Playing Dress-Up With TinyJewishGirl

Playing Dress-Up With TinyJewishGirl

Story by Mickey Boardman / Photography by James Emmerman / Styling by Scott Shapiro / Hair by Matt Benns / Makeup by Kento Utsubo

TinyJewishGirl (real name: Clara Perlmutter) is truly obsessed with fashion. The 23-year-old became an internet sensation during the pandemic when her boredom with pajamas drove her to open her large and eclectic closet to the world of TikTok. She doesn’t do dances. She isn’t trying to looking sexy. She’s not even trying to put together outfits that make sense. She’s just exploring her encyclopedic knowledge of fashion and entertaining her followers in the process.

Dress and boots: Balenciaga, Earrings: Cartier

Tell me how you got started and came up with the idea to do this on TikTok. It's a really unique perspective, the way you present fashion on TikTok.

I started NYU in the fall of 2017 and I was always wearing cute little outfits everywhere I went. Even if I was just running to the bodega, I was wearing something cute. Then the pandemic started and I moved from my apartment on the Lower East Side into my parents' home in Connecticut. I was just wearing pajamas every single day. Granted, I do have some cute pajamas. Before the pandemic, I would go out and thrift fuzzy pajama pants, and I would wear them as real pants to parties with cute sneakers and a cropped tank top, maybe, and some layered jewelry. So I did have cute pajamas, it wasn't all depressing clothing.

But I was getting pretty depressed, not putting on outfits every day. So I just started posting. I found a bag full of children's shorts from Limited Too from my childhood in the back of my closet. I put them on and they all magically fit. I posted a video trying on those shorts and I think it maybe got 10,000 views, which to me at the time was an impossibly large amount of views. My camp friends were all trying to go viral doing TikTok dances, but I don't think any of them had any success with that. So they would write in the group chat like, "Oh, I just posted this TikTok, check it out." Which is how I got on TikTok in the first place during the pandemic.

After that video blew up, I was like, "Oh, it felt really good to just try on all this clothing." So I started documenting trying on clothing, putting together outfits. What's funny is my videos did not go viral at first because of anything I was wearing. It was actually because I had a lot of body hair. I had armpit hair and, I don't know, apparently this was not normal in June 2020. I would get a lot of hate comments about it, so that would boost the algorithm and my videos would go super viral. People would jump to my defense and I would make video responses where I responded really maturely to haters and just explained, "Body hair is normal. I have it, everyone grows it, whatever." So I started to game traction from that, but I was still nonetheless posting my fashion videos.

Dress: Gucci, Earrings and rings: Swarovski, Headband and necklace (top): Clara's own, Necklace (bottom) and bracelet: Cartier, Shoes: Sies Marjan (courtesy of Gabriel Held Vintage)

Talk about your style.

I've always had a playful, distinctive style. I definitely was ostracized for a while in high school. Being in the city, I got to fully express myself. I've never been afraid to experiment and I've always gone for things that are more eclectic. I aim for things to not make sense together. So when my fashion content started getting more attention on TikTok, people would always be like, "Is this a joke? Is this satire?" And I'd be like, "Why would I be investing in these pieces if I was going to wear them as a joke for a TikTok?’" Then I'd show my wardrobe and I'd show how much clothing I had, and people would be like, "Okay yeah, that is a lot of clothing. Maybe it isn't a joke."

That’s a lot of work for a joke.

I've heard from a lot of people on TikTok that I'm an acquired taste. People will message me, or a video will blow up and I'll get a lot of hate on an outfit, but I'll still gain followers off it. Then months later, I'll get messages. I get these messages on a daily basis that'll basically be like, "I used to hate you. I hate followed you. I thought your outfits were horrible." Some people, they're like, "I thought you were terrifying," which I don't really get. But then those, "But now you inspire me to be myself and you inspire me every day to express myself," and all of this really nice stuff. So it's backhanded nonetheless.

