Pare down your wardrobe, streamline your shopping habits.
Welcome to our How to Shop Like series, where we spotlight personalities within the fashion industry and take a deeper look at their personal relationships with fashion and how they shop—think all the best insider tips and tricks. This week we're chatting with designer and founder of Lutz Morris Tina Lutz.
In terms of getting dressed, the concept of a uniform is one riddled with clichés. Our minds jump to visions of Anna Wintour clad in floral shifts, Carolina Herrera in her white shirt and full skirt, even Steve Jobs in a black sweater and jeans. A common trope of creatives, the commentary around the subject is reductive, centered around everything you can't do with a uniform. But there are also so many possibilities it opens up. Not only does a uniform provide you with a guide to pointed shopping, it allows you to craft a sort of identity within the realm of fashion.
Tina Lutz, founder of ethically minded leather goods brand Lutz Morris, counts herself a fan of uniform dressing. Her sartorial outline relegates her style choices to a neutral color palette, white accessories, and an array of trench and peacoats—you'll find no girly prints here. While it sounds uber-specific, Lutz has found that she genuinely loves everything she owns, relishing in a certain "her-ness" of it all. For these reasons, her shopping is efficient and waste free. She knows exactly what she wants and only buys things she knows she will wear. Below, Lutz is divulging her tips and tricks for streamlined shopping.
Shop Tina's Current Picks:
When did you first fall in love with fashion?
"Looking through fashion magazines at the age of 10, I fell in love with a jacket that was ridiculously expensive. It was a fisherman's jacket with lots of pockets, loops, and zippers on the front. It became the object of my obsession. I showed the jacket to our elderly neighbor whose house I cleaned once a week and told her that I wanted to clean more to save up for the jacket.
"Instead, she offered to teach me how to make it myself. We decided to keep it our secret, and whenever I had a free moment, I snuck over to her house to work on the jacket. Between making the pattern and sewing on her foot-paddle sewing machine, it took months to finish. When the jacket was ready, I put it on, went back home, and rang the doorbell. My mom opened the door, saw me in the jacket, and asked, 'Where did you get the money to buy that jacket?!' That was the best compliment ever! I got a sewing machine for my next birthday, and from that moment on I couldn't be stopped. My fashion future was sealed. I still have that jacket."
Why did you decide to launch your own line?
"Lutz Morris is the second line I've launched (my first brand was the knitwear label Lutz & Patmos). I love creating a brand from the ground up, as it allows me to express my values. Lutz Morris is about making things right with heart and soul. After decades in ready-to-wear and knitwear, I was drawn to the product design element of accessories. I love bags, but not 'It' bags or logos or flash-in-the-pan trends. Lutz Morris is made in my native Germany, sourced locally and responsibly, supports artisans, and gives back to the charity EveryMotherCounts."
Fashion versus style—what's the difference?
"The longer I work in fashion, the more I avoid quick-burnout fashion trends because of their short life cycle and effect on the environment. To me, style is longer-lasting. It is about not wanting everything, but wanting a few of the right things, made consciously and with purpose—making them work for years, not just a season. It is looking for a connection with the things you choose to bring into your life."
Do you have a uniform?
"I love that question, as I am the biggest uniform dresser. I just did a major trans-Atlantic move and narrowed down my belongings by 90 percent. Having had the same style for decades, I ended up owning multiple versions of the same thing. The challenge was to pare it down and only keep the best.
"Here is my uniform in a list:
"First, the NOs:
• "No girly clothing—I love menswear and share a lot of blazers and shirts with my husband.
• "No skirts, no dresses—instead I have a huge weakness for jumpsuits.
• "No prints—the only patterns I wear are mariner stripes, mini polka dots, and the occasional plaid.
• "No trends—instead I love good classics that last for years.
• "Neutral color palette only—in order of preference: navy, white, army green, denim, camel, grey, black.
• "I have rarely met a trench coat or peacoat I don't like.
• "I prefer white shoes and bags to any other color.
• "I have a weakness for drop-crotch pants."
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Lutz
Favorite thing to splurge on?
"Travel! Nothing beats the experience of diving into a foreign culture. Highlights have been our three-month trip through Southeast Asia and Africa. And anything from Le Pure. I had the most sensitive breakout[-prone] skin until I discovered their completely chemical-free, organic, luxury skin-care line."
Favorite purchase of all time?
"My Crombie coat from Céline (with accent!). Looking for it in other colors in size 38, if anyone has one in the back of their closet. And my original Braun record player designed by Dieter Rams from 1962."
Where do you look for inspiration for your collections? Is your answer the same in terms of your own style?
"I love to be inspired by anything and everything. I even find things I dislike inspiring because they show me what to stay away from."
What has designing taught you about fashion?
"Trends come and go. And then they come again and go again. And again. I learned to stay true to my design aesthetic regardless of the ebb and flow of fashion trends. This consistency gives me great comfort and stability, knowing that I love what I love no matter what others do or say."
Which stores do you frequent?
"We are still in full lockdown in Berlin, with only essentials stores open. Our organic grocery store has been my physical shopping highlight for months! Online, Pamono is my go-to to furnish our apartment in Berlin."
What would your closet be full of if money were no object?
"I love it just as it is. It was so hard to narrow down my closet to what it is right now—so my favorite shop is currently my closet. I've found so many beautiful forgotten things that I am excited to wear again. One of my rediscoveries is a true Helmut Lang navy blazer circa 1999. The cut and fabric are still perfection! And (I saved up months for this one) a Burberry trench from 1998—can't go wrong with that one. I want to hold on to the motto 'Live with less, and consume more consciously.' It is truly freeing. #buylessbuybetter"
Vintage or new?
"A balanced mixture of both."
The mark of a great outfit?
"I feel that every great outfit needs what I call a 'PR piece': a piece that stands out because it is special or because of its exquisite quality, thus putting a twist on what others might call a 'classic' outfit. It can be a bag, a pair of shoes, a beautiful coat or sweater, or a special pant."
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Lutz
Best fashion advice you ever received?
"When I had my brand Lutz & Patmos, I had the chance to collaborate with Jane Birkin. I spent an afternoon with her in her apartment in Paris to chat and design. I have admired her style since my teens, and it was mind-blowing to get a peek into her closet and see her favorite things.
"She gave me two great pieces of advice that I still follow to this day:
- "Never buy your clothes too tight. Bigger is better, as it makes you look slimmer when the garment drapes in a cool and slouchy way.
- "This one is funny, but I tried it and she is right: Buy your shoes one size bigger and put sheepskin insoles in all of them. Converse sneakers have never been more comfortable!"
Favorite sustainable fashion brands?
"Hands down ANOTHER TOMORROW. This is the only sustainable brand that should be allowed to use the word sustainable, a brand who walks the talk. I am in awe of what Vanessa Barboni Hallik and Jane Chung have created."
What are the top five most worn items in your wardrobe?
Favorite people to follow on Instagram?
"There are too many to mention, but I really like to 'online-travel' through my friend Yolanda's Instagram. Can't wait to step into her travel footsteps when real life opens back up!"
Photos: Courtesy of Tina Lutz
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