How I Shop: Paige DeSorbo

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."

There are a few different avenues through which you might've come across Paige DeSorbo. Maybe you've seen her on Bravo's "Summer House," its spin-off "Winter House" or during one of her trips down to Charleston, South Carolina to visit boyfriend Craig Conover on "Southern Charm." Perhaps you've come across her fashion-focused Instagram content or a clip from "Giggly Squad," the podcast she co-hosts with comedian and best friend Hannah Berner, and that sent you down a rabbit hole. (I'm in the latter group, and now a proud Giggler.)

No matter how you ended up here, it's hard not to be drawn to the 31-year-old's energy, whether you describe it as "black cat," New York or just Scorpio. She's dry and quick-witted, but also sincere and down to have fun. That's as true for her life as it is for her style.

"To see people critique my outfits or have an opinion on my personal style is two parts," she says. "Obviously, it's very flattering; then there's another part where it's like, 'Hey, that's so mean. I love this outfit.' But I don't ever get bogged down by that. I just always think, 'Well, there's a seventh-grade girl somewhere who's saving my outfit and saying, 'I want to recreate this.'' That's who I get dressed for."

We caught up with the Bravo breakout about packing for (televised) summers in the Hamptons, New York versus Charleston style, her influencer career and the most Scorpio thing about her fashion. Read on for highlights from our conversation.

Paige DeSorbo at the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2024 show during New York Fashion Week. <p>Photo: Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty Images</p>
Paige DeSorbo at the Brandon Maxwell Fall 2024 show during New York Fashion Week.

Photo: Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty Images

"I feel like there has to be a term for my mom — she's not an 'almond mom,' but she's 'the outside is your runway'. You go out of the house looking presentable. She would never leave the house without lipstick. Watching her get ready, watching her do her hair and makeup, that's when I started really loving fashion.

"When I was younger, my mom would get Vogue delivered to our house every month, so I would flip through and tear out pages of outfits I liked. We literally only had Forever 21 and Marshalls — I'd ask her to bring me to the mall, and I would recreate whatever outfits I saw, whether I knew the celebrities or not. As I got a little bit older and Pinterest came about, that's where I would find outfits to recreate.

"My family and I go to Italy once a year, and I pick one day of the trip that's my shopping day... I'm a 'come home, show your dad what you bought, give a fashion show' girl at my core. Shopping, to me, is a lot more sentimental. I like to do it with someone else that I love. This sounds so girly, but there truly is nothing like that bond of shopping with someone. You're looking for something, you find it, you fall in love — that's girlhood to me.

With "Summer House" and "Winter House" cast mate Ciara Miller at 2023 Bravocon, wearing Valentino.<p>Photo: Todd Williamson/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
With "Summer House" and "Winter House" cast mate Ciara Miller at 2023 Bravocon, wearing Valentino.

Photo: Todd Williamson/Bravo via Getty Images

"Last year, I went into the Prada store. Even if it's a really expensive store, I still like to go in and see. I walked in and was like, 'I'm not buying anything.' Then I saw this white backless dress that didn't say Prada anywhere — just the little triangle — which I liked. I looked at my mom and was like, 'Bury me in this dress.' And she was like, 'You have to get it.'

"Now, when I do buy very expensive things, like certain items from Miu Miu or Prada, rather than being like, 'Oh my God, I'm spending so much money on clothes,' I genuinely do think that my daughter's going to have the sickest vintage archives when she's in college. If she needs a dress, I whip out this white Prada.

"I really don't shop that much in person. I'm a big online girl. Zara's at the top of that list. I shop a lot on Shopbop, Amazon, Fwrd, Mango, H&M and Farfetch. Even now, as I'm older, I'm still budgeting how much I should be spending on clothing. I'll go on the really expensive websites, like Moda [Operandi] or Net-a-Porter, look at what they're selling, screenshot it and be like, 'I can find this cheaper.' It's my sport.

"Charleston is such a different vibe of shopping… I have so many more cardigans than I ever thought I would have... I remember one of the first weekends when I first started going down there, it was my birthday and I wore a full red leather matching set — flare pants and a crop top — and a fur coat. I don't know who I thought I was, doing that down there. But I love their style, so it's fun to go down and play. Girls like Madison [LeCroy] and Venita [Aspen] dress so fricking cute; it's incredible and so Charleston. I always look to them. Madison's really good when we're filming ['Southern Charm']; she'll text me and be like, 'Let's just do jeans.' That's when I know you're my friend. I just bought this blue cardigan from Gap and I was like, 'I can't wait to wear it in Charleston.'

<p>Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

<p>Photo: Emma McIntyre/Variety via Getty Images</p>

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Variety via Getty Images

"I think black is the most flattering color for anyone to wear, so I'm very Scorpio in that sense. Scorpios are dressing a little bit more sexy than I personally am — obviously, I do love a sexy outfit, but I feel like my day-to-day isn't that. But it is definitely all black.

"The way I figure out if I'm going to wear something or not [is based on something] my mom has said to me for years. She would try to put me in outfits and, as a kid, I'd be like, 'I can't. It's too much. People are going to make fun of me.' She's the person that first convinced me to wear skinny jeans, before anyone was wearing skinny jeans, and I'll never be able to repay her for that. My mom would always say, 'You don't want to wear it, but if another girl walked in wearing it, would you feel bad that you weren't confident enough to wear it?' And I would always be like, 'Yes.' I still do that... My mom and my dad are Scorpios.

"When I was in college, I was right at the cusp of [influencing] really becoming a thing, but by no means did anyone think that was a suitable profession at all. People still aren't thrilled about it. I just never thought of it as a career... I wasn't a fashion designer. I knew I wasn't interested in sewing or making my own clothes, but I loved putting things together. For it to be my job now is so crazy, because it's always just been a hobby and something I love.

