California Cool Meets European Classicism: Inside Suzanne Donegan's Wardrobe - The Gloss Magazine

California Cool Meets European Classicism: Inside Suzanne Donegan’s Wardrobe

Like her jewellery, Suzanne Donegan’s personal style is classic and cool with a touch of the unexpected …

Tales From My Wardrobe is a style series that explores the wardrobes of THE GLOSS community, a love letter to the pieces we reach for again and again. From the hard-earned investment purchases that make us smile with each wear to the items that supercede mere “clothing” to carry memories and foster emotional connection.

Dublin-born Suzanne Donegan is a designer and creative director recognised for founding quiet, luxury brands with a focus on sustainability. Donegan studied the History of Decorative Arts and Material Culture at Bard, and her latest venture Suzanne Donegan Jewels (SDJ), a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces she’s designed (as well as curation of antique jewellery), is loved by Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Emily Blunt and Maya Rudolph. Donegan’s wardrobe is a soulful mix of different time periods, too. A space where a Le Smoking-influenced blazer from Zara sits next to a vintage crochet dress; it’s all filtered through a distinctly California-cool lens, just like her jewellery. See some of Donegan’s most treasured pieces below …


I would call my style ‘classic with a bohemian flair’. It has evolved over the years and has been shaped by the places and experiences I’ve lived. My graduate education is in the Decorative Arts and my first job out of school was at the flagship Tiffany & Co in NYC, back then I was all about classic! The perfect black dress, suit and all gold jewellery. 

Since moving to California, (LA has been my home now for over 20 years), my style has been influenced by the beach and nature and consequently has become more casual, relaxed and eclectic. For me, many of my favourite (and most successful) SDJ designs are a combination of classical elegance balanced with organic materials.


I’m often inspired by the 1970s, especially Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier, Halston, Lauren Hutton and Bianca Jagger. I love how the iconic decade incorporated many style directions – ethnic, classical, romantic, hippie – and combined inspiration from menswear, exoticism and historical periods. Fashion was much more individual back then and I aim to convey that in the SDJ collection.

My favourite piece in my wardrobe right now is a Hartford Viva fake fur coat in charcoal, which I adore.


The most sentimental item in my wardrobe are rings from my mum, including her wedding band with interlocking monogram initials A and O all the way around. It’s so elegant and it always reminds me how chic she is (and was in the 1970s). She’s always been one step ahead of the curve.

The most recent item I bought was the Carine dress from Ulla Johnson. It’s quite romantic with its delicate plissé and ruffled detailing.


The best bargain has been a Zara satin-effect tuxedo jacket I’ve worn repeatedly. Whereas the biggest investment I’ve made was in a rare 1940s 18k gold interlocking love knot necklace, the piece has paid for itself. 

As a fan of vintage shopping, I love a 1960s crochet dress I have sourced which I wear with a 1940s beaded collar – it’s fun and unique. By contrast, the least “fashion” thing I own, but wear all the time, are my ten-year-old J Crew yoga pants. 

My absolute favourite shop in Los Angeles is Lost & Found. It’s an amazing lifestyle destination with locations in Hollywood and Santa Monica. Shoppers beware!


I never leave the house without my mascara and my SDJ signet ring – which is my own design. On my wish list are Cartier pieces from the 1970s; the good ones are very hard to find.

My current favourite SDJ pendant necklace is the Mayan Revival two-sided hand carved pendant which dates back to the 1920s or 1930s. Most often seen in architecture (think Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House), this revival style with its pre-Colombian design motifs was inspired by the ancient roots of Mexican culture. Both the Aztecs and Mayans had advanced civilisations with working knowledge of time and celestial bodies. Deities were often represented as masculine and feminine energies of the cosmos, like the ones juxtaposed on this pendant. 

Follow Suzanne on Instagram (@suzannedoneganjewels) here; to find out more about her jewellery collection visit


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