So if being a high-powered fashion editor is your goal, you’re in for one long, difficult, yet ultimately rewarding ride. Having innate good taste will get you in the door but it’s really persistence, networking, and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the field that will take you farthest. If you don’t have time for that but desire a fast-track promotion, we have a few tips to at least get your swag up to par…
1. Strike the Perfect Balance of Stylish and Functional Work Clothes
Claire’s already mentioned her love of Paris Vogue editrix Carine Roitfeld’s style, and La Roitfeld’s wardrobe is a perfect model of form meeting function. She’s fashion-forward, put-together, and striking, but contrary to what many may think, you’ll never see her day-to-day in frou-frou couture or outlandish ensembles. Part of a fashion editor’s job includes a lot of running around town, and while you’ll likely be ferried in a Town car (and can therefore justify ridiculously high heels), there are a lot of events and appointments for which you’ll want to be comfortably attired. Blazers, pencil skirts, trousers, and unique accessories (statement necklaces, funky belts) will be some of your best friends.
2. Develop Your Imperious Stare
In this, as they are in many things, American Vogue‘s Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley are tops. To fully master your signature withering glance, envision yourself behind a minimalist yet imposing Phillipe Starck desk yelling “Coffee!” and “Proofs! Now!” at cowering assistants. Remember that the “look” is all about *subtle*, simmering scorn, though: don’t purse those lips too tightly lest you need to start charging frequent Botox sessions to your expense account…
3. Get a Signature Hairstyle
Anna Wintour’s got the Bob, ESSENCE‘s Mikki Taylor’s has the Slick-Back, Ebony‘s Harriette Cole sports the Spiky ‘do, and Teen Vogue‘s Amy Astley is known to rock feathery locks. Try to choose a style where people will recognize you right away, especially at parties as you’re coolly swilling champagne, air-kissing, and giving everyone but your entourage of minions The Stare. And take a look again at our previous piece on signature styles here!
4. Gain a Celebrity Following
Fashion editors often become fast friends with the celebs they feature and, as we all know, rollin’ with the famous is a sure way to make other people ask “Who’s that?!” One of the most beloved-by-celebs editors is Elle‘s Creative Director Joe Zee, whose witty, sparkling persona makes him a fave of the star set (follow him on Twitter and you’ll know why). But remember to ditch the scene when Paris Hilton tries to rope you into taking up-the-skirt paparazzi photos for attention. Journalistic dignity, people!
5. Know Your Stuff
There’s actually really no way to get around this one. You might be able to walk the walk, but if you can’t talk shop you’ll be spotted quicker than a counterfeit Louis Vuitton. A consummate editor knows their fashion history, how the business side of the industry works, and stays ahead of the curve on new developments. Opportunity will abound the more your expertise is recognized and valued. “Project Runway”‘s Nina Garcia is a great example of an editor who jumped from being an industry to a household name with her ability to spot new talent.
Grab some of these essentials to channel your inner editrix!Now work!
*For more tips on how to be a fashion editor, check out this vintage post featuring Essence Magazine’s Beauty & Fashion Editor Pamela Edwards.