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wonders never cease Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14th, 2010how do you cover fashion like jenn barger? (& how do you hold a moonb

[caption id="attachment_3766" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="How we envision Jenn\'s outdoorsy self."]How we envision Jenn's outdoorsy self.[/caption]And now, we turn the tables. We picked up our steno pad and asked Washington Post Express styles editor/FW editor Jenn Barger some questions we’ve been dying to pose. She’ll be sitting down with designer Abigail Glaum-Lathbury to dig into these and more topics this Friday and Saturday.

1) How did you start writing about fashion?
I've always been a writer and an editor, and about 10 years ago, I was working for WHERE Magazine, that city magazine for visitors you find in hotels everywhere. Retail was a big part of my beat, so I went into fashion from that angle. I’ve also done a lot of travel writing that’s retail focused. So I'm always asking questions about fashion in a local sense: What sells here in D.C.? How are the indie boutiques doing? How are local women (and men) wearing new styles?

2) How do you find new voices in this age of hyper-fashion-awareness? (runway shows on iphones, fashion blogs, etc.)
I read blogs (though not as a many as I'd like), keep up with the major pubs (Vogue, Elle, etc) and really just listen to what store owners tell me. I also often attend Fashion Week in New York, which really lets you in on what's happening at the beginning. It's always interesting to watch how what you see on the runway translates into real life and real stores.

3) What do you think of Polyvore?
I like it, though it, and sites like, tend to make me spend money! But I think they all give you more of an idea of what’s out there. It’s always better to be an informed consumer, I think.

4) How important is "new?"
It’s funny — I’m a big proponent of vintage, so in some ways, from where I’m standing, nothing is really “new.” But I think there are always fresh ways of doing a pleat, new ways of stacking a heel, innovative ways of looking at color. It’s always exciting to see a designer (like Abigail, who I’ll be hanging out with this weekend) doing something that’s not too derivative or referencing the past too much — every time I think there’s nothing new under the sun, someone surprises me!

5)Are you finding trends more or less important these days?
I think trends are always important, but I think they’re more like guidelines than absolute rules. Often, like with say, skinny jeans or nude shoes, they’re about something that works well for women. Skinny jeans tuck into boots really well, and for women who look good in them, they’re now a staple. Nude shoes, which have really come up in the last few years, make your legs look a zillion miles long. So I think that trends are important when they suggest a useful, flattering item, or when they give you direction in shopping. But I think being a slave to them is silly. Choose what you like, mix a few things in, and just get out and enjoy yourself.

6) What's your favorite quote about fashion/style?
“Fashion fades, style is eternal” — YSL

7)I remember seeing (former Wash Post/now NY Times fashion editor) Cathy Horyn at Safeway once in a Playboy T and Candies, and that's the image that pops in my mind every time I read her critical analysis of design. (Sorry, Cathy!) Is it hard to be the standard bearer (esp. with creeps like me out there)?
Sometimes it’s tough — I have a crunchy, outdoorsy husband who’d rather see me in hiking boots and a Decemberists T-shirt than new Chie Miharas and a DVF dress. So sometimes, you have to take a break from the well-dressed all the time thing. But I carry big sunglasses with me on those days, so maybe you wouldn’t recognize me anyhow! outdoorsy

8 ) Do you have time for other creative outlets? If so, what?
A colleague and I were talking about this the other day — basically, what I do for a living is so interesting and time-consuming, I often don’t have time for anything else. But I cover food and home design for Express as well, so those are outlets for me. And when I get the chance, I love gardening, cooking, DIY projects and taking stabs at crafty or arty pursuits. And I’m a big theater goer.

9) You always look cool + composed, defying the fashion editor stereotype. How do you do it?
Gosh, that’s sweet, and I think not always true (you haven’t seen me in those muddy hiking boots!). But I think some of it is about loving the creativity of clothing and designers — it’s just enjoyable to get dressed for me most days. I have a good time combining brands, playing with color, mixing in vintage with new, cheap with not-so-cheap.


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