“She was right. A hundred percent right.” Jessel Taank tells me she agrees with fashion icon and fellow housewife Jenna Lyons that her choice of mixing an Alexander Wang jacket with a Balenciaga bag simply wasn’t the best call. *Note: This was before the Balenciaga scandal of it all, the crime was just mixing one too many designer labels.* But Jessel isn’t just open to fashion criticism for anyone. “What I will say is if any of those other girls said it to me, I would probably not have listened. But Jenna Lyons, you have to take note.”
We’re three episodes into the new season of Real Housewives of New York, and the cast is settling in and showing off their personalities, apartments, and personal style. Jessel is the first-ever Indian housewife and she’s got an insanely impressive resume. She’s worked for Conde Nast International, Stall McCartney, Celine, Victoria Backham and Michael Kors, making her a bonafide fashion expert. I asked her a series of fast fashion questions (as in, quick questions about fashion, not questions about Zara and Forever 21), and you’ll want to take notes.
FAST FASHION QUESTIONS WITH JESSEL TAANK
Starting off, describe your personal style.
So it depends on my mood. My day-to-day is very easy, comfortable. I’m a jeans girl through and through… But when I am going for it, more is more. So, I love to glam it up. And I think that comes from just being Indian and wanting to stand out from the crowd.
More is more. That’s my new motto. What was your biggest fashion regret as a kid?
I think it was following the crowd. As a kid, you always want to fit in and you always want to do what’s cool and what’s accepted. And I never liked half the crap I wore, because it wasn’t really my style. But it was what everyone else was doing. I think I’ve definitely evolved since that. But I really wish I would’ve listened to my own aesthetic and sense of style as a kid and gone with my gut, but instead I was a little bit more of a follow-the-crowd type of personality.
Is there a trend you hope never comes back?
Oh my God, we used to call them shell suits? They were the suits with the shiny material in the eighties. Anything that makes a noise when you’re walking is definitely a faux pas, but especially those. Those were hideous and they were such a thing. And I just remember wearing them as a kid and everyone used to know when I was coming, because you could hear me.
That swish-swish sound will haunt me. What’s the sexiest thing you can wear? Assuming it’s something that doesn’t make noise.
The sexiest thing. So I love a little peekaboo moment. I think anything that is a cutout that shows a little bit of the hip, waist situation is very sexy. And it leaves you wanting a little bit more. But, I love that. I’m a big fan of a cutout.
And what about the east sexy thing you can wear?
I think that I’m not a big fan of the super low-low cut stuff. I have big boobs. And so I think that anything that shows cleavage in not a flattering way isn’t the best.
If you’re wearing your sexiest outfit, what’s the most fashionable cocktail you can drink?
Well, can I say two? My husband’s a big scotch drinker and The Glenlivet does this amazing cocktail called “I Always Bring The Flavor.” It’s a spicy, almost like cinnamon-y cocktail. And then, my go-to, because I have kids, I literally need coffee all the time, and so I drink espresso martinis, as you probably saw on the show. I would do the scotch with a dinner and then maybe an espresso martini with tequila for a cocktail.
If you could switch wardrobes with any of your cast mates who would it be?
This is what everyone else will tell you. They’ll say Jenna, just because she has such a great archive of clothes. But I’m not going to sleep on Ubah. I think Ubah’s closet is truly sensational, and she’s got that same vibe that I have where she loves to dress up. So when we were actually on the cast trip, she was my roommate, and we ended up switching a lot of our clothes, because we have the same aesthetic. So I would have to say Ubah.
Okay, I have to end on a shady q: Who is your worst dressed cast mate?
Oh my God, I don’t want to answer that. That’s so shady. Okay… she’s not the worst dressed by any means. Well, first of all, we all make fashion mistakes. I’m going to say that. I think that there are moments where even me, I’m like, “What the heck am I wearing in that scene?” I think that Erin, she’s very girl next door, which is not a bad thing by any means, but it’s not really my style. I’m obviously a little bit more extravagant and flamboyant. I think some of the other girls are too, but she does it really well. So it’s not a negative in any way. It’s just not what I would gravitate towards.