Style Portrait: Jessica Pilot — Writer, Producer


I was born and raised in Manhattan, but I’ve lived all over the city and in Brooklyn. The geographies and cultures of all those different neighborhoods somehow manifest in the way I dress. I wear black a lot. Funeral procession chic.

I remember a casting agent in LA telling me I look like such a New Yorker, which I think is a great compliment. I grew up here: East Village, Upper East Side, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Gramercy, Upper West Side — these neighborhoods have had some influence on my style. Right now I have this uniform, for the past six months — black leather J. Brand leggings, black knit rag and bone sweater, black boots. I think I can make “badass” chic, somehow. Or so I would like to think. I’m afraid I might look like every other hipster at times, but I have bigger concerns in life than fitting a damn typecast.

Most days, I love a good pair of black J. Brand jeans, fitted and functional. Leather and lace. I live in leather leggings half the week. J. Brand, Rich & Skinny are the best. Shit kicking boots are a must, regardless: Chanel, Jeffery Campbell, A good sturdy heel to walk around and cause some trouble in.

I recall using red Sharpie to outline my lips at seven years old. It did not look very good and took days to fade. I still am obsessed with bright red lipliner, but I prefer MAC to Sharpie brand, these days. Admittedly I was a pretty bratty punk growing up, and I can’t really shake that off. I feel good when I follow my own rules, stylistically and creatively. When I was in Ukraine shooting a documentary on the lives of mail order brides, I was mistaken for one. What does that say? Well, let’s just say I am into Cindy Sherman‘s work. As a writer I’ve explored immersion journalism, and I’ve found that, in terms of getting access, style can be very useful.

I am lucky in the sense that I rarely have a dress code when working. I can be myself. When I am producing in the field I will not ditch my vintage Chanel patent leather boots or leather leggings — even in rural Indiana where I was recently shooting a short. You won’t find anyone in Kentland, Indiana wearing leather leggings, but maybe now you will. I hope I left a mark.

Sometimes though, with most fashion trends, I just can’t be bothered. I have a few nice pieces, but I don’t believe that you need to have that “it” item to be en vogue… You can get away with a knockoff if you carry it well. But it better be a good knock off.







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