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FabSugar Interviews J.Crew's Jenna Lyons

Fab Exclusive! When Jenna J.Crew Realized It Was OK to Wear Red Lipstick and Dorky Glasses

As we continue exploring the depths of J.Crew's Creative Director, Jenna and I discussed one of my favorite topics: the difference between East and West Coast style. I lived in NYC for six years, but am back in California, to stay. Needless to say, my years in New York influence my wardrobe. Than again, so has my active lifestyle in Cali. I mentioned before that Jenna is a born and bred Cali girl, but she is a self-proclaimed New Yorker, after living there for 25 years now.

What do you think are the main differences between East and West Coast style?

That to me is easy. I remember when I moved to NY, the first week that I was here, I noticed that guys were looking at me on the street and the idea of beauty here is so diverse — you can be six feet tall and brunette, you can be blond, you can be bald, you can have blue hair, you can be a tomboy, you can be a sex kitten — you can be anything here. There are all different ideals of beauty here and I think being an individual is praised, whereas when I grew up in CA I always felt like an outcast because I didn’t have blond hair and blue eyes, and I didn’t have any boobs. There’s definitely a look that exists in CA — everyone dresses alike — and I think that was really challenging growing up. I didn’t realize how hard it was until I moved here and all of sudden realized it was OK to look different. It’s OK to wear red lipstick and dorky glasses and a lot of people thought that was cute and that wasn’t the case when I was in CA. And the other thing I love: People dress up here. Like, I looove to dress up.

To see what else Jenna had to say,

The first year I moved back I would go out in SF and wear my best party clothes and my girlfriends were like, you’re really overdressed and I was like, “Screw it! I love this stuff.” And actually now, I’ve toned it down a bit and gotten more sporty and casual — but that’s just what’s gonna happen.


I know. I love a sequin mini skirt, with an oversized sweater, with a sky-high heel, ‘cause you can!

Do you consider yourself a New Yorker?

Totally. I mean when I say home, it’s here. My family’s still in CA. I go to visit them, but here is home. My husband and I, in our wedding vows, said we would never leave NY.

Don't forget to check out all of our New York Fashion Week coverage!

Image Source: Getty
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ranksubjugation ranksubjugation 7 years
Justine beat me to it! I actually grew up in a barrio of Orange County, too. I don't know about Newport or Laguna, but there was plenty of fashion diversity in the barrio: greasers, rockabillies, thugs, surfers, metalheads, grunge influences, guys rockin' cowboy boots and tight jeans). I don't even see the stereotype she's talking about now that I live in LA -- maybe for a specific class of people (the Real Housewives effect), but not for your average person on the street. It's really unfair to lump all of California in with the Heidis and LCs, especially since the state is so physically large and ethnically/economically diverse.
lizlee89 lizlee89 7 years
Justine; I have lived in California my whole life, and, while I don't completely agree with what she says about fashion here, I don't think she's being pretentious or generalizing - that was her experience. However; just like not every single person who lives in New York is dressed to the nine 24/7 (wow; that was a lot of cliches), not everybody in CA is completely alike. I understand that in some communities, style can become cookie-cutter, especially because so many people here are easily influenced by celebrity fashion and trends, but I don't dress like any of my friends or co-workers and I am consistently dressed nicely and stylishly (no sweats and Uggs for me). Unfortunately, many of my fellow Californians have bought into that awful, slobby way of dressing because of too much exposure to pictures of Britney Spears in her heyday; but I don't think it's right to knock all West Coast fashion...
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I would love to live in NY. Here in Florida everyone dresses a like. I think that they cut you styles wins here.
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