Behind the tote: Jess Warinner

From where-to-eat to how-to-wear, Jess Warinner is the LT girl to go to. Her hair is always right, lipstick bright and she manages to make yoga pants look chic. After studying apparel design and merchandising in San Francisco and Milan, Jess found her way into the restaurant industry. Eight years and mixing some mean cocktails later, she was ready for a change, and very ready for a day job. Enter: Le Tote! Over to Jess for more on wanderlust, women’s wardrobes and some more things in between.

jess travel collage

  • What’s your travel style? Itinerary-based, planned till the last meal, or are you the spontaneous kind?

I would say it’s a combination; depends on where I am going and who I am going with. For the most part I travel by myself. It’s the easiest, plus I’m a selfish traveler — I want to go where I want to go and do things that I want to do! If I’m going some place I’ve never been to before, I do some research and maybe pick up a guide book, make a list of 3 or 4 high points but I definitely don’t plan out a set day-by-day itinerary. I also like to pick up some restaurant recommendations if I happen to know someone who’s been there. Also, when I get to my destination, I always make it a point to talk to locals there — maybe people who work at the hotel or at the cafe. And I definitely recommend keeping some time aside for wandering around!

sf jess

  • If you to had to recommend five experiences that someone visiting San Francisco shouldn’t leave  without, what would they be?

1. A (or multiple) cocktail and dessert at Nopa on Divisadero.
2. A walk through Land’s End from Sea Cliff to Sutro Baths, stopping to go down to the Labyrinth.
3. A movie at Balboa Twin. It’s an old movie theatre, they have sloped floors and velvet seats that fold down and you can even sneak wine in!
4. Grabbing a bottle of wine and a bunch of snacks from Bi-Rite and sitting at Dolores Park on a nice day.
5. The fifth one is super touristy but always fun and one of favorite things to do with visitors —Musée Mécanique down on Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a video arcade with vintage games. Get a roll of quarters and play away. They also have an awesome black and white photo booth that actually prints developed photos instead of digital prints. And finally, finish the day with a shrimp sandwich from the wharf.

  • What is your favorite feature of Le Tote?

I love the fact that I can have a big wardrobe without paying a huge amount of money for it. Le Tote allows me to be plan-oriented with my wardrobe. Every time I feel I have a gap in my closet, I try to use Le Tote to fill the gap and I succeed 75-85 % of the time. This works very well for me since I am an investment shopper and don’t purchase anything I don’t intend on holding on to longterm.

  • If you were being whisked away for a trip, what would you put in your tote as your MVPs?

My 5 travel MVPS would have to include a scarf since I can’t live without one when I go on vacation. It’s perfect for dressing up an LBD for dinner, keeping you warm in freezing museums and you can even tie it around your swimsuit for a DIY cover up. My tote would also have to have a great simple dress. Wear it out to dinner, and then throw a knotted t-shirt or tank over it the next day with sneakers for a casual day of sightseeing. Also, 100% poly means that the wrinkles hang out really easily. Another easy to wear piece is this tee that goes with everything — jeans, a skirt, shorts. It’s super classic and always flattering. It’s also great to layer, if you get too hot you can pull it off and tie it around your waist (or stuff it in that oversized carry all). I don’t bring a lot of jewelry when I travel so this necklace is perfect to leave on for a whole trip (and the layering and mixed metals are really on trend). Finally, this great jacket that’s perfect for throwing on as an extra layer during the day, but also classy enough to wear out to dinner. It’s a neutral color so you don’t have to worry about matching since it matches everything already!

  • What makes for a good customer support professional? 

I think one of things that draws a certain type of person to customer service is their ability to empathize and to communicate. Communication is not just about what you are saying, it’s also about how you are saying it. Taking that extra time to think about what we want to say goes a long way. It’s also incredibly important to have an analytic mind and be able to work through a problem while seeing both sides of the story. It’s important to understand where each person is coming from and how they are seeing what they are seeing.

con jess

  • How would you describe your personal style?

For the most part, I would say my personal style is pretty tomboyish but with fairly feminine accessories. My go-to style is blue jeans (skinny or boyfriend) and a button-down. I love stilettos. It’s a tired adage but it’s true — confidence is half the battle won. When you feel good, you look good. So it’s a good idea to spend time analyzing what works for you and your body type to figure out what makes you feel good.

  • What according to you are the five must-haves in a woman’s wardrobe? 
  1. The perfect pair of jeans: It doesn’t matter who they are by and what style they are. They could be $11 or $150 but they have to make you feel good and you have to be able to dress them up or down.
  2. A good black bag: You should spend money on that bag and it should fit all the things you need it to fit without it being a suitcase or a diaper bag!
  3. A white button-down shirt: It should be a little bit big, a little boxy and it should show off your collar bones.
  4. A pair of bright high heels: You can wear a super simple outfit but if you have statement heels, it changes everything.
  5. The perfect layering piece: A really amazing heavy sweater or a coat that goes with everything.
  • Finally, do you have any shopping rules you swear by?I have a rule of 4. I try not to add anything in my wardrobe that I can’t wear 4 different ways. This rule applies not only to staples but also to trendy pieces. I have to be able to wear it in few different ways otherwise it’s not even worth that $6 on sale.

 

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