed to create something for myself and for my family, and I hope the documentary gives people hope. I want people to believe that anything is possible, and I especially want my kids to learn that from their dad. No matter where you are in life, you can achieve and dream and make it to the top if that’s what you want, but don’t let other people define your idea of ​​success. Be true to yourself and the goals you set for yourself.

Do you think comfort is now an integral part of the style equation for designers?

ET: Comfort is key, but I’ve always believed in that. I think when you go out, dress up and look chic! And when you dress more casually, it should feel relaxed and comfortable but with style. Never sacrifice that. Working with fabrics that feature more stretch and won’t wrinkle is a very important part of designing for me as well as creating classic pieces that will last for multiple seasons.

How has workplace dressing changed since the pandemic after so many worked from home for so long?

ET: Clothes have definitely become more relaxed, with a sporty edge, but everything was already headed in that direction. There’s no reason not to look good on Zoom even if your colleagues are only seeing the top half. This is where color and print become important, making a bold statement but also creating a classic look. Some of my favorite tops from my line are the primrose printed crinkle silk chiffon style that has a boho vibe and can be worn with our vegan leather pants.

What do you think women should consider buying for the new season?

ET: I love color. I always have. Our spring collection is alive with it. Some of my favorites are the embroidered halter midi dress in a soft lemon-drop shade and the short-sleeved dart dress in orchid.

For styling, I like mixing pieces [with different vibes] for a more modern take. For example, wear a tailored blazer with a utility pant and T-shirt. For a luxe take on casual, I love a sporty hoodie sweater but in cashmere to make it comfortable. For day, I recommend pairing a vibrant silk satin camisole with a white jean. Have fun, mix it up, and break the rules.

What about accessories—what’s exciting in that space?

ET: Women are carrying less, just the essentials. My spring collection has some gorgeous crossbody bags. I also think shoes can define a look. A pair of strappy sandals can turn denim sexy, or a platform sneaker can sport up a chic dress.

What do you want your legacy to be?

    ET: I’m a blessed man. I had the opportunity to chase my dreams and see them realized, but of all the gifts I’ve been given in life, nothing compares to the gift of being a father. I have two amazing children, both entering young adulthood. I could not love them more or be prouder of them as they begin their journeys and chase their own dreams. I hope to inspire them as they are coming into their own and navigating their own futures. Following my passions is what led to my success. I only want the same for my children.

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