After over twenty-five years with J.Crew, Jenna Lyons has announced that she is exiting the company and her role as its Executive Creative Director and President. Though we aren’t exactly sure what she’ll do next—perhaps her own line or heading up a major fashion house—there’s absolutely no doubt that she is a force to be reckoned with and that she made the once workwear-focused brand one of the most beloved and fashion-forward during her tenure. While we wait for her next move, we thought back on five style lessons she taught us while at the creative helm of J.Crew.
1. Never be afraid to wear neon.
Whether it’s a pair of classic pumps or a flirty dress, Lyons’s embrace of neon was a refreshing palette cleanser. Bold coral hues, electric green, impossible-to-miss pink—nothing was off limits. Bright shades became a signature of the brand no matter what the season and showed us that making a statement really is a way of life.
2. Sequins are always a good idea—for both work and play.
Fact: you should always shimmer and sparkle if possible. Sequins were standard for Lyons who would splash them across everything from timeless trousers to everyday t-shirts. And she always offset them with more pared-down pieces like utilitarian jackets and skinny denim.
3. You can wear denim on the red carpet. And whatever you want to, really.
We’ve seen style icons like Pharrell and Kanye wearing denim on the red carpet now, though Lyons has been doing it for years. At the First Monday in May World Premiere, she paired a chic cape with raw hem cropped skinnies: an effortlessly cool ensemble if ever we saw one. Denim jackets, tuxedos, and ponchos are other non-traditional looks that she has opted for at various high-fashion events. Lyons’s lesson here? Confidence and great tailoring are the major keys of looking red carpet-ready.
4. Gender shouldn’t stop you from expressing yourself through fashion and beauty.
When a J.Crew email showcased the then Creative Director and her son bonding over nail polish, Lyons became a part of the gender identity conversation that fashion is exploring in a major way today, six years later. The caption of the message read, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.” The polish later sold out, demonstrating that you should never let society’s definitions of masculinity and femininity define who you are and how you choose to present yourself.
5. Everyday people are the real style icons.
We realize this is a bit of a play on words given the feature of Everyday People’s Saada Ahmed above, but the brand completely embraced everyday stylish women, men, and those who identify with other gender identifies as their models. That casting method has since been adopted by some major fashion brands. Inclusivity is best!
What’s your favorite Jenna Lyons style moment?