There are certain topics of conversation that come up in my daily life more frequently than I'd like to admit, and one of said topics is Bravo's "Real Housewives" series. (as are its "Vanderpump Rules," "Southern Charm" and "Shahs of Sunset" series, a fact that is neither here nor there.) Most of my friends have formulated — or attempted to formulate — their would-be "Real Housewives" taglines, and all of them have at least one favorite cast member from every city spin off, be it Beverly Hills, Orange County, Atlanta or New York City. Over the past couple of seasons, I've become slightly obsessed with "RHONY" star Dorinda Medley, thanks to her unfiltered dialogue, very low tolerance for bullshit, willingness to host a bunch of crazies at her sprawling estate in the Berkshires and priceless soundbites, including, "I decorated! I cooked! I made it nice," and "I'll tell you how I'm doing: Not well, bitch!" (These catchphrases are so popular, they've even spawned a line of merch.)
You can only imagine the pure joy I felt when I was invited to have dinner with Medley recently — in a hip Meatpacking District restaurant, of course — and was able to pick her brain about shopping and style. The evening only improved once her stunningly beautiful, model-tall 23-year-old daughter Hannah Lynch showed up, wearing a crop top and Good American jeans that certainly made it seem like it's just a matter of time before a top agency snatches her up. When I bring up the fact that several "Real Housewives" offspring are cashing in on the Instagirl phenomenon (Gigi and Bella Hadid, Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray Hamlin), Medley insists it's not something in which Lynch is interested. "She's been approached by a couple people; she got approached by IMG because they scout people at Columbia [University]," Medley said. "But Hannah's never been good at the cattle call, 'masses of asses' kind of thing. I think now [if she'd been] personally approached by a couple major photographers, she'd go in, but her dream, to tell you the truth, is to be a writer."
The mother-daughter duo has a ball-busting, best-friend-like rapport, so it's no surprise that they frequently share clothing — or, more accurately, Lynch "borrows" her mom's things and conveniently forgets to return them. "I have not had a handbag stay in my closet for more than two weeks; when my daughter gets there, she says, 'I can't believe you said I took it!' Meanwhile, she's in a Facebook post with it," Medley laughed. "But she wears it better than me. I don't care." Lynch takes offense to these accusations, saying: "[Dorinda] literally calls me every night and she's like, 'Where is my blah blah blah, you wore it nine weeks ago [on Instagram]!' When I lived in her apartment, she would hide things, and she hid them so well that she was convinced that I stole them." However, Medley refused to let that slide, quickly countering: "She says she swears she doesn't have a ring of mine — and then it's on Instagram. She's like, 'French fries and Tom Ford, why not?'"
Medley and Lynch love shopping together — in fact, their motto is: When we get depressed, we go to Bergdorf Goodman. "Mom always tells me, 'Money can't buy you happiness, but a new dress can make me very happy,'" Lynch recalled. "And I always say, be depressed well-dressed," Medley added. Aside from Bergdorf's, which is their favorite store and a special family destination when Lynch was growing up, they love Net-A-Porter, Zara, Topshop and Gucci. "[That's] my favorite brand out there right now; I could buy all of it," Medley gushed. "I go to the Gucci store like it's a museum." The duo loves a high-low mix, but they never shy away from a splurge. "Mom and I would be in a shop, and she'll see something she loves; she tries it on, she looks so good," Lynch said. "I'll be like, 'Mom, you have to have this shit. What's wrong with you?' She says, 'It's too expensive. Have you lost your damn mind? I am so practical.' Two weeks later, homegirl has the garment in her room and she's like, 'It went on sale.' Bullshit it went on sale in two weeks!" Medley particularly enjoys shopping for coats and jumpsuits and has her eye on some Dior T-shirts and a black velvet Gucci blazer with a sequin tiger that she guarantees she will wear next season.
Lynch admitted she's horrified by her mother's off-duty looks — the clogs and sweatpants she wears in the Berkshires, for example — but she generally seems to admire Medley's sartorial philosophies. "Mommy taught me accessories are key," she said. "I go to the bulk warehouse gold jewelry shops [in the flower district] to get bangles and chunky necklaces." Again, like her mother, Lynch invests in two or three hero pieces each season, like a Balmain jacket, that they add to their joint "archive" — aka several storage units in Harlem filled with their saved clothes. "Mom and my style verges on tacky, which I really love... it's like kitsch. It's almost like, if it doesn't work, it works."
To my delight, the "RHONY" star is a fan of the other cities in the franchise, and aside from the delicious drama, she appreciates each cast member's individual aesthetic. "I love Carole's style, I love Bethenny's style — it's not my style, but they have great taste," she explained. She doesn't feel "pressure" to outshine her castmates sartorially, but she starts preparing her filming wardrobe well in advance and aims to look like the best version of herself. "I feel like I want to make a statement; I think I have a 'look,' and I want people to think I'm eclectic. I don't want it to be too defined." Another goal of hers is to come off as accessible, and she wants viewers to know that not everything she wears is expensive.
In closing, around my third glass of wine, I ask if there is one of the series' stars she'd kill to go shopping with, and her answer is a no-brainer. "The Pretty Mess! Erika Jayne is my everything," she gushed. "I am going to meet her, and I am going to do a video with her before it's done." We can only pray that this actually happens.