Euro Chic or Posh Eclectic?
Lucky’s creative director explains how to own your styleBy Bari Walsh
Andrea Linett (CGS'85, COM'87)
Andrea Linett (CGS’85, COM’87), the creative director of Lucky magazine, has had a long career in the glossy pages of fashion magazines. She started as a fashion assistant at the fondly remembered Sassy in 1987. By the time she left, in 1993, to become a freelance stylist and writer, she was the magazine’s fashion and beauty editor. She joined Harper’s Bazaar in 1996 as a fashion writer and stayed there until joining Lucky prior to its launch in 2000. Now, with Lucky’s editor in chief, Kim France, she’s written The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style, a chunky little book full of great pictures of ten iconic looks and advice on how to adopt and adapt them to fit your mood and personality.
Linett spoke to Bostonia about all things style.
Bostonia: Let’s say you’re a styleless college kid, or a clueless twenty-something looking for a job, or even a newly divorced forty-something wanting for a change: how does someone go about building a style — finding the right style for their personality?
Linett: First of all, look around you on the street, in magazines and movies. Is there someone whose style you really admire? Does that style feel right for you? If you love a sexy bombshell look, you wouldn’t want to suddenly bust out a skinny pencil skirt and three inch heels every day if, say, you’re a busy caterer. You could take a little of one particular look and a little from another until it feels comfortable for you. If you still feel like you’re wearing a costume or that people are staring, you’re not there yet.
It’s holiday shopping time, but no one’s feeling very flush right now. What’s the best way to give stylish gifts on a budget?
Style is rarely synonymous with money. Pretty books always make great gifts. If someone loves ships, you can go on Alibris or Amazon and find some interesting picture book about them. There are countless beautiful fashion books, cookbooks, architecture and home books. Whatever someone is into, you can be sure there’s a gorgeous book to go with it. Also, you can check out cool home stores and fashion boutiques for inspiration and then go on eBay or to a flea market to find similar one-of-a kind pieces. Even if these gifts are inexpensive, they’ll show a lot of thought and will be so much more personal than a bottle of wine or a gift certificate.
In the introduction to your new book, you and Kim say practically everyone at Lucky has an inspiration board, an updated version of the bulletin boards full of photos and quotes, etc., that we all had as teenagers. What kinds of images or things are on your inspiration board?
I’ve had inspiration boards since I was about 15. My entire bedroom was covered! The one in my office now has mostly old photos from the seventies. Joni Mitchell, Bianca Jagger, Ali MacGraw. Even men like Bob Dylan, Paul Newman, and Sam Shepard.
Were you style-conscious while you were at BU?
I’ve always been style-conscious, even as a child. I would hang out with my mom in the East Village and clock everything that everyone was wearing and then wish it all came in a size 6X! I ended up going to high school in a super-preppy town, so it was hard to really express yourself with clothes without being the butt of jokes. I thought BU had the coolest, most fashionable girls I’d ever seen. I was amazed at how comfortable they were with wearing whatever they wanted.
What’s your iconic style now?
Even though I’m 43, I still like the same slightly bohemian and rock and roll things I always have. I’m just a little more age-appropriate about it. I still wear leather pants once in a while, but I’ll throw a nice cashmere sweater over them, not a rock tee! And I’m much more concerned with comfort than I was in college.
Name your five essential wardrobe items.
Extra soft, almost sheer t-shirt
What is it like working in fashion, among the very-well-put-together? Don’t you die from the pressure?
I started my career at Sassy, which was an underground teenage magazine from Australia. I felt so lucky to be able to wear whatever I wanted, when some of my friends had dress codes at work and had to wear suits and pumps. I got to wear things like bubble skirts and over-the-knee socks and had a lot of fun with it. It wasn’t until a few years later when I had a stint as a fashion writer at Harper’s Bazaar that I felt the pressure. I was even reprimanded for wearing jeans to a fashion show, which of course is de rigueur now. And at Conde Nast, we like to say that every magazine has its signature look.
Tell us about your job — what’s fun about what you do? Why does Lucky work so well?
I do everything from working with Kim France on concepts to actually executing them by art directing and styling. I’ve been all over the world, to some of the most beautiful locations — Paris, Marrakech, Buenos Aires, Prague, St. Barts, to name a few. I even met my husband, a photographer, on a shoot. I’m not going to lie — my job is sometimes stressful and not always easy (when we’re on location, we’re definitely not on vacation!), but it’s still challenging and fun. Lucky is great because we really come from the perspective that everyone can have style, not just a select few. We’re your friend. We’re here to let you in on the secret and hold your hand all the way.