The Full Monty on Tess

new york style

Definition: The Full Monty: 
British slang phrase.  It is generally used to mean “everything which is necessary, appropriate, or possible; β€˜the works’”
.     .     .

Over the years, I have always asked people where did you get that shoe, that dress, that bag (hence the “I had to ask” section).  So much so that I wanted to start a wardrobe series that goes further.

First up is Tess Rueth who I met at her home in Brooklyn. 


Fendi heels from the Fendi boutique 

Fendi bag from Barneys

“The Fendi bag is from Barneys and most of my friends think that it’s really ostentatious and gross but I really love it. Do you remember in Sex and The City when Carrie gets robbed with this Fendi bag?  Carrie said: ‘It’s a baguette!’ It’s this bag! The same color and everything.  I went through a phase where I’d wear it with these purple strappy Yves Saint Laurent shoes and I would wear them with really weird clothes together. It was my go to date outfit.”

Sequin dress find at No Relation in the East Village


“I’ve been wearing vintage clothing and shopping at thrift stores for fun since I was really young.  For example, some of these hard clutches I got when I was around 18 years old and they somehow manage to still be cool.”


Bags from a recent holiday in Thailand 
“You know when you get new stuff how you secretly are really obsessed with it? I’m really obsessed with these bags. I got them in Thailand and I can’t get enough of them.  These were $30 each.”


“This bag was $5 and I just sewed all the coin charms on from eBay.  You buy the charms in bulk and you can cover as many bags as you want.”


Custom velvet dress
“I made this velvet dress. I sewed the whole thing by hand. It’s really low at the front and totally backless.”

Belt find in Morrocco
“This is my all time favorite belt. I had it made in Morrocco but it’s so crazy.  I think I traded a pack of gum with the guy who made it.”

Christian Dior belt
“I got this belt at a thrift store around the corner. I think it was $2.50”

Click through to see the rest of Tess’s finds.

You will NOT believe where she found her wedding dress.


Chanel Lego bag
“This is definitely one of my favorite things right now. It’s a gift from Eric.”

Louis Vuitton runway shorts
“You had to put in your order, pay for it and then they had them fitted for you.  I really only wear them in places like Vegas or vacation time. Like in New York you just get stares.”

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent necklace
“My boyfriend at the time threw a bunch of my stuff out of the window and two minutes later a cab rolled over and smashed all my jewelry so he went all over San Francisco looking for pieces to make up for what he’d lost and he pulled out this necklace saying ‘I don’t know if you’re gonna like this one.’ I said its vintage Yves Saint Laurent!   There were only around 180 pieces made and some woman at a vintage antique show tried buying it from me.”

Sequin dresses and jackets stored under the bed
“My closet can’t support the weight of the sequins because one day in the middle of the night my entire  closet fell out.  All these sequin things are too heavy. You just can’t put them all on hangers.” 


Noir dinosaur bones cuff

“It was part of my wedding gift from my husband Eric.”
“I love it.  It’s so fluffy it’s almost like feathers. Every time I wear it my husband always makes fun of me.”

Gold plated handcuff bracelet by Kiki de Montparnasse

“They’re like real hand cuffs that police officers carry.”
Drawer of vintage necklaces
“These are mostly all vintage. I love them all and you can’t really replace them but if there was a fire I’d mostly grab things that are sentimental.
Pippin is my favorite jewelry store in New York. It’s all vintage, antiques and estate stuff.  Really cool shit and it’s not really expensive.  It’s in Chelsea.  
There’s also a thrift store close to me on Flatbush Avenue that I die for.  It’s like a warehouse and everything is so cheap.  My Christian Dior belt is from there (shown above).”


“I got this necklace from an antique store in NYC kinda reminds me of my Mum. I bought two just so she could have one.  It’s kind of big and clunky and kinda looks vintage but it’s a statement necklace.  It’s one of those things that you just throw it on and you are good to go you know?”


Oscar de La Renta dress
“The designer gave it to a woman who didn’t like it so she gave it to her roommate who is my sister in law’s grandma. So they called me and said that they had this dress made by someone named Oscar and it turned out to be Oscar de Le Renta and it fits me perfectly.”

Vera Wang wedding dress found at Beacons Closet in Brooklyn
“I found it at at Beacons and it was around $400.  I got it for nothing because I sold some clothes that day and that paid for it.  I tried it on and it fit me perfectly.  I was just dating the man who is now my husband and so obviously I didn’t really need a wedding dress at the time but I tried it on and it fitted me perfectly so I got it.  I sent him a picture of it and said ‘I just got a full blown wedding dress!’ and I ended up getting married in it.” 
“I feel like when you find black tie dresses or gowns it’s never when you need them.  It’s only when you need a dress like that, that you can’t find shit.”
Tess’ outfit: Top: Stone Cold Fox. Jeans: Vintage boys DIY ripped/shredded. Necklace: Charms collected from Thailand and coins from eBay. String bracelets collected from a temple in Thailand. 


