Caroline Issa Will Make You Believe in Her “Buy Less but Buy Better” Shopping Mantra

When news broke that Nordstrom was partnering with Caroline Issa for a collection due out this fall, stylish women everywhere cheered (including Sophia, who cheered as loud as one can via a morning email sent to yours truly). As the fashion director of Tank Magazine, Issa is a highly visible fixture on the international street-style circuit and can be counted on for polished outfits that are, without fail, appropriate for the real world (so no itsy-bitsy minis or voluminous silhouettes that wouldn’t quite fold into a desk chair).


Q: When you started working on this collection, what were your initial goals? What did you want to accomplish?

Caroline Issa: I was sure I wanted to create a collection of essentials, pieces that would be versatile, that could be mixed and matched and work for day-to-night transitions. Long-lasting as opposed to trend-led. I wanted the customer to find clothes with luxurious, Italian-sourced fabrics [but] at a great value.

Q: What sort of pieces can we expect?

CI: Lots of pieces I’m known to love, like great tailored suiting, a silky pussy-bow blouse, a military jacket, a leather biker, and a fun, classic cashmere hoodie.

Q: Has designing always been an interest of yours?

CI: Creating beautiful and long-lasting things has been a part of my career for the past 13 years, whether it was a magazine, an ad, a website, or a pair of shoes. I was so excited to get the opportunity to explore a ready-to-wear collection with Nordstrom and see what we could create together.

Q: What’s your personal shopping motto?

CI: Buy less but buy better. To really invest in beautifully made, timeless pieces that’ll stay in your wardrobe for a lifetime instead of something you’ll wear once and either forget about or let hang unloved in your closet.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration?

CI: Magazine shoots, when stylists put things together in a way that’s surprising or exciting. Also women in my life who inspire me either with their style or productivity. With this collection, I looked back at some of the images I’d been collecting of female icons like Anjelica Huston, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, and also today’s inspiring style leathers like Jenna Lyons and Inès de la Fressange. I combined all that with a recent trip to Morocco that helped inspire the colors and patterns.

Q: Any pieces that you think every woman should have in her closet?

CI: Great shirting is key, as is a good tailored suit. A biker [jacket], a parka, and a leather coat are all great staples that you can dress up or down. Plus, cashmere every which way.

Q: What are you most excited to pull out and start wearing for fall?

CI: I love that this fall is such a great season for coats. I’ve invested in a few from Sacai’s excellent fall collection and can’t wait to start wearing them once it gets chilly.

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