In the season premiere of the Real Housewives of New York City reboot, Jenna Lyons invites the group over to her place for a girls’ night in. It’s a fairly low-key affair with one important request: wear gold, khaki, or black. The distinct dress code was inspired, in part, by Lyons’s time as executive creative director and president of J. Crew, where the employees would dress to theme every Friday. But while J. Crew employees may have been extremely familiar with khaki (which Lyons reminds audiences is, in fact, a color and not just a pair of pants) the new RHONY cast members were less-than-enthused about the guidelines. The women struggle to determine what to wear before all showing up in black. “I thought she was done with J. Crew,” Brynn Whitfield quips in a confessional. “Why are we still doing khaki?”
But true fashion fans know that it was Lyons’s own personal mix of metallics and neutrals—she often wears utilitarian essentials with ultra-feminine satin and sequins—that shaped the J. Crew aesthetic for years, not the other way around. Leaving the company didn’t mean abandoning the cool, preppy, androgynous style that made her a style star. Just look at the promotional images for the show, which show Lyons in a button-down and Converse, a sharp contrast from her gown-adorned co-stars. At the series’ New York premiere, Lyons did her own version of Housewives glamour, arriving in oversized jeans with an over-the-top pink floral Oscar de la Renta cape—a look that is quintessentially her.
With little tweaks over the years, Lyons has remained faithful to her high-low uniform. For proof, look no further than the Met Gala, an event she’s attended on seven occasions. Each time Lyons has ascended the Met steps, she’s done so in her signature blend of casual pieces with high-shine evening wear. During her tenure at J. Crew, it was a styling approach that landed her on countless mood—and Pinterest—boards.
As a whole new audience is being introduced to her influential—and often attainable—style, we’re taking a look back at her Met Gala hits which shed light on just how solid a gold, black, khaki, and metallic fashion formula can be.
As a journalist, Cathy Owens has always been interested in writing about the business world. She aims to keep her readers up-to-date on current events and trends in the business world, without sacrificing the journalistic integrity that made her want to be a writer in the first place.