Promoting season 7 of "Summer House".<p>Photo: Clifton Prescod/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
Promoting season 7 of "Summer House".

Photo: Clifton Prescod/Bravo via Getty Images

"The term 'personal style' stresses me out so badly, because it puts you in this box of, 'If you don't have good personal style, then you don't have style at all.' That's not true. There are days that I want to wear Miu Miu sparkly underwear, then there are others where I'm like, 'Can I channel my best Renée Rapp and wear cargo pants?' There's definitely going to some misses, and it's because I like it so much, I'm going to wear it.

"Before I started [on Bravo], I wasn't really a fashion influencer at all. I only had 3,000 followers. I had this clean slate, and I knew that when I first appeared on the screen, people were going to go to my Instagram. I wanted them to think, 'Oh, she does outfits.' So, after we were done airing, all I cared about was posting outfits to my Instagram.

DeSorbo on season seven of "Summer House".<p>Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
DeSorbo on season seven of "Summer House".

Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Bravo via Getty Images

"Everyone packs very differently on 'Summer House.' Kyle and Amanda pack for the full summer, which I think is bonkers. We usually know what our schedule is on Wednesday, so I pack per activity, plus extra outfits. I'll leave some basics there.

"My style [on 'Summer House'] has evolved truly just from getting older and growing up. I still like the same stuff: I love a mini-skirt set, and I love to dress [in a] super girly, preppy, Meredith Blake vibe. I've stayed true to that. Genuinely, the only thing that has changed is I can splurge a little more than I could that [first] summer — I mean, I wore full Forever 21 and Nasty Gal. My biggest concern was that we were all going to show up in the same Zara stuff. But I had a very different style than any of the other girls on the show.

Her cast photo for "Summer House" season 8. <p>Photo: Felix Kunze/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
Her cast photo for "Summer House" season 8.

Photo: Felix Kunze/Bravo via Getty Images

"When I first started, it wasn't like [the girls] were talking about their outfits before they packed... I really only had Amanda to be like, 'What's the vibe?' She helped me that first summer on what to pack, what we usually do. It's funny to see everyone's style evolve. Everyone was very jeans, T-shirts and wedges, and that's just not me. So I was like, 'I'm going to wear a mini skirt.' And I definitely dressed a lot dressier than the other girls. Then, slowly, throughout the summers, everyone started to dress up a little bit more.

"When I get ready for my Bravocon outfits… It's really more like, 'What's so out of the box that I haven't worn yet, that people haven't seen yet? What's so crazy and fun and fashion-y?' And it's sparkly underwear.

The now-famous Bravocon/2023 birthday Miu Miu outfit.<p>Photo: Mindy Small/Getty Images</p>
The now-famous Bravocon/2023 birthday Miu Miu outfit.

Photo: Mindy Small/Getty Images

"It was definitely discussed with multiple people. There was a roundtable involved. I think being well-dressed is truly wearing the appropriate outfit to the appropriate place. We were in Vegas, and I wanted to be Vegas-y. And Saturday was my 31st birthday, so I felt like I needed an outfit that was not only the Saturday of Bravocon — the big day — but also my 31st birthday in Vegas.

"I had already done a no-pants look a couple months prior on 'Watch What Happens Live,' and it didn't get any bad backlash at all. People were like, 'That's a cool outfit.'

DeSorbo's first underwear-as-pants look, for "Watch What Happens Live" in April.<p>Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
DeSorbo's first underwear-as-pants look, for "Watch What Happens Live" in April.

Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

"I love a '60s vibe and glamour. I loved the clips. Miu Miu's the hottest brand right now in fashion. So I was like, 'I have to wear a full Miu Miu look.' I loved it, and I stand by that outfit until the day that I die. I felt good in it. It felt very me. Also, fashion is a conversation. I'm happy that there are certain people that hated it because there are certain people that don't truly understand the fashion world, and that's fine. I don't need them to. I knew they weren't getting it. It actually made me happy, because I was like, 'Oh, this is actually so fashion-forward.'

"The 'Mean Girls' red carpet was a very full-circle moment for me. I knew exactly what I was looking for in terms of my outfit. When I found the black velvet Nana Jacqueline [jumpsuit], I was like, 'That looks like the dress [Lindsay Lohan] wore [in the original 'Mean Girls'].'

In a "Mean Girls"-inspired Nana Jacqu<em>elin</em><em>e playsuit for th</em><em>e film's pr</em><em>emi</em><em>er</em><em>e. </em><p>Photo: John Nacion/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures</p>
In a "Mean Girls"-inspired Nana Jacqueline playsuit for the film's premiere.

Photo: John Nacion/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

"I'm very particular about buying certain things for myself first. I waited to buy my first Chanel bag. I wanted to do it for my 30th birthday. In my 20s, I was dating a guy and he was like, 'I'll buy you a Chanel bag.' I was like, 'Don't piss me off so badly.' I went into a vintage store in Saratoga, where I'm from, that had this black patent leather Chanel boy bag with silver hardware. It was exactly what I wanted. I was going back and forth — did I want to get patent leather, regular leather, gold, silver? I couldn't make a decision... So, when I saw it, I was just like, 'That's my bag.'

"My number one rule that I would want to tell people is: If you like it, wear it. If you truly love it, who cares? If it's out of style, who cares? There's never been someone's outfit that I have thought about for more than two days, good or bad. So if you like it, wear it."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. In no way does this affect our editorial decision-making.

Want the latest fashion industry news first? Sign up for our daily newsletter.