Seeing someone be themselves can be scary a little bit just because it makes you realize that you are not being your authentic self. I think the negative reaction comes from a place of a war with yourself. And when people see me continually being myself no matter what anyone says, that helps other people learn to be more comfortable in their own skin.

Dress: Area, Earrings: Swarovski

Your style reminds me of Chloë Sevigny in the '90s. I would see her wearing something crazy and totally not get it, although I knew she was brilliant and knew what she was doing. It just took me a while to figure it out.

People will comment also on a daily basis saying that they're starting to understand me and they realize that what I'm doing is smart. Also, I used to just do short videos where I show the different articles of clothing that I'm wearing. I've recently transitioned to doing more things where I let people in a little bit on my thought process and I'll even include clips where I've tried something on and I say it doesn't work and I explain why I don't think it works. So I've been more open about my thought process just because I realized that people find it interesting and it also helps people. But at the same time, I love something that aesthetically seems like it has no grip on reality.

I've been psychotic in my life. I have bipolar disorder, I've been hospitalized and stuff. So I really own the term "deranged" and I feel like that's what I'm going for a lot of the time. I also like to go for grandiose, out of touch things. People are like, "Oh, it doesn't make sense," but I'm like, "Well, who says it has to make sense?" It's bright, it's visually appealing, it's eclectic and I find that fun.

I love it. It's almost like, "That makes no sense," and you're like, "Thank you, that's the point."

I do take it as a compliment.

Top and skirt: Chloé, Earring (left): Panconesi, Earring (right) and bracelet: Cartier, Necklace (top) Pamela Love, Necklace (bottom) and rings: Swarovski, Shoes: Camper Lab

I'm extremely impressed with some of your favorite designers. How do you even know what Voyage is or how do you know what M Missoni in the early 2000s looked like? Do you do research or where have you gained this extensive fashion knowledge?

M Missoni in the early 2000s, my mom was buying it and I have pieces from her that she would wear that I remember super fondly from my early childhood. I am doing research constantly. Honestly, I don't even think it's a sane or healthy thing, the way that I would just go down rabbit holes to give myself purpose. But when I was in Zoom school, when I wasn't in school, I was doing deep dives on Poshmark. I'd find a brand and then I'd look up literally every single piece from that brand on the internet. I look at everything and then from there I decide if I want to buy something. Because I know everything that's there, I know what's good and I get a general sense of the whole collection.

But Voyage, specifically, I was in a thrift store in Berlin and on a clearance rack was a pair of Voyage pants. I picked them up and they had embroidery of a mushroom and it had zig-zag seams with rhinestones on them, and it had a raw hem waistline with no belt loops. I was like, "These are the greatest pants ever." I'm a jeans person, I'm an embroidered, printed, whatever type of pants person. So I bought them immediately. I tried them on, they fit well enough. They were a little big, but I was like, "Okay, I'll make it work." And it had the tag on them. From there, if I find something that I like at a thrift store or wherever, I'm going to do a ton of research. I love school, I love learning and I just treat this as another type of learning. I've devoted a lot of time to it. I will read articles on the internet, I will look through resale websites, I will look through old ads. I will find out everything I can find out. I will look at my computer screen for so long that my eyes are staring in two different directions and I get a migraine.

It becomes unpleasant, but I'm really committed to the rabbit hole, the research. And so from Voyage, after I got those pants, it was just a ton of research. I waited a while until I found the perfect pair of pants I wanted to buy and I got those. And then I got another pair of pants. After only three pairs of pants, all in different sizes, you start to figure out stuff like, "Oh, the sizing is horrible. It runs two sizes too small." After that I started getting really good at finding things and searching different terms instead of just investing in the original Voyage. Sometimes you search Voyage jeans, sometimes you search Voyage London. But everything I found after the first three pairs of pants I got has been really, really cheap because I search on a weekly basis just to see what pops up that's new. I realize that's a brand where a lot of people don't know anything about it.

Dress: Moschino, Earring (left): Swarovski, Earring (right) Joanna Laura Constantine, Rings: Clara's own, Tights: Stylist's own, Shoes: Camper

At all.

