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Friday, 4 April 2014

WIT mama Friday Guest Star: J.Crew's crewcuts design guru Jenny Cooper

I had the great pleasure of meeting Jenny Cooper, Head of crewcuts design, at the J.Crew pop-up store launch in London back in May last year. I had recently become a mum and the world of crewcuts had just become that much more interesting to me. We chatted away about Greta, her two boys, monogrammed cashmere, neon pops and the much anticipated J.Crew store opening later on in the year and promised to stay in touch.  

One year later (and one too many crewcuts buys later for Greta), I asked her if she would guest star in one of my WIT mama Friday posts, and answer a few questions about the crewcuts aesthetic that we at WIT love so much.  I am thrilled to say that she agreed, and here's what she had to say..

WIT:  Jenny, we already love J.Crew in the UK but we were wondering what's the perfect recipe to achieve the crewcuts look for our kids?
Jenny: I’m not sure there is just one answer to that question!  I think if you are a boy, you would take a little bit of slim, sunwashed chino and mix in a neon striped sock, a cool graphic tee and maybe a Ludlow jacket on top for attitude.  If you’re a girl, maybe it would be a slim slouchy army pant with a sparkle encrusted sweatshirt, and either a Golden Bear varsity jacket  borrowed from her brother or a wool motorcycle jacket or a neon Kway jacket.  I could keep making outfits all day……but basically something casual and everyday worn with a favorite quirky item.  I think everyone, children especially, has that special item of clothing with personality that they gravitate to and will remember for the rest of their lives.

WIT:  Tell us about your love affair with J.Crew. How long have you worked there and how did it all start for you?
Jenny: I’ve been at J.Crew since 2000, initially designing women's sweaters for 7 years and then when we launched crewcuts, I had a couple test subjects (children) at home so it was a very simple and exciting transition for me.  J.Crew has always had an ease to it, combined with a sense of fun and dress-up, that has always resonated with me and which I think works particularly well for kids.

WIT: Which are your personal favourite top five designs this season?
Jenny: I’ll start with girls!  The SUNSHINE tee (1) with the toothpick jean in railroad stripe (4)  and the Darby loafer in basket weave (5).  I also Love the embroidered dress (6) that was embroidered with a layout that we found in a Moroccan market.  The next favorite outfit is the embroidered pompom tunic (3) with the cowgirl denim cut-offs in river blue wash (2).  These were hemmed and then unhemmed to create a little undone edge at the hem of a perfect worn –in blue wash.  And not to forget – the glitter slip-on in multi (7) the sneaker of the moment!  Also the Taryn dress (A6154) comes in mid-April) and is a gorgeous blue floral print that we put a slice of neon yellow placket on.  Fortunately that print comes in women's too so I can have something in it too!

6) Girls' embroidered dress £65.00
7) Girls' glitter slip-on sneakers item £56.00
WIT:  And for boys?
Jenny: Oh my.. where to start!  I get to buy it all and test it on my own kids so I have a really hard time narrowing it down!  But I just bought our homage to the upcoming World Cup tee (style# to follow) which will be online in 1 week and our There’s Only 1 tee (5) because my heart breaks whenever he wears it!  I was also really excited to get the black Puma hightops (7) and for Spring Break the kids water sandals (2).  As I’m writing this I put the boys Japanese chambray suit (1 and 4) in my bag, because he’ll be able to wear it as a suit and the pants by themselves with a graphic tee.  AND the kids sunnies in clear (3) because they have a fantastic mirrored greeny-pink lens.  Last but not least – the Stanton short in Big Leaf (6) to ring in Spring and summer.  I think I may have gone over 5 but I stopped counting because I can’t when I’m shopping for my boys…..

1) Boys' Ludlow suit jacket in chambray £130.00
2) Kids' water sandals £34.00
3) Kid's sunnies £20.50
4) Boys' slim ludlow suit pant in chambray £74.00
5) Boys' there's only 1 tee £24.50
6) Boys' Stanton short in big leaf print £40.50
7) Kids' Puma® suede mid classic sneakers £42.00
WIT: If we were looking to invest on one little something for our kids that will last all through the summer season, what should it be?
Jenny: In my experience a favorite pair of shorts gets worn almost more than anything else.

Girls' cuffed chino short item £32.00
WIT: Let's talk about mums on-duty style. Do you have a uniform? 
Jenny: Well right now I’m wearing a man’s uniform pantsuit….does that count?  But the usual uniform is a pair of jeans (they change, right now it’s either a pair of high-waisted cropped flairs or a Point Sur white selvage roll-up (Point Sur slim stacker Japanese selvedge jean in marshmallow wash £238.00), a linen V-neck tee from J.Crew, either white or heather grey, one with my name monogrammed on the back neck, and a jacket of some sort.  The jeans change and the jacket changes but the shirt is always the same!  I’ve also been wearing a really cosy men’s grey sweatshirt in XL (Sueded fleece sweatshirt item £69.50)

WIT: Thank you so much Jenny! And off I go to buy Greta that pom pom tunic...

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