Get ready. When you read Anne Fulenwider’s Q&A below you will understand why she is an Editor in Chief (such confidence in the way she talks about style! Such certainty about how and when and where to wear jeans, and not wear jeans, too!). See how assertive and specific Anne is, not just in her Q&A, but in her fashion choices and office decor, also. When I met Anne, who is the editor of Marie Claire, she was in the midst of strategically packing for fashion weeks in Milan and Paris, closing the magazine’s December issue, and training for the Staten Island half-marathon, which she ran this past Sunday. She was wearing J Brand’s Vanessa boot cuts and the crispest white button down from Theory with Christian Louboutin boots and statement bracelets by Hermès. It looked professional, precise, and chic… I thought, if this is what being the boss looks like, let’s do it. And let’s all thank Anne for showing us the perfect wear-to-work jean for women with serious jobs and style, too. Here’s great advice from a top editor. Take it in!
First, how often do you wear jeans to work?
About three times a year. But I wear them every free minute I get at home and on the weekends. Every August, I start to crave jeans-and-sweater weather. Thank God it’s here.
What’s the dress code for denim at Marie Claire? Do you encourage your editors to wear it?
Everyone is free to wear denim in the office. Not everyone does, but I encourage our staff – and our readers – to express themselves through their own personal style, including denim, be it a Brooke-Shields-and-her-Calvins vibe or Cookie-from-Empire-Moschino-jacket style.
When is it always appropriate to wear denim?
Almost anytime, thanks to the millions of styles available at the moment. But for sure at the farmer’s market, to a football game, apple picking… Can you tell I love fall?
When is it never appropriate to wear denim?
To most weddings. And to work at most law firms and investment banks. There are still a few workplaces where formality reigns. I also prefer my family get more dressed up for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, though a Fourth of July barbecue is totally fair game.
VIEW FROM THE TOP Anne Fulenwider in the Marie Claire fashion closet in NYC.
What makes the J Brands you wore for our shoot good for work?
They’re a deep dark-wash, they have an elegant wide-leg cut, and they’re well-tailored, meaning the length is perfect. I have a longish torso and shorter legs, so I’ve never had a pair of jeans I didn’t need to get hemmed.
What do you love most about them?
Very clean lines, a teensy hint of stretch, and a secretly high waist.
If you could go anywhere in the world in them tomorrow, where would you go?
Another thing I love about them is I could throw on a pair of clogs and head upstate or wear them with heeled boots and hop on the plane to Paris, which is where I took them most recently. These are two of my favorite places in the world.
If you could be doing anything in them right now, what would it be?
Watching my son’s hockey game or my daughter’s dance performance.
Who would you recommend your J Brands to? Which friend, celebrity, or public personality would they also look great on?
I think my friend the fabric designer Hannah Harvey would look great in these, partly because she’s always been able to rock a subtle seventies vibe.
IN STEP “Very clean lines, a teensy hint of stretch, and a secretly high waist,” are what Anne loves about J Brand’s Vanessa boot cut jeans.
Is there a denim trend or look you’re loving most right now?
Flare, flare, flare. And boot cut.
What’s the biggest mistake you see women making when it comes to jeans?
Wearing skinny jeans with too much stretch that tug in the wrong places or bunch around the knees.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten about how to wear jeans? Who gave it to you?
My mother always insisted that my sister and I get tighter jeans than we wanted to when we were teenagers. We tease her about it now, but she was actually just trying to get us to wear clothes that fit will and flattered us – and she was right. (Yes, I know how I answered the previous question, but this was before the wide availability of stretch denim!)
How do you encourage your readers to look for new jeans, or wear the seasons’ trends?
I think it was Yves St. Laurent who said ‘Fashions fade; style is eternal.’ Whether you’re looking for a new pair of jeans or a new little black dress, it’s important to choose things that make you feel like your favorite version of yourself. That’s not to say we all don’t need to stray from our comfort zones once in a while. Have fun. Experiment. Be daring. Trends are exciting and we love covering them, but at the end of the day you should recognize the person in the mirror.
Of all the jeans you’ve loved and worn in your life, is there a pair that stands out? Tell me about them.
I own a pair of black Rag & Bone boot-cut jeans that make me feel like a combination of Keith Richards and Wonder Woman. I’m pretty sure Rag & Bone discontinued that particular cut in black, but consider this the first step in my personal campaign to bring them back.