We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."
Top of mind: On a mission to score a Getty Images watermark-legitimized red carpet pic at the "When in Gnome" (lol) premiere, she's first mistaken for a bride. Then — in a failed attempt to impersonate former "Real Housewife of New York" Tinsley Mortimer — she suffers the indignity of being kicked off the carpet by PR. Or on Brooke's first day as assistant to Chase Dreams, her teen idol little brother, she mistakenly dons pre-worn underwear from a fan — after going commando under boxers-as-pants. Or accidentally tucking her dress into her tights at #chom. (There's also "Classic Brooke," who's "always got deodorant on the outside of her clothing.")
But the TV star ("High Maintenance," "The Good Fight," "Masters of Sex") and Broadway triple threat wouldn't suffer the same sartorial flubs in real life. Aside from Yorke's "Hi, I'm doing this?" moment (PSA: listen to her very Brooke awkward PR story on the "Las Culturistas" podcast), she's been straight fire on the red carpet and talk show circuit. Recent examples: the velvet rust and deep-plunge Jill Stuart mini-dress on "Late Night With Seth Meyers;" a bold mixed-print look by one of her favorite designers, Rachel Comey, for a panel at SCAD aTVfest (above). Yorke also just made her New York Fashion Week debut sitting front row at Comey's Fall 2019 runway show.
"When I dress for a red carpet, I feel like I'm playing a character, sort of like Beyoncé is Sasha Fierce," says the New Yorker, by way of Vancouver and Los Angeles. "I like to step into 'Red Carpet Heléne,' but I don't have a Sasha Fierce name." Yorke credits longtime stylist Sabrina Bacon for "cheerleading" her out of her style comfort zone — for example, the very leg-baring Rachel Comey dress she wore for "The Other Two" premiere.
"Sabs pulled this chain mesh dress that I did not wear with pants. I thought, 'I don't know how this works,'" Yorke laughs. "I was like, 'Can I do this?' And she said, 'Yeah, bitch you really can.'"
And confirmed: Yorke did (below). She credits her very chic fashion designer mom, Andrea Dyke, for her confidence to play with style, as she'll share below, along with a very heartwarmingly awkward outfit moment on the first day of sixth grade outfit. Pro-tip: Have a tissue or two on hand.
"My mom is a very influential person in my fashion life. In the '80s, she had this Marimekko shift dress that my grandmother bought her. She loved it so much and she loved it to the point that it was worn to shreds and no longer with us. So my mom started this company called A Della Dress, where she did a shift, sheath and a shirt dress and picked vibrant fabrics. She wears one of these dresses every day and she always looks beautiful, comfortable, confident and entirely herself.
She clips pictures out of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. When she was here, she was tearing through my copy of The Gentlewoman. She gets excited about colors and shapes and that's where she influenced me the most. She always cheers me on to wear color. She says: 'You're a cheerful person. You should be always looking cheerful. Everybody wears too much black.' She also lives in Los Angeles and says, 'Black just looks so wrong here.'
I'm so inspired by her because she knows herself so well and she doesn't make apologies for it. I really got that, as well, from her. A mother who has confidence in that way is such a gift to a daughter because you carry that with you for the rest of your life. Of course, we all have our insecurities, but my mom knows who she is and what she likes. I feel so lucky to have that in my life. I could cry about it. It's the greatest.
When I started sixth grade, we moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis — we bounced around a lot — and she bought me the most adorable outfit for my first day: little khaki shorts, a pink polo shirt and a matching pink cardigan. Very chic and I got to school and the cool kids of L.A. made fun of me. I felt insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin. Then, you know, I had to buy the short-shorts and fit in.
[It was like the Hulu '90s-set series] 'Pen15.' I could also pump 'Pen15' because it's just a perfect representation of being in the seventh grade and wanting to fit in so much, but still trying to figure out who you are. I'll never forget that outfit. It was so chic and perfect and how afraid I was of it and how bad I feel [about not wanting to wear it], but she was right. Should I put in ink that I'm admitting my mom was right?
My mom is very regimented. At the start of the school year, she would say, 'You need this kind of pant, this kind of short, this number of tops,' and she would make a list, like we were going to the grocery store, and we would go to Gap and J. Crew, which was more expensive, and we would put my wardrobe together. It was very by the numbers in that way.
But now that I find myself as an adult, and not being told what to do by my mom ... although, no that's not true, my mom still tells me what to do. But what I like to do is: If I have time, I walk down Crosby Street or check out a new neighborhood in New York or if I'm in a different city, I'll check out different shopping districts and brick-and-mortar stores.
I'll go in and peruse or see something in a window that entices me and buy pieces throughout the year that I feel excited and inspired by. I like doing it that way because then I have things that I feel are special and have a story and I remember the experience of buying it. Especially if I'm going to spend money on something, it's going to be something I know I'll want to have forever and I'm not going to Marie Kondo at some point. So now I open my closet and it feels like a story to me.
On Christmas Eve, my parents were in town from Los Angeles and we were walking around Nolita just having a Christmas Eve stroll before we cooked a feast that evening. This happens with my mom all the time: She trolls the blogs, so she knows knows about all of the niche designers because she's a niche designer herself. She says, 'I really want to check out Caron Callahan.'
So we walk in the store and they were having a sale. My brothers and my dad were like: 'We hate you; we'll stand outside.' I love a giant jumpsuit. My mom calls them 'boiler suits.' Boiler suits are like worn by the men who worked in factories shoveling coal into a hole. I love a shapeless sack and I found this blue corduroy, giant zip boiler suit. I tried it on and felt immediately so at ease. I came out, didn't even say a word, looked at my mom and she was like 'Oh yes.' I bought it and walked out of there. I wore it over Christmas for four straight days.
It is the best. It's warm, easy and cozy and I have that memory of being with my mom."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.