All products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

One need only look at the charms that hang around Tessa Tran’s neck to know where the 31-year-old jewelry designer has been last. There’s coral from Kauai’s Anini Beach, vintage cameos found in Italy, and turquoise pendants found in Santa Fe by the brains behind the bohemian label Chan Luu, which was founded by her aunt. “I’m always collecting things and searching for newness everywhere I travel,” says the born-and-bred Angeleno, who’s known to mix flea-market finds—a straw bucket hat bought in Tokyo, say, or a 50-cent Oaxacan market tote—with Injiri’s flowy frocks, Dries Van Noten denim, and, of course, her own handcrafted bijoux.

Tran began nine years ago as an intern at Chan Luu’s downtown L.A. headquarters (“I started at the bottom,” she says with a laugh), but she has certainly risen through the ranks. The creative director now oversees everything from new collections and lookbooks to marketing and branding, a career change that is reflected in her working wardrobe: “I’m a little more conscious in how I dress for my age and how I want to be perceived in a professional environment,” she confesses—though that doesn't mean she’s immune to experimenting from time to time: “I just bought a Prada top with orange feather trim to wear to my wedding after-party. It’s crazy, but I love it.”

Here, Tran decodes her look, from the easygoing essentials that get her work-ready to her favorite flea markets across the globe.

Rely on Good Basics to Get You Out the Door . . .

“My outfit depends on my mood. (The only time I plan what I’m wearing ahead of time is when I’m trying to make it to a 6:00 a.m. Pilates class!) When I dress for work, I tend to dress simply. Vintage Levi’s and Petit Bateau T-shirts are staples, [as are] an Organic by John Patrick slip dress in camel, a Maison Margiela trench coat, a nylon Prada bucket bag, and a vintage white cotton and lace dress.”

Photo: Courtesy of Tessa Tran

Saint Laurent Satin Crepe Blouse With A Basque And Buttons

YSL
$1,690
Shop Now

Faithfull The Brand Scelsi Linen Wide-Leg Pants

NET-A-PORTER
$190
Shop Now

Dragon Diffusion Bamboo Triple Jump Small Woven Leather Tote

NET-A-PORTER
$345
Shop Now

Trademark Capra Toe-Ring Sandals

SHOPBOP
$198
Shop Now

. . . But Don’t Be Afraid to Throw In a Wild Card

Advertisement

“I definitely like to experiment. I’m a designer, so the excitement and discovery of something new is what keeps me going. Every season I try to bring in an investment piece that I can mix into my wardrobe. I just bought a Prada top with orange feather trim to wear to my wedding after-party. It’s like a glammed-up Muppet look. It’s crazy, but I love it.”

Photo: Courtesy of Tessa Tran

Zara Slip Dress

ZARA
$50
Shop Now

White + Warren Essential Cashmere Crewneck Cardigan

WHITE + WARREN
$235
Shop Now

Chan Luu Diamond Le Baroque Light Peacock Blue Necklace

CHAN LUU
$495
Shop Now

Fendi Logo-Print Velvet-And-Leather Mules

NET-A-PORTER
$690
Shop Now

Find Freedom in Wearing Flats . . .

“Working gals need to be able to move around quickly and comfortably! I’m wearing less heels and more flats. Manolo Blahnik mules are classic and look great with skirts, dresses, denim . . . I love toning down a dressier outfit with a pair of sneakers, [like] my cream low-top Vans.”

Photo: Courtesy of Tessa Tran
Advertisement

. . . And the Personal Joy of Signature Jewelry

Two things I know I’ll never take off: my engagement ring from my fiancé and another ring passed down from my grandmother. You’ll always see me wearing a pearl. I’ve had a pearl obsession ever since I was a kid, mainly because of my aunt Chan’s influence. I remember her always wearing South Sea pearl earrings or a large baroque pearl necklace. Right now, summer is approaching and the weather is warming up, so I’m layering more necklaces and anklets. I just designed new 14-karat toe rings with tiny rose-cut diamonds and sapphires, which I can’t wait to wear. During colder seasons, I wear lots of big, cozy knit sweaters and turtlenecks, so this is when I’m wearing more earrings and bracelets.

Photo: Courtesy of Tessa Tran

Liana The Point Tank

LIANA CLOTHING
$78
Shop Now

The Row Firth Satin-Crepe Wide-Leg Pants

NET-A-PORTER
$990
Shop Now

Tkees Liners Flip-Flops

SHOPBOP
$50
Shop Now

Cos Canvas Bucket Hat

COS STORES
$39
Shop Now

Scout Your Local Flea Markets. . . .

I love searching for flea-market finds whenever I travel. Even something I bought at a flea market for a couple of bucks could mean so much to me. It’s not all about the designer and what it’s worth; it’s about finding special pieces that mean the same to you [as your expensive designer pieces]. My favorite flea markets are Puces de Clignancourt and Saint-Ouen in Paris. You can find the most beautiful laces and buttons and beads and silverware. My favorite thing I bought is a vintage pepper grinder. In L.A., I love Rose Bowl and Long Beach, which is a little farther, so it’s sometimes less crowded. I also travel a lot to Mexico. There are a couple in Oaxaca that are more like mercados that sell artisanal craftwork; the one in Chiapas is stunning, too.

Photo: Courtesy of Tessa Tran

Agnes B. Red Le Classique Snap Cardigan

AGNES B.
$195
Shop Now

Victoria Beckham Wool-Blend Midi Skirt

MYTHERESA
$787
Shop Now

Staud Astrid Suede Wedge Sandals

NET-A-PORTER
$275
Shop Now

Chan Luu Camilla Cameo Y Necklace

Shop Now

. . . And Look Out for Tiny Treasures Wherever You Go

Advertisement

When I’m traveling I’m always buying different charms and stones. I’m always searching for newness at all of these craft markets and flea markets. I pick up things here and there, so I’m always incorporating them into some kind of jewelry item. What’s special about charms is that every component has a backstory, and I know exactly where each came from.