So the person who's selling it doesn't necessarily know anything about it a lot of the time, and won't bother to look it up so you can find it for cheap because they don't know what they're sitting on. Even though it's one-of-a-kind handmade and all that, they have no idea.

You seem to love very high-end esoteric things, but you're not a fashion snob. You just like things that you like, whether they're legendary or high-end or OG or cool or new. Is that true or are you a bit of a label whore?

I'm not a label whore at all. I always tell people that there's a lot of brands that aren't designer, but they're designer to me. And things that aren't high-end at all.

I'm not buying new fast fashion, even if it's aesthetically interesting. That's not for me. I'm more into secondhand, sustainable shopping, even though the amount of clothing I own admittedly is not sustainable at all. But yeah, it's really just about if I'm consistently blown away by what they're doing. That doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be really loud because a lot of the clothing I own is loud, but then I have a huge collection of Stella McCartney-era Chloé. I'm fully a collector, I spend so much time every week searching for pieces. And most of that stuff is pretty minimal, the color palette is very muted.

But I think good design is good design. A pair of jeans with an interesting zipper placement or an interesting decal or a shirt that has the perfect cut, the perfect three quarter sleeves and a nice material. I like good design in general, not just bold design.

Dress and boots: Balenciaga, Earrings: Cartier

I love that you love Stella-era Chloé, because I love Stella Chloé, I love Phoebe Chloé, I love this girl, Hannah Fitzgibbon for Chloé. Tell me about Stella Chloé versus Chloé today, and what your thoughts are on it.

I've asked my friends, "What do you think of Chloé today?" And they'll always say the same thing that I say, which is it is a perfect brand. Anytime I dress in a Chloé color palette on TikTok or inspired by Chloé on TikTok, people will be like, "What's wrong with you? Where are all the layers? What are you doing? Where is the color?" And I'm like, "No, I'm just expressing a different side of my interests, which doesn't always come out." But I think the price point is really unattainable for me.

At the same time, every single day I go online and I look at Poshmark, the Real Real, eBay, I look at every single new Chloé thing that has been listed. I sort chronologically and I see everything new because I want to get a good sense of what's for sale, everything, all the collections. I don't want to just see them on the runway, I want to see some close-up pictures, all of that. It is an obsession of mine, new Chloé. I think it's still perfect. I think it has been perfect throughout. I'm not as into Karl Lagerfeld Chloé, actually.

Dress: Gucci, Earrings and rings: Swarovski, Headband and necklace (top): Clara's own, Necklace (bottom) and bracelet: Cartier, Shoes: Sies Marjan (courtesy of Gabriel Held Vintage)


Of all the decades, I'm the least into the '80s. There're some brands that were big in the '80s that I really love, like Christian Lacroix, but the '80s is what I'm least into, so I'm not as into Karl's. But I'll see pieces from Karl's collection online and I'll be like, "Okay, that's gorgeous, that's gorgeously made." I think it's less youthful. What I really love about Stella McCarthy's era of Chloé is she was so young and what she had to say was so relevant and it was so geared towards people who were my age.

I'm about to be 23 and in terms of design, just the way the low rise cut of everything, the fit and flare of things are so flattering, the interesting sleeves or the way a shirt will be the perfect amount of cropped, or the decals of fruit. Anything, everything, the horses on them, all of that is just so youthful, so fun. And also at the same time, really sexy and mature. It's the perfect balance of youthful and mature. I have this tube top, it's a cream colored tube top and has tigers printed on it. From Stella McCartney Chloé, I can't remember the collection off the top of my head, but I've never put on a tube top and been like, "Yeah, I look mature," other than this one tube top that I own.

Top and skirt: Chloé, Earring (left): Panconesi, Earring (right) and bracelet: Cartier, Necklace (top) Pamela Love, Necklace (bottom) and rings: Swarovski, Shoes: Camper Lab

TinyJewishGirl's 20 Favorite Brands From the Past Few Decades

Stella McCartney-era Chloé​

I love that a brand like Chloé gave a voice to such a young person like Stella McCartney. Anyone complaining about nepotism here can get lost. This decision was a blessing to us all, the girl clearly had a lot to say. I believe I have about 30 items in my Stella Chloe collection, ranging from jeans to a corset to sunglasses.


