The Philippine Star
Tessa Alindogan: A stylish breaker of fashion rules
Every now and then you meet a completely stylish individual who really attracts your interest and makes you stop for a few moments in admiration. This for me is Tessa Alindogan.
Tessa Alindogan wears many hats. Apart from being an accomplished interior designer, she is also a gifted visual artist and contributing editor to Metro Home and
Entertaining magazine. I first met Tessa more than 20 years ago. She was having me make a couple of suits for her and I immediately noticed her discerning eye for composition, balance and flare. Working with her was something I completely enjoyed. We developed a deep and lasting friendship and I have had the privilege of being the very first person to buy her painting, encouraging her to continue her art and pursuing her painting.
I love many things about Tessa but what stands out immediately is her personal style. At a recent event I found myself once more admiring her style and we struck up a conversation; and I thought how wonderful it would be to share this with everyone.
RAJO LAUREL: How do you define your process of dressing up?
TESSA ALINDOGAN: I’m a believer in dressing up properly for the occasion, so I try to find out what the mood is: casual, formal, or fun. I then go through my closet, just to see what piece will pop up, be it a pair of shoes, a suit, a top or a pair of pants. I use that as my base and build around it until I find the perfect balance of color, texture and symmetry. Next, I try it on in front of a full-length mirror. When I am satisfied with my look, I then decide on my accessories. For example, when wearing a suit, I will add a pocket square or a brooch. Occasionally, a cravat. We have to bring cravats back in style! Then, I choose a bag, belt, eyeglasses, watch, jewelry and perfume. Because scents are important to the whole look! Finally, I send the outfit to be pressed, wear the clothes, take a final look and I am out the door. Where do you shop?
The bulk of my shopping is done abroad: Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Korea and the US. I like to browse all types of boutiques at malls, outlets, discount stores and alleyway fashion. Upcoming designers of the particular country I happen to be in are my favorite finds. In Manila, I like Uniqlo and Zara. For my suits, I go to Joey Samson and Jinggo Inoncillo for pants. When I get adventurous and try my hand at designing my own, I bring my designs to a trusted sastre along Alabang Zapote Road. How do you shop, alone or with a friend?
I think shopping is an experience that can be a personal one or to be shared with loved ones or friends. That being said, I do have moments where I shop alone or with my partner or my friends. I check out both the women’s and men’s fashion and once in a while, even the children’s department because I fit well into children’s sizes 14-16! What are your favorite colors?
Just like in my interior design practice, I am attracted to a palette of muted colors such as black, white, gray, dark blue, olive green and khaki. Every now and then, I may pick up also several pieces in bold hues like royal blue, orange, yellow and red. The same goes for shoes, belts and accessories. Who or what are your style influences?
I would like to think that I am my own style influencer. I have always been a breaker of rules of dressing — I’m unconventional! I marry both men’s and women’s fashion and adapt it to my own preferred taste and comfort level. I find inspiration in social media, blogs, websites and the experiences I have when I travel. What are your favorite labels, designers, scents, and accessories?
While there really are a lot of great brands out there, both local and “Someone put baby in the corner”: “We represent every color” wearing a Regal double mink strap shoes, Massimo Dutti shirt and scarf by Harrod’s London global, I tend to pick Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga, CDG, Gucci, Jill Sander, Uniqlo, Zara, Adlib, and Gap.
For scents I like Creed Aventus, Terre de Hermès, Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire, and Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentree. What are your top five favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
Favorite pieces are fun because they always remind me of a feeling or a place.
I have a dark brown bomber jacket from Barneys (first present my partner gave me eight years ago), a pair of ripped-up Joe’s Jeans (they are the most comfortable), a white Uniqlo Lemaire button-down cotton shirt (love the cut and how it fits me) and hexagonal frames that I have in black, tortoise and faux black-and-white marble (found these at a shop in PMQ in HK and thought they were quite unusual. It is difficult to find a frame for myself because my face is small and I end up looking like Jackie O or a bumblebee when the frame is too big); and lastly, a pair of Heschung tan, white and French yellow brogues (they are quite unusual and I love everything about them). How many shoes do you have? So many that it could be a felony! Who cuts your hair? Rene of Bruno’s at ATC. Do you have a skin regimen or routine? Finally, yes! I have always been a delinquent when it comes to my daily skin regimen. However, I just recently started using the whole line of Usana Celavive. I noticed a difference in the texture of my skin. This encourages me to stick to this routine forever. Do you work out? What do you do to keep trim and healthy?
I was more active before and did all kinds of sports and used to go to the gym on a regular basis. But because of my busy schedule, I just try to walk around the village for 45 minutes when it’s not too warm or rainy. I still have to work on keeping it regular, though. Describe your style in five words. Mainstream classic with a twist. Have you always been an androgynous dresser? Yes, as far back as I can remember, but in my younger years, I would be required to wear gowns on special occasions due to my mother’s insistence.
*** In today’s world of homogenous styles where everyone ends up looking the same, Tessa is a refreshing reminder of how one should celebrate their individuality. This for me is deeply inspiring and something we should all learn from and celebrate.