Part dapper trendsetter, part joke-cracking, cat-obsessed hipster, Tamar Mendelssohn straddles the worlds of high-fashion fancy pants and inner-loop bohemian with a friendly swagger. A saleswoman at Tootsies, she is perhaps best known as the purveyor of a fashion blog called The Shoe Diet, a Man Repeller-esque homage to champagne footwear on a beer budget. She’s also the force behind A Couture Cause—a 2014 calendar featuring Mendelssohn and a laundry list of Houston’s most fashionable women sporting over-the-top outfits, and benefitting both The Orange Show and Youth Hope Association.
What are you wearing?
Current/Elliott overalls and shirt, Valentino shoes.
How do you describe your aesthetic?
Denim-heavy. I love denim so much that I recently went to a “Canadian Tuxedo” Party and had a denim bowtie custom made. I wore it over a denim jumpsuit—I didn’t think it through and had to take off my whole outfit when I had to go to the bathroom. It was not fun. If you’re at [a place like] Fitzgerald’s, you don’t want to be totally naked in a stall.
The Shoe Diet is an unusual name, where did it come from?
I was at a friend’s house for cocktails and my girlfriend was talking about how she just bought a pair of [Maison Martin] Margiela shoes and how her boyfriend wanted to go out for tacos. She literally said, “That’s too fancy—you know I just bought those expensive shoes!” And I said, “Oh, you’re on the shoe diet” because, you know, it means you spent all your money on shoes. You can’t afford to eat after that. You have to think “I have $200 in my bank account from now until next Thursday. I can either buy these shoes on super-super-super sale for $150 or I can eat. Screw it—I’ll get the shoes and just go on some dates or something.” As long as I can feed Vincent, we’re good.
I love my cat Vincent. I do a large amount of man repelling by constantly posting photos of him on Instagram. Whenever anyone talks about their boyfriends, I talk about Vincent. Someone was looking for a home for him in Malaysia, and I said “I wish I could bring him back to Texas,” and then my ex sent him to me. Special cargo. People do it all the time, apparently. Because there’s no stray cats in America, right? Hey, you never know when you’ll fall in love! We probably shouldn’t talk about my cat too much or I’ll never get a boyfriend.
How’d you find your “fashion is fun” voice for the blog?
I wanted to talk about fashion in a way that people could get, because it’s funny. I try not to take myself too seriously and try to stay causal about trends and designers. Anyone can enjoy the finest things in a relaxed way—anyone can sit at the table of luxury. I might have read Lean In recently, if you can tell.
What is A Couture Cause?
A Couture Cause is a sorta-parody of a high-fashion calendar. I wanted to make a Man Repeller–style calendar with overalls, long denim skirts—basically, crazy fashion that’s the opposite of Houston’s conservative style. It’s been insane—we all thought we were making this cute girls’ calendar and it turned into this huge production. It took eight months, but we’re really proud of it!