“Living on a farm, I basically wear jeans every day,” says author, fashion pro, and Instagrammer extraordinaire Amanda Brooks. But the title of her latest book, a how-to for finding and expressing individual style, is Always Pack a Party Dress (Blue Rider Press), you say. Well, we can’t expect a woman like Amanda, whose been a contributor to Vogue and the creative director of Barneys, to live on denim alone! Even if she does call Fairgreen Farm, an idyllic country estate about an hour outside of London, home.
Amanda’s favorite jeans, she told me during our shoot at Freemans restaurant in NYC, are always her most recent purchase. Currently, they’re a pair of J.Crew Point Sur patch-pocket crops, which, that day, she wore with an vintage, earth-girly cotton-and-crochet blouse and Proenza Schouler gladiators. Looking 70s-inspired and summery, Amanda had tips on all matters of life and style to share with us – her party trick (a sparkling, vinegar-enhanced fruit spritzer called a Shrub), her go-to red nail polish (Essie’s Fishnet Stockings; “Because it goes with all neutrals.”), and her secret source for the best bras (American Apparel), among them. It’s no wonder she’s penned two how-tos on the subject (her first book, I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style, was published in 2009), or that her blog, which is poised to relaunch any minute now, is closely followed by those who love both fashion’s glamour and farm life’s grit. Whatever Amanda is selling, from a high-waisted cropped silhouette to the color green for transitioning from summer to fall (see her sandals), we’ll buy it.
Describe your J.Crews for us in one word?
What do you love most about them?
The high-waisted exposed button fly and the flare toward the cropped hem.
If your jeans could give us one word of advice – about how to look like they do, about style, or maybe it’s something you’ve learned while wearing them – what would it be?
Be personal, be different, and channel Jane Birkin.
What do your jeans know about you that no one else knows?
That I like my tummy held in by a high-waist.
What’s the most memorable place your jeans have been?
On top of a mountain in the Adirondacks.
What’s the weirdest place?
To a speeding-penalty driving class in Banbury, England.
If you could go anywhere in the world in your jeans tomorrow, where would it be?
I’m longing to take my 14-year-old daughter to South Africa to see a great white shark – she is obsessed with them.
What do your jeans and you have in common, anything?
A touch of retro.
What do your jeans and Freemans restaurant have in common, anything?
A touch of retro.
What do your jeans say about the way that you live?
I love a combination of style and comfort.
What’s the best possible ending you could imagine for your jeans?
That my daughter would wear them after me (but she is very discerning and has her own style).
What’s the best possible thing you could be doing in them right now?
Exactly what I am doing right now – enjoying the peace and quiet and solitude of my office after six weeks of kids, holidays, and traveling.
What’s the most important thing to look for in a pair of jeans?
No obvious branding (classic Levi’s, aside).
What your favorite denim moment in fashion?
I love the 70s and also what Alexa Chung has done for AG.
Do you have an all-time favorite pair?
Always my most recent pair.
If you had to wear denim every day, could you do it?
Living on a farm, I basically do. But every single day? Nah. I like to feel more feminine in a dress sometimes.
Did you ever have a pair that got away?
I have a great J Brand pair in a dark wash with subtle flair – more than a bootleg, less than a bell-bottom – that I have worn out and not been able to replace. I wish I’d bought three pairs when I found them.
Is there a denim look or fit you think will never go out of style?
Levi’s 501s, obviously.
Fill in the blank: In my jeans, I am _________.
Classic, American, 70s inspired
Amanda Brooks is the author of I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style and Always Pack a Party Dress: And Other Lessons Learned from a (Half) Life in Fashion .
Follow her on Instagram @amandacbrooks.