J.Crew Says Goodbye to Jenna Lyons after 26 Years

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Chinatown

Business of Fashion broke the news Monday that Jenna Lyons, long-time creative force at J.Crew, is stepping down. We have her to thank for spicing up prep basics, teaching followers new ways to style old things, and for her allegiance to donning kickass eyewear.

The BoF article quotes Millard “Mickey” Drexler, CEO of J.Crew, who explains the decision.

 "Jenna and I got together and we both agreed it was time for a change… That being said, she’s got plans to do other things. It’s been a great run. There’s a lot of mutual respect between Jenna and me.”

The same article goes on and shares Lyons perspective.

“It has been beyond my wildest dreams to work with such an amazing team of people at such an incredible brand and alongside Mickey — one of retail’s most talented visionaries,” Lyons said in a statement. "I am excited about the next chapter for J.Crew as well as the opportunity for other creative leaders within the organisation to step up and take on new responsibilities. Having spent the better part of my life with J.Crew, I feel an immense pride and love for everyone at the company.”

For the privileged few, changing things up career-wise when the work is still good – output, creativity, relationships – is often praised. We salute people who choose to get out before they expire. Leave us wanting more rather than boring us. Borrowing from the music world, no one likes to go to a rock show where the former great vocalist can barely get through the first verse.

However, saying goodbye to those we love or admire is rarely easy. It’s a tough one. Often I find comfort in remembering what was good. Her style guidance was good. Under Lyons helm I came to love – or was validated - in my choices of the following preppy-but-not-stuck-up classics inextricably linked with her time at J.Crew.

As of this posting, there’s no news on what Lyons is cooking up next. Using one of my go-to phrases, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Not telling us is a bit badass, don’t you think? In our world of openly sharing and leveraging every ounce of spotlight, not saying what takes courage and guts. Bravo.

Having the luxury to choose what’s next is pretty incredible. I feel for the Has-Beens with no perspective. They just can’t quit. I, too, can empathize with those who choose to keep on slugging away. It’s easy to say you're going to stop doing it but tough to actually do it. Life is complicated. It’s hard to know what’s right.

If nothing else, Lyons stepping down makes me wonder what I can do to take a step back. Maybe I should do a version of the old saying, “Stop and smell the roses.”

Jumpy claps for you, Jenna Lyons, for helping me (and presumably many others) stop and think about what we could – not just should – do next.