celebrity shopping

What Carson Kressley Can’t Live Without

Photo: The Strategist; Photo: Getty Images

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Carson Kressley — who appears frequently as a guest judge on the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, on air now — about the planner he writes dance steps in, the “saucy” slippers he loves to collect, and the monogrammed towels he’s had for two decades.

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I never thought I would be the person who would be wearing a Lululemon-like athleisure pant. I held off as long as I possibly could, but then I was at some fancy shopping center in California and saw the Rhone store and thought, Gosh, I really could use an indestructible, easy, breezy black pair of pants to travel in. Rhone Spar pants are stretchy and comfy, but they still look a little tailored. They’re not made of thin material, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing jeggings or wind-suit pants from the ’90s. I don’t want to look like I’m cleaning out my basement even when I’m on an airplane. I’ve washed them 10,000 times and they still look exactly like they did when I bought them.

This is my go-to almost every season of the year. I probably have about 30 of them. They’re a great layering piece and they’re supersoft. They’re just a hug from Jesus, really. They’re also a good value, because they’re generally $397.50, and they’ve been that same price since I worked at Ralph Lauren in the late ’90s. They were a big investment back then and I couldn’t really afford them. They’re still a big investment, but I find that they’re the best ones as far as fit and durability.

I’ve worn them in the summer because if you are at the beach and it’s nighttime, it’s a little chilly, so you can pop on a sweater in a fun, summery color like baby blue or white. They give you that country-club panache with such a sense of ease, which is what I love about them.

I’m always traveling, so I use this as a weekend bag. I’ve tried all different kinds of bags, but this is the one I love the best. It can hold all of my books, my schedule, and my chargers. Because I’m such a road warrior, it just stays packed with all the travel essentials at all times. I have a rolling bag, too, and whenever I go on trips, even if it’s for a week, I still just take those two pieces.

I like the Greenwich because it has black accents instead of just the regular tan ones, so it’s a little more fierce and edgy. It’s also really roomy and it closes up so things aren’t falling out like if you had a tote bag. There’s a James Bond kind of sexiness about it that I really like, too.

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

I’m a very visual person, so I like to write everything down. Even when I was on Dancing With the Stars, if I had to do a dance, I would literally write down, “Turn left, move back three steps. Turn right.” I need to put pen to paper to seal something into my brain, and that’s true with my calendar, too. With this planner, I can look at a page and instantly know what I have every day for the next couple of months. I’m a big list person, too, and I find it very satisfying to cross stuff off when it’s done.

I’ve been a fan of SkinCeuticals since the early 2000s. I met them in Dallas during Queer Eye. They gave me some great products that I loved, and I’ve stuck with them since. I don’t like to have a million products, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because I’m cheap. I try to find the one or two that are super effective. For me, vitamin C is a wonder cure-all. I like this serum not just because it has vitamin C, but because it’s light. It doesn’t feel greasy, and I swear I can feel it doing something. The only weird thing is that sometimes I think it smells like smoked meats. I’ll think, What is happening? Is it smoking the top layer of my skin? But it works really well, so I’m a fan.

I used to be an Emergen-C person, but then I was doing the Miss Universe pageant in Israel last year and the travel for that is so insane. You travel for two days and then you get there and it’s like, “Hi, you’re on-camera.” One of my producers had these Liquid IV packs and I’ve sworn by them ever since. You put them in water and they’re good for energy and hydration. I try to do one of these a day, especially when I’m traveling because I would much rather try to fend off a cold or COVID early rather than actually getting sick. My favorite flavor is tangerine.

These are a preppy classic. They’re little velvet slippers that you can wear out of the house, but they call them slippers. They’re super comfortable and have a lot of flair. They’re pricey, but they don’t cost a fortune. I actually collect them now, too, so besides being a shoe, they’re a hobby, which is very dangerous. I have about 30 pairs. I went to a formal thing over the holidays and wore a black velvet pair. I have linen ones that I wear when I go to Palm Beach or L.A. I just got ones with carriages on them, and then I got fox heads because I love foxes. They can be kind of saucy, too. Like, you’ll have a screw on one and a “U” on the other.

I bought these towels 20 years ago when I got my apartment in New York City. I went to Waterworks, picked them out, had them monogrammed, and I’ve had them ever since. I was washing them the other day and thought, Wait. How long have I had these? They’ve just held up beautifully. The monograms add an extra layer of personalization, too, and it makes you feel like you’re in a fancy hotel. I have the white ones with black trim.

I actually just went to the Waterworks store in Dallas this weekend and literally hauled the sales associate over. I said, “I just have to get this off my chest. These are the most amazing towels. They’re indestructible. They look amazing. They were an investment, but it was well worth it.” She said, “We hear that all the time.”

I like to have a candle in my home and when I’m traveling, just because I like the vibe and the smell. Votivo makes really great ones, and red currant is my go-to, especially in the winter. It’s so delicious-smelling. It kind of smells like the holidays. They make a small one in a glass jar that I carry when I travel and I always get stopped at security like, “Ma’am, what is this?” Now I’ve gotten to the point where I just pull it out and put it on the conveyor belt so they can see it’s a candle.

The hunt for a good pair of jeans is never-ending. I tell this to people all the time, but when you find your jeans, buy multiple pairs, because inevitably they’re going to get discontinued or the company is going to go away. This is my color. I’m wearing them right now. They’re a medium-blue indigo, which I like because I don’t like a faded jean. I like a true-blue, 1970s American jean, even though these are from Holland. They’re slim, but they’re not skinny, so I don’t look like a cake pop when I’m wearing them. They’ll stop making these some day, though, and I’m sure I will rue the day.

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What Carson Kressley Can’t Live Without