Style Icons: Jenna Lyons, Working Girl

Post by CM

I am at my wit’s end with office attire. At. My Wit’s. End. I know many officey environments like the Credit Union and the bank have uniforms – polyester mix too-large jacket and too-short boot cut trousers mostly – but what about solicitors and accountants and others of that ilk? I know, particularly for women, that it’s important to look in control, serious and professional but really, does that have to mean a navy skirt suit, white blouse and low heels every time?

No. So what to do about it? The first, and (almost) only person to look to is J Crew’s Creative Director Jenna Lyons. She’s my new favourite everything. Known for her glasses, severe, slicked back hair and immaculate styling, she’s the one to watch if you want to up your office style stakes. When I want to look polished and professional whilst retaining my personal style, she’s the one I look to for inspiration.

JL9You may recognise her from her cameo role in Girls, where she played Hannah’s no nonsense editor, and you can be sure she sported her own clothes in the episodes she appeared in. Her style has evolved, but, as befitting the creative director of a hip clothing company, she has been consistently pulled together all through the years. Here she is in 2011 – a look that is pretty much perfect as we head into Autumn…

NYFW 2011

She’s shaking things up a bit in this next outfit –  more befitting casual Friday perhaps?(!) But isn’t it a sign of a strong, capable personality to be able to head out in a power look like this?

JL2Even though this is a simple jumper and slacks number, see how the styling on the neckline brings it to life? And there’s even a white shirt, for those unwilling to give up on that particular item just yet!

JL3Another throwback look – but the faux fur scarf is bang on trend for this Autumn, as is the boyfriend blazer. Swap the floaty dress or something a bit more structured and you have your winter look sorted!

JL6Such a cute yet eye-catching combo. Do you ever think to pair a beige wooly sweater with white silk pants? Me neither, until now! Nice for casual after work drinks in an up-market bar.

JL4Geometric patterns aren’t for everyone – but there’s that white shirt again to keep everything tied together and down to Earth! Love the blue shoes picking up the hues in the sweater.


I once worked a part-time job, flitting between various high street shops to deliver and arrange jewellery. The dress code was strangely strict, and denim was forbidden. I always found it a bit weird – I guess we worker bees were supposed to fit in with the aesthetic of the stores, but denim was a real trend at the time (when isn’t it?) and I really struggled each of the three days I worked to choose something that had pockets (for my phone – also forbidden on the shop floor) and could get me through the active few hours in comfort.

But see how Jenna can make the double denim look perfectly pristine? Maybe not one for the boardroom, but I’d be happy take a meeting with a lady who rocks a Canadian tuxedo!

JL5Go on, you know you want to Google image search more pics of Jenna for more work style inspiration! Or those of you between jobs, you know what they say – dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Plenty of interview inspo there too

Another great resource is What Elle Wears to Work, over on, updated every Tuesday. Happy hunting!


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