Thursday, April 6, 2017

"The End of an Era"

Quintessential Jenna

That's the New York Times, writing today on Jenna Lyons parting ways with J Crew. I don't style myself as a reporter here at the blog, but Jenna and J Crew were enough of a fashion moment to warrant a few thoughts.

In case you haven't heard, Jenna Lyons' contract will not be renewed, and she has stepped down as president and creative director of J Crew. Jenna has been with the firm since 1990. She worked in a fairly low-on-the-totem-pole capacity but stood out (at 6 feet tall) for her personal style, the quirky way she paired J Crew basics with vintage and utilitarian finds. Spotted by new owner Mickey Drexler in 2003, she was anointed to lead a J Crew revolution.

Jenna says...

Jenna at J Crew encouraged women to wear a tuxedo jacket with jeans or a chambray shirt with a ball gown. Sequin pencil skirts with a twin set were fine for day. A camo jumpsuit decked out in chunky costume jewelry and strappy heels rocked the night. Makeup was less; lipstick was all; confidence your greatest accessory. She made nerdy glasses chic and did it all effortlessly.

Powerful even in PJs

How could this not inspire millions of women that it was OK to have fun with fashion, raid Grandma's jewelry box and mix-and-match classic pieces like a third grader playing dress-up? After a while the look became a cliche, but I bought into it because that's what I like too.

Jenna's ethic was classic J Crew for almost 15 years. Fashion is nothing but fickle. Today's Style can be tomorrow's Cliche, and no one will tell you until something like this happens.

What will become of my brocade pants and ballet flats? Will J Crew return to its madras and broadcloth past? Where will Jenna Lyons land next?

I have a feeling she'll do alright. A magazine editor's slot? Her own label? I'm not so sure about us. The same New York Times today predicts the new fashion will be "protective, oversize, soft and enveloping". Now where did I put that sleeping bag???    

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