Q&A With Sally Esposito: Fashion Designer

As a leading independent fashion designer in the Bay Area, Sally Esposito has sewed out a niche in the design industry both in Santa Cruz (her current hometown), and beyond. She's also one of the bloggers at The Penny Rose, and twice a month she infuses her smart fashion sense into educational and stylish blogs. We caught up with this talented seamstress to learn more about what makes the 29-year-old tick. 

How would you describe your personal style?

Uptown hippie meets vintage-loving risk-taker with a strong commitment to high quality fabrics.

What’s your favorite brand of denim?

It continues to change, but right now I’m loving how Paige denim fits. Otherwise, Levis are a trusted standby.

What fashion designer (or beauty brand) are you eyeing right now?

I’ve constantly got my eye on new items from Heidi Merrick, Emerson Fry, Nonoo, Suno, Lauren Moffatt, and Mara Hoffman.

What’s your favorite skin care item?

Honestly, Retin-A. Nothing else compares when it comes to wrinkles and breakouts.

What fashion tip would you give to someone for the upcoming season?

Matching sets! I’ve been obsessed with them for a while and am so happy to see them appearing on the runway and in stores. My go-to outfit this summer will be a coral jacquard blazer with matching shorts that I’ll pair with neutral heels. My advice for the upcoming season—be brave and give matching sets a shot!

If money were no object, what spa or beauty treatment/service would you be addicted to?

Facials—I find them really relaxing and I always love the results.

On occasions when you need to get ready in a rush, what is your quick ‘n’ easy beauty routine?

Benefit Bad-Gal mascara, The Balm Beauty Queen lip stain, and Benefit Stay-Don’t-Stray cover-up. 

What is the most unusual or surprising beauty product in your arsenal?

Evian facial spray. Everyone makes fun of me for having paid 5 euros (I got it at a rest stop in France!) for it, but it’s great to spray on your face right after you apply your make-up. I think it helps your make-up set naturally without looking dry and gives your skin a dewy finish. I like to call it “hydrating from the outside." Plus, it feels great to spray on your face around two or three o’clock in the afternoon when you start to feel tired or need a quick pick me up.

What beauty products would we find in your purse?

Lip stain and Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo.

You’re traveling, and can only bring one bag: what favorite beauty/fashion items stay home, and what must go with?

For clothes, I always bring my June leather bomber jacket, a pair of fun (but walkable) heels, a shift dress that’s easy to layer with, a brightly colored belt, jeans, tights, a bathing suit (you never know!) and a pair of boots. The dresses, shirts, and skirts that wrinkle easily stay home.

For beauty, I’ll pack dry shampoo, a curling iron, Dr. Jart + Black Label Detox BB cream, mascara, eyeliner, and make-up remover. I usually don’t bother bringing my blow dryer, eyelash curler, or exfoliator wash. 

Mani or pedi?


Lip gloss or lip balm?

Lipstick or lip stain!

Heels or flats?

Heels, for sure.