Think the life of a jet-setting fashion plate is filled with Champagne and caviar? Of course it is, especially when you're Olivia Palermo. But keeping up with appearances requires the discipline to stick to a packed schedule and the spirit to embrace wherever the day takes you. Also, it helps to have a good set of luggage.

By InStyle Staff
Updated Aug 21, 2016 @ 11:30 am
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The Diary - Olivia Palermo - LEAD
Credit: courtesy Nordstrom


At 6 a.m.: Shine Bright
I start my morning with a session at Tracy Anderson Method. That’s one hour when I can clear my mind and just feel really good and not see anyone on a phone. I try to be as healthy as possible, so for breakfast I’ll have berries—antioxidants help the skin—with juice and frozen yogurt in a smoothie. I also love avocado. The NutriBullet is great!

At 8 a.m.: Dress Up
I usually dress for whatever I’m going to be doing that day. There’s always a bit of an eclectic tone to what I wear, but I also incorporate a polished element, with accessories or color, even if it’s in a subtle way. When I’m on the road, everything has a structure to it whether it’s a bag or a blazer.

At 10 a.m.: Log On
I juggle emails to Europe with everything we’re working on for If we have a photo shoot, I’ll handle dot-com in the afternoon. But basically, it’s nonstop until 6 p.m.

At 1 p.m.: Boarding Pass
I’m viral. There is no one specific place where I work because I travel so much. I’m actually home in New York only 160 days of the year (I counted!), which means I spend a lot of time organizing. I have such a good system now, and I never under- or overpack. I might just take a pair of leather pants and a few sweaters so I can restyle them in different ways. It forces you to keep a fresh eye and not get stuck in a uniform. And you know what? I realized that wherever I go, I can stop in at Zara. There’s always a backup. Sometimes it’s nice to travel light because you never know what you might find to bring home.

At 4 p.m.: In the Mood
Once a month I go to Seattle to work with Tom Young, Nordstrom’s senior design director, on the Chelsea28 collection. I’ll take my ideas and notes and a lot of images I tear out of editorials. We often have the same inspirations just by coincidence. I visit the stores to fool around with the mannequins and introduce myself to sales staff. I’m super-proud of the collaboration. When I see a girlfriend of mine wearing one of the pieces, it makes me so excited.

At 6 p.m.: Off Switch
I don’t go out that much, unless it’s during the holiday season or Fashion Week. Otherwise I’m at home in Brooklyn with Mr. Butler and Johannes [her dog and her husband, respectively]. We love playing tennis along the East River and watching Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. To be with friends, you have to find a balance. It’s all about time management.

The Diary - Olivia Palermo EMBED 2
Credit: Christian Vierig/Getty


Life is too short not to try something professionally that you think you will love. If you find out you don’t like it, you can always change and go back to something else. Me? I fell into what I do, but I really love it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


I’m getting into amazing coffee-table books, particularly ones on jewelry. My favorite is Jewelry by Suzanne Belperron, by Patricia Corbett and Verdura jewelry owners Nico and Ward Landrigan. The history is incredible to see, especially given how forward-thinking Belperron was for her time.


I enjoy skiing and have always wanted to try the slopes of Chile during the summer.


With all my travel to the West Coast this year, I have found a few gems in Seattle and in San Francisco. My current favorite is Sushi Ran in Sausalito, which reminds me of my goto in New York, Sushi Nakazawa.


I am dying to see Hamilton on Broadway. It’s very popular, it seems. While [Tony Award–winning creator] Lin-Manuel Miranda has left, I know it will still be genius.


The Diary - Olivia Palermo EMBED 1
Credit: courtesy Nordstrom

Palermo’s year-long collaboration with Nordstrom’s Chelsea28 collection has brought aspects of her proven paparazzi-catnip style to stores around the country. “The focus of each season is to build on what we call the lifer pieces—staples that women can wear in the workplace, in the afternoon, or anytime,” Palermo says. For fall, try her perma-creased jeans, a boho blouse, or a suede trench cape, which Palermo says is perfect for traveling by plane. “You can wear that all year if you want,” she adds. Now all you need is the right pose.