The Invest in the Original Voyage line all being one-of-a-kind and handmade really appeals to the individuality complex that I developed after spending high school getting bullied for being "alternative." I'll admit that the diffusion lines don't speak to me as much and I've passed up many opportunities to purchase pieces from them, even when the price was right. This is a brand that I actively collect and I will talk about to anyone who will listen, so I love that there is a nice history accompanying the brand, even including some drama, like famously kicking Madonna out of their store.

Mid '90s Gaultier

People on TikTok have started saying recently that I dress like I'm from the future or for the future. I think during the mid '90s, Gaultier had a good run of designing for a future. I mean, he even did explicitly that for the movie, The Fifth Element. I'm obsessed with the '90s-does-future sci-fi aesthetic and Gaultier had a good run where many pieces from his collections could fit that description. And here we are, wearing all of that stuff two decades later.

Marc Jacobs

The single most hated article of clothing in my collection on TikTok are my Marc Jacobs micro shorts. I can't remember what collection they are from off the top of my head, but they are yellow and silver jacquard, and TikTok insists that they make me look like I'm wearing a diaper. My love for them is unwavering, though. I read a book on Marc Jacobs on an airplane once in high school and I've been obsessed with him ever since. I miss Marc by Marc Jacobs, but God, was Heaven a great idea. Marc Jacobs is a genius and there is not a single person alive who looks better in a skirt than he does. I love his personal aesthetic, as well, like the decision to tattoo cartoons all over his body. I want the hoodie that he made with cartoons of his cartoon tattoos placed on the hoodie where they are placed on his actual body so badly. I look for it every week, but I've been unsuccessful so far.

Stella McCartney

I just stopped being a vegan because I was starting to feel sickly after four years of keeping it up, but I have infinite respect for Stella's commitment to keeping animal products out of her designs and for her commitment to sustainability. Stella McCartney is also, undeniably, a cool person, aside from her designs. And damn, do I want a Rock Royalty shirt, but only if I can find the Chloé pants with the cutouts that Stella wore with that shirt to the Met Gala.

Moschino and Jeremy Scott

I designed my major at NYU Gallatin around cultural criticism and creative writing, and I truly believe that Jeremy Scott's work is brilliant cultural commentary. I never took any fashion classes in school or even wrote any papers on fashion, but if I had another semester to go, I would've found some way to work a paper on Jeremy Scott's cultural commentary in his collections into my classwork. God damn, do I have at least 3,000 words to say on the matter. I finally got a pair of Jeremy Scott Adidas and I am so jazzed about it. Old Moschino is great, too, and I love my vintage pieces, but Jeremy Scott is harder for me. I think he's designing for the future, as well. The McDonalds stuff is straight out of Idiocracy.


My boyfriend's grandfather just died recently. As his health was declining, we bonded over fashion. He had a large collection of Gianni Versace pieces because, as he put it, "Gianni Versace knew how to make a man feel sexy." I love that he said that. Versace, especially menswear, and especially from when Gianni Versace was alive, will always make me think of Grandpa Norman.

Versace by Donatella

Grandpa Norman tried keeping up with Versace after Gianni's death, but his heart wasn't really in it and he stopped buying it eventually. I am not as familiar with Donatella's menswear as I am with her women's collections. Donatella designed clothing in the early 2000s that childhood me envisioned wearing if I was ever famous.

Karl Lagerfeld Fendi

I don't know if I'm supposed to admit this, and rest in peace and whatnot, but I don't think I like Karl Lagerfeld's work as much as I am supposed to as someone who is into fashion. Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi is the endeavor of his that gives me hope that I'll someday fall down the whole Karl Lagerfeld career retrospective rabbit hole. When I look through the Spring 2000 collection, a soundtrack of angels singing plays in my head. I think I dress to make my younger self happy, and I have such vivid memories of being a little kid in the early 2000s and looking at adult women in magazines and being excited to become that some day. Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi in that era made clothing for the grown up that I wanted to become.