  1. craveitnow says:

    Love love love this! It’s so wonderful to hear some of the stories behind the things that people own, it adds a whole new dimension to style. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      I agree. I’ve always liked hearing where people find some of their things. Brings them to life in another way

  2. Mamy2k4 says:

    Wonderful, she’s amazing!

  3. Kristen says:

    I saw the picture of the purple fendi bag and said that’s the Carrie bag! Even before I read it haha what a great collection!

    • Karen says:

      I remember when Carrie went through that Fendi bag stage. Of course she looked perfect with it and must’ve sold millions! That purple is TDF

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love this post! It is so interesting to get a more complete picture of the people who have such fantastic style.

  5. PanamaAsti says:

    I love jewelry! very large selection of the pictures! πŸ™‚

    Come visit →PANAMA ASTI
    post comments or reviews… Me will be very nice πŸ™‚

  6. Ruth says:

    LOVE, major closet envy. what with both yours AND hers now

    • Karen says:

      Hers is a lot more organized :-/

  7. Karina So. says:

    OMG, I want her closet! She’s so awesome! And I definitely agree about the black-tie dresses; the perfect ones are never there when you need them!

    Rêveuse | Fashion + Music

    • Karen says:

      I know Tess and I were talking about that. If you see an uh maaaazing dress just buy it even if there’s no occasion yet because there WILL BE ONE

  8. Liz says:

    <3 I love how many stories there can be from one single vintage garment. I’m really digging this new series! Can’t wait to see more!

    • Karen says:

      Thx Liz!! Yes I’m excited about this

  9. Tunisia Harris says:

    Lovely post. Tess’ collection of necklaces are beautiful. I almost wished this post didn’t end because I loved reading all of the mini stories behind the pieces so much. Please keep this series up.

    • Karen says:

      Thx Tunisia yes I definitely want to continue with more : )

      Her stories are gems!

    • Karen says:

      Her necklace collection is truly outstanding

  10. Anonymous says:

    wow. just wow. ok, a few things:

    -i love this post so much, i really enjoyed reading the great stories behind people’s clothing and accessories
    -please keep this series up, absolutely amazing
    -where, where, where, OH PLEASE TELL ME WHERE in flatbush avenue is this thrift store!?!?!?!?? i need another place where i can blow all of my money πŸ™‚

    thanks doll!!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi!!! Its’ called UNIQUE and is on FULTON AVENUE : )

    • Anonymous says:

      incredible, just incredible!!!

      thank you so much!! and again, i love your blog and it is unique just the way it is but i think this post is a constant reminder as to why your blog is so great. what i also love so much about you is that you engage with your readers a lot and we can relate to you so much. keep up the amazing work, you are one hell of an inspiration!!!

  11. Shea L. says:

    LOVE this!! Great post! Those pieces are amazingggg!

    XoXo Shea L. ====>>>

  12. FABianna says:

    great piece! more of these, Karen. also i love her shallow- low profile dresser/ chest of drawers. is possible to get the deets on them or similars?

    • Karen says:

      Hey! I asked Tess. It’s a drafting table from Ikea. She custom made the velvet linings for the rings.

  13. FABianna says:

    love this piece karen! more please. Also i adore her shallow drawer-low profile black dresser. is is possible to get the deets on it or similars?

  14. Sasha says:

    So many amazing pieces! Crazy beautiful things!

    • Karen says:

      I know she has a great eye

  15. Anonymous says:

    I love to read about thrift store finds. The stories are great to hear. I am a thrift store junkie. Great post. Love her closet and jewelry collection. It is inspiring.

    • Karen says:

      Thx! That’s why I was so excited to do a piece on her WDUGT finds!!!

    • Karen says:

      She doesn’t blog.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow can’t get over the handmade velvet dress. She’s a genius.

    • Karen says:

      Yea that dress is the dogs bollocks.

  17. Marija says:

    I love her!!! I loved her blog when she was blogging! Great style, great peaces. Always liked her necklaces and crazy shoes.

  18. josie renee says:

    Wow, her closet is a great mix of designer and vintage. But mostly, I’m obsessed with her draws of necklaces. They are soooo gorgeous.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am LOVING the Full Monty posts! I really enjoy the stories and I especially loved seeing the feature on Tess. I love her style (similar to mine – bias?) and absolutely am drooling over so many of her eclectic pieces! I have one question about the dresser/chest with the shallow drawers the she used for storing her necklaces and clutches – where did she get this? If you can please ask her about this, I’d greatly appreciate. πŸ™‚

  20. Simoon M says:

    Holy s!!!! What a wardrobe, I am falling out of my chair here, she is awesome, gorgeous stuff, great taste!!
    Simona/OFF DUTY

  21. Shannon says:

    Love the cool, eclectic style of Tess and the Ki Ki De Montparnasse handcuff jewelry is amazing; I have the same set…..

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