Shaping Our Future

J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons on How to Take Criticism

"I don’t think about things in a singular way, I care about the mix"

Walk down the streets of any American city and you’re likely to see Jenna Lyons’ handiwork. The J. Crew creative director and president has been dubbed “the woman who dresses America,” and she’s earned it—her clothes appear on everyone from college school students experimenting with their style to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Since being named to the TIME 100 in 2013, Lyons has become an even more public face of the company, appearing in a recurring role on HBO’s Girls and coming under criticism for amid declining sales numbers for the company. But she is focused on the job at hand: turning out new clothes that people will love each season, and showing shoppers how they can style them for maximal effect.

“To me,” she says, “clothing is about a lifestyle and a wardrobe. That’s why I like working here, because it’s not about that thing, it’s about, ‘I’m only interested in the thing next to the other thing.’ I don’t care about the earring; I care about the earring next to the jean jacket. I don’t care about the tee shirt, I care about the tee shirt with the jean jacket. I don’t think about things in a singular way, I care about the mix.”

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