J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons on her love for classic stripes
Jenna Lyons uses stripes as a starting point when designing new collections.
Fresh out of graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York in 1990, Lyons joined J.Crew and began as an assistant designer in menswear.
She’s since worked her way up, and has been creative director and president for the American retailer since 2010.
Renowned for her always-appropriate style, Lyons shares that when she’s working on a new line she always starts with a wardrobe essential, the humble stripe.
“I love stripes – I don’t think there’s a sequin, print or bright colour that a stripe doesn’t like. At J.Crew, we have more stripes than we know what to do with, so using them as a starting point for a collection was easy,” she told The Edit. “I’m always mixing them up. I remember the first time I wore stripes on stripes, my mother said, ‘Oh, you can do that?’ Of course you can; I find it’s easiest using similar tones.”
Lyons is nearly 6ft tall, which meant growing up she sometimes had to buy men’s clothes because nothing in the women’s section fit her. But such styles have influenced her design choices, and she now loves to mix masculine and feminine pieces.
“I love feathers just as much as I love tailored menswear, such as shirts and blazers, but I’m not so good at wearing all one thing – it feels innately wrong. Yesterday I picked out a crazy sparkly dress for work, so I wore tennis shoes with it,” she smiled.
Lyons’ eclectic style certainly means she makes a statement, but the fashionista claims she sticks with simple silhouettes. She typically opts for wide leg trousers that are high or cropped, as she always likes to show some skin, usually her ankles.
“I always like to show some ankle – it’s the cleavage of the bottom half,” she shared, adding, “Ankle straps are very polarising but I love them. The trick is always to tie them above the ankle bone.”