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. Model Paloma Elsesser (alongside her grandmother Audrey) recently starred in Coach’s holiday campaign, which features the launch of the house’s new Studio bag. Here, she sat with us to talk about the pen she calls “sexy,” the magical serum she uses until the last drop, and the rubber vase she likes to prank guests with.
A lot of people ask me where I get these tanks with such a great cropped fit, and I felt as though it was time to finally reveal my big tank secret: I’ve been wearing these ribbed tanks in boys’ sizes for a long time. It’s essentially a crop top on me without having to cut it or do anything. But they fit really well, so I’m not sacrificing tailoring either. And they’re so affordable. It’s essentially a loophole I’ve been using since high school, pretty much. I would say my style, above all else, is resourceful.
I like to surround myself with beautiful things, even for things as simple as a coffee maker. I investigated different kinds, and fell in love with this one. It’s beautiful but very simple to use. And I like the mechanics of it. I’m not an expert on how, but it makes a perfect cup of coffee every time. I drink just a classic cup of coffee with oat milk most often in the morning.
This is a really sexy pen. It flows nicely without leaking or bleeding through the paper. It has a fine point, which helps my chaotic penmanship. My handwriting is a blend between a 5-year-old boy and a middle-school girl with super-bubbly letters — fully chaotic and rushed. There are swirls and oscillating caps and cursive, and it’s all over the place. I’ve grown to appreciate it, but when I journal, I like something that flows so I don’t lose my train of thought, and the fine point makes my writing a bit more legible.
I don’t like notebooks that are too hard. I like them to get bendy and weird. I’ve tried a ton of different notebooks before and used composition books for a while, but these soft-covered ones just feel nice. These are also the perfect size. Smaller notebooks make my writing a little too crunchy, and bigger, hardback ones just add to the chaos, which I don’t need.
I’ve always been attracted to scent and sensitive to it in a good and bad way. Honestly, all of my memories are often centered on scent. When I started working in the industry, I got really excited about being able to participate in luxury scents. The first place I looked was Frederic Malle. The first perfume I bought from there was the most popular scent, which is “Portrait of a Lady.” It’s a beautiful scent, but at the time, I couldn’t really connect to it. I didn’t feel like I was that lady the perfumery described through the scent. So I went back and tested others, and found this one, which has this floral but not-too-summery scent. It blends well with my personal scent, too. It feels very much like me when I put it on.
Incense has been a holy and historic practice erected from generations and generations of different brown and Black communities. It’s a spiritual practice I believe in to help me live a very centered life, but it’s been co-opted into this idea that it’s all hippie crystal vibes or whatever. This doesn’t have any undertone of that. It’s not super-overpowering and smoky, like you’re walking straight into a seance. The scent is super-refined. I get an experience out of them that is a cultural contribution to my quality of life. It’s not cheap, but there are at least 100 little sticks within one box, and I only have to buy one box per year.
I would say this serum is pretty magical. It’s a powerful sentiment when an entire brand can sustain itself off one product over the years. There are so many brands constantly following trends and releasing new products every week, but Vintner’s Daughter stays very true to what they believe works. The oil is really luxurious. It has a beautiful smell. It’s light enough where I can put it on by itself during the day or put a moisturizer on top at night. I use the bottle until I have to bang it against my hand to get the very last drop out.
I’ve been obsessed with the artist Gaetano Pesce since I started appreciating and really getting into design about 10 years ago, when I finally had a dollar to my name. I’ve always loved how he plays with material in an almost childish but experimental way. He’s famous for this subset of his larger work done for this brand called Fish Design — obviously connected to his last name — which has all these weird, rubberized vases and trays and placemats and things like that. The vases are the probably the most prominent examples of the fish line, and I’ve collected them over the years. I have two little ones that sit by my bed, which is where I put my earrings and watch at the end of the day. I have a smaller one for my toothbrush. I keep this large nugget vase in the middle of my dining room table. There’s one in my kitchen where I keep lemons and limes. They bring me so much joy. When people come over, it’s fun to knock the vessels over and people panic thinking that they’re glass, but actually it’s rubber, so it won’t break.
With a lot of outfits, I like to find one item that will be my centerpiece, then I’ll build my outfit around it, regardless if it’s a pair of jeans or a really amazing bag. This bag definitely has a vintage-inspired spirit, and because it’s a little more ornate, I would wear it with something a bit more contemporary and skewed toward a masculine silhouette, like Carhartt work pants with a turtleneck and menswear jacket. [Editor’s note: Elsesser is a face of Coach’s holiday campaign.] I like the smaller size of it: I can keep a wallet, little notebook, headphones, and lip balm in there. But I don’t really know if I can say it holds all my essentials, because no matter what size my bag is, it will often just be filled with garbage. For whatever reason, I always carry ten million receipts, pens with lost caps, gum wrappers, and whatever else that could definitely be thrown away, but I keep it all like some sort of garbage bag lady.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.