2000s M Missoni

My mom had quite a few M Missoni dresses when I was growing up, and she'd always whip them out when we went to family and friends' bar mitzvahs. In fact, she wore a very sexy bodycon M Missoni dress with a huge cutout at the chest to my b'nai mitzvah party. I wish I could wear it, but it's nip slip central on me. My mom instilled in me and my sister our love of fashion and, more significantly, taught us to be good shoppers. I have nothing but fond memories of my mom's style moments.

David Dalrymple for Patricia Field​

David Dalrymple designed for Patricia Field's line, House of Field. I think Patricia Field is a god amongst men and I hold David Dalrymple in the same esteem. On numerous occasions, I have lost bidding wars on his pieces and it seems those items end up on big fashion world people's Instagrams months later. I'm all about pieces finding a good home, so I can't even be mad.


My grandma has showed me some of her very old Ungaro pieces. They are all awesome, but when I later saw what Ungaro was up to in the early 2000s I was stunned. If Karl for Fendi designed for the adult woman that I wanted to be, early 2000s Ungaro was designed for the teenager that early 2000s high school movies made me expect to become. Butterflies, sequins, beads, ruffles, lace. Cropped everything.

Betsey Johnson

I'm actually working for Steve Madden, who owns Betsey Johnson, doing social media marketing and am about to take on some responsibilities with Betsey. If social media had existed my whole life, this would certainly be a lifelong dream come true. Betsey is whimsical, bright and the best type of kitschy. I respect Betsey, herself, as a lifelong devotee to kooky style and hope to maintain even half of her vibrancy throughout my life.


Cavalli is one of those spectacular examples of a brand whose diffusion lines are just as incredible as the main line. Cavalli is just hot. Period. End of story.

​ Tyler McGillivary

Tyler McGillivary is a great designer, but also a nice person who I am friends with. She sent me some pieces recently and I wore a very beautiful bodycon dress by her to my high school reunion. I was very overdressed, which was perfect. She has such a brilliant sense of color and her prints are amazing.


Casablanca makes the most incredible button down shirts. They're very loud, almost like '80s and '90s Versace button downs, but somehow much less gaudy with less offensive (and more visually appealing) color palettes.

​Hope Macaulay

I know exactly how I am going to look when I someday buy a Hope Macaulay knit and try it on, which is bulky. I love that. I'm petite with truly no shoulders, and any time I put on a really thick knit, I look in the mirror and immediately feel powerful. I think that comes from having an incredibly muscular mom (What you're probably picking up on at this point is that I am, without a doubt, a product of my upbringing). I love her sense of color and I cannot wait to own a piece by Hope, hopefully someday soon.

Max Mulder

I love funky knits. Max Mulder pieces look like abstract portraits of bugs that I would be terrified of (if you look at their Instagram, you will understand exactly what I mean). I am all about facing my fears, so that is the number one thing in my SSENSE cart.


My dyslexic boyfriend got so mad when he found out how Eytys was pronounced after looking at the spelling on Instagram for ages. Eytys is so fun, so cool and so hot. Great shoes. Strong aesthetics. They're also living in the future.

Charlotte Knowles

Can I just flex for a moment and say that I have had Charlotte Knowles on my radar since before Bella Hadid wore it? For the record, not a dig at Bella Hadid, by the way. She's very cool and I respect the fact that anything she wears suddenly enters the running to become a trend. Just trying to tell you that I, too, am cool. Charlotte Knowles is ridiculously sexy and I love a brand with a strong color palette.

Photography: James Emmerman
Styling: Scott Shapiro
Hair: Matt Benns
Makeup: Kento Utsubo
Photo assistant: John Novotny
Styling assistant: Jasmine James
Makeup assistant: Mana Atsumi