The woman responsible for the revamp that put J. Crew back in all of our closets hasn’t always cavorted beautifully around in silky button-downs and pencil pants. Jenna Lyons, executive creative director of the company, admitted to growing up more geek than chic in a recent interview with The New York Times.
Uber tall with trademark sturdy black eye frames, Lyons garners attention wherever she goes — be it turning heads in a satin suit at the CFDA Awards or pairing up with Garance Dore for a webisode — but she acknowledges that it hasn’t always been a positive thing. Growing up in California, she suffered from a genetic disorder that caused, among other things, skin scarring and hair falling out. Sewing (and consequently fashion) became a coping mechanism, but she’s never forgotten the feeling of being on the fringes:
“I am so not an insider, and that is O.K. I might feel like one in very particular moments. But I don’t feel the same pressure I did when I was young to be part of the club. I’m not one of the cool kids, and that is totally fine.”
Lyons has admirably handled the scrutiny that came after she thanked her alleged girlfriend in her acceptance speech for Glamour‘s Woman of the Year award. Toughing it through those teenage years likely had a lot to do with her poise.