J.Crew is pushing hot and heavy towards owning America's fashion thinking. A few months back the brand brought Jenna Lyons, SVP of women's design, out of the closet in a big way to lead the brand's style conscience and move product.
The "Jenna's Picks" campaign pulls together elemental pieces for the season -- the must-haves -- for the J. Crew lover and serves them up in simple block-like guides sent through email or plastered like a shining shrine to commerce behind the counter at any J. Crew store. The issue, or clever marketing move, is that not all J. Crew stores are carrying all of Jenna's picks. So the J. Crewaholic must go to the larger, "better," J. Crew to access the product immediately, before it's all gone! Brilliant, really.
Jenna is on a media tour, educating the masses on the whimsical J. Crew style. And her advice is good. Simple and direct. A "do this, not that" approach to dressing. Here are her tips for men's dressing:
(By the way, in full disclosure, I just bought a ton of stuff from J. Crew for Fall. You'd think I'd be above the marketing machine. Damn.)
Rules of Style: J.Crew's Jenna Lyons
The creative director on vintage watches, slim jeans, and the horror of pleats
May 27, 2009
- There's nothing sexier than a blazer, a tie, and jeans. And yet most men can't put it together; they either end up with a suit and tie or jeans and T-shirt. Try taking half from one look and half from the other. Chances are you'll get something a little bit cooler.
- Men don't shop enough. Being current has everything to do with finding the place you want to shop, whether it's J.Crew or Tom Ford. You have to get off your duff and get out there, because styles evolve. Certain things are classics and they do stay, but men need to keep updating their wardrobe, because change is subtle. For example, denim is getting slimmer. If you're wearing jeans from two years ago, they probably don't look current. Get a new pair of jeans.
- Overplucked, overdone men are frightening to me. Women want a man who looks like he takes care of himself but doesn't look like he thinks about it more than she does.
- A pressed shirt signals work mode. But a washed-cotton shirt automatically makes you feel more touchable, more approachable. It's effortless. However, if everything is washed—that's not interesting. When washed is paired with a blazer and a tie, it looks amazing.
- Most men don't have a clue about tailoring. They hate to ask for directions and they hate to ask if something looks good on them. Learn to ask the salesperson. Ask a woman. Great tailoring always makes guys look better.
- Get dressed, then change one element. With a suit, wear a pair of Converse, or take off your dress shirt and put on a chambray button-down instead. You can also do the reverse. Try khakis rolled up with wingtips. Tweaking one thing is an easy way for guys to modernize an outfit, even if they don't know what the hell they're doing.
- Three subjects are off-limits to my husband: my mother, my ass, and my age. The worst thing you can do to a woman is to make her feel like she's not beautiful anymore. The best thing is to pay her a compliment.
- What women notice are the shoes and the watch. Go for understated elegance, whether it's a vintage Rolex or a classic Timex or a watch that was your grandfather's. It's the same with shoes. I love a pair that look like they've been resoled 10 times.
- A giant shirt is not cute. If it feels overly comfortable, it probably doesn't look so good. A simple fit test is to check your shoulder seam. It's designed to be on your shoulder line—not somewhere near it.
- We don't need you to be perfect. What we do need is for you to look a little bit more pulled-together. And no pleats, please, not ever, ever, in your life. Ever.