This month my friend, Cindy Hattersley and I are each doing another Ageless Style interview. You’ll find the link to Cindy’s blog at the end of my post.
If you’re a regular reader of Brenda’s Blog, most of the photographs you’ve seen of me were taken by Jennifer Denton. Jennifer is one of the country’s top portrait and brand photographers working today. Together, we’ve traveled from one end of the country to the other while I’ve interviewed a host of amazing women, and Jennifer has photographed them all. And in the process, we’ve had a blast.
Please meet my dear friend, Jennifer Denton.
BRENDA: How would you describe your style?
JENNIFER: Classic and a little romantic with a splash of edge. It’s evolved over the years, even since you and I first met and then (years later) after we started working together. I was 42 years old when I first went to New York with you to do a photo session for 1010ParkPlace, and I remember being so inspired. Now I’m 50, and I like things that are agelessly stylish, classic, and fun.
You’ve inspired me, Brenda, because I’ve learned we need to have things in our closets that are a little decadent and luxurious.
I think it’s better to have fewer pieces, and we need to have things that make us feel amazing. As I’ve gotten older, that’s been my goal. I want the fabrics to feel great against my skin, and I’ve learned to embrace the way my body architecture has changed over the last ten years.
BRENDA: It’s hard for most of us to embrace those changes.
JENNIFER: It goes against our culture. I was shopping for formal gowns to take on a cruise with some girlfriends, and I bought some things that enhance the way my figure has become curvier as I’ve gotten older, and my daughter said, “Mom, that’s my favorite dress I’ve ever seen on you. I’m proud of you for embracing the curves you have instead of clinging to the 80s supermodel silhouette you used to have.” I thought that was the coolest thing.
Jennifer and Brenda, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.
BRENDA: Very insightful.
JENNIFER: She’s been coming of age under our wings—yours and mine and other women—and she has a healthier understanding than most girls her age. From the time she was 12 or 13, I taught her all the things I was inspired by on my trips to New York with you. Like when we were in Kelly Hoey’s apartment and she had a sign that said, “Life is short. Buy the shoes. Use the china.” In fact, you and I had a life is short moment, together.
BRENDA: An edgy moment for you as well.
JENNIFER: I was thinking about that this morning. You and I walked into Burberry on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I’d never purchased anything that expensive to put on my body. Most women would go in there and buy an incredible pair of black pumps they would get a lot of wear out of, but that’s not the way we went, and it was influenced by a number of factors. We looked at those crazy high-heeled…
BRENDA: Cage booties.
JENNIFER: Yes, cage booties. I’ve probably worn them a handful of times, but I’ve never once regretted buying them because every time I see them in my closet, they bring me a lot of joy. I feel like an Amazon when I put them on, in all the right ways. I walked all over Beverly Hills in those shoes that day.
BRENDA: I remember because my tall high heel days were already behind me. You were standing in those fabulous shoes, looking like this goddess-slash-amazon, and you asked me to take a picture of the shoes. I think you’d decided to buy them, but just in case, you wanted to document them, so I lay down on the floor and did a closeup of them. When I raised my head, the salesman was looking at me like, “What the?” I wanted to say, “We’re photographers!”
Burberry, Beverly Hills photographs by Brenda Coffee
JENNIFER: “This is what we do!” We had more fun that day. I walked out of there with those gold, metallic Burberry bags, and I wore the shoes to our photoshoot.
BRENDA: Did you wear those to Sherry Lansing’s office?
JENNIFER: I did, and she said, “Nice shoes.” I will never look as cool during a photoshoot as I did that day.
BRENDA: How has your shoe style changed over the years?
JENNIFER: After I found myself single, and in my forties, I went on a spree of buying some fantastic, but impractical shoes. Now I can’t wear some of them as long, and some I can’t wear at all. I’ve had to bless and release them, then reimagine shoes that were a little more comfortable. But they still need to be stylish.
Absolutely! Fortunately, we have more comfortable shoe choices than we did a few years ago.
Jennifer wearing shoes from The Office of Angela Scott. Photograph by Melissa Raelynn.
JENNIFER: I bought a pair of shoes from Angela Scott that are menswear-inspired loafers.
BRENDA: I love her shoes, but I walk right out of them because my feet are so skinny. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called and asked their advice about which of their shoes are the narrowest, but none of them fit. (FYI, since this interview, I bought a pair of Angela Scott shoes that fit me! Yay!!!)
JENNIFER: I’ve discovered another brand, Marion Parke. She might have been a podiatrist. I bought a black strappy sandal that supports the arch of the foot, and I wore them all night. They’re one of the sexiest shoes I’ve ever owned.
BRENDA: What do you think of the wide-leg, baggy pants we’re seeing now?
JENNIFER: They look great on Harry Styles. Let’s talk about that.
BRENDA: Don’t they? I want everything Harry Styles wears.
JENNIFER: He can rock the wide-leg pants along with something I would have been dressed in by my mother like the little fitted t-shirt with the cherry applique, a beaded necklace, and 70s striped pants, and yet he looks like a million dollars.
BRENDA: Mick Jagger dressed that way in the 70s. He would wear a fitted striped jacket, wide-leg pants, and a straw hat. There’s a recent photo of him wearing a tailored jacket with an oversized silk flower on the lapel which is very Harry Styles. I think Harry copied Mick, who’s now borrowing from Harry Styles… but back to wide-leg pants.
JENNIFER: I bought a pair and returned them. They just made me look wide, but I like them. I can’t do crop pants. You and I talk a lot about that…
BRENDA: A lot! Last month I interviewed Nancy Donahue for another Ageless Style piece. And Nancy said because we’re tall, we look like we’re wearing our little sister’s pants. She nailed that one.
JENNIFER: I did buy a pair of wide-leg linen pants from Athleta that worked for me because they were slimmer through the top and didn’t get wide until lower on the leg. Wide, but more of a flare. Athleta has embraced the work-from-home lifestyle and has made some things that are beautifully cut and well done.
BRENDA: What’s your go-to outfit?
JENNIFER: Had you asked me that a year ago I would have said a fantastic pair of jeans, a black top, and a great pair of boots, but that has changed because I’ve learned black is not my color. So now I’ll wear a great pair of jeans and a top in the blue family, you know I love a batwing sleeve and a wide neck, a fantastic pair of earrings, my Angela Scott shoes, and I’m off.
BRENDA: Other than Angela Scott and Athleta, do you have a favorite brand?
JENNIFER: I’ve never been a brand person… Like Louis Vuitton. It looks like someone else’s luggage.
BRENDA: I’ve always felt the same way, no logos, but after breast cancer, I bought a Louis Vuitton duffle bag. Maybe it was chemo brain because when the drugs wore off, nobody was more surprised than I was. Plus it’s engraved with my initials! LOL! I don’t remember doing that, but since it was so flipping expensive, I’m compelled to use it when I travel.
JENNIFER: I don’t know that I have a favorite brand. There’s one called The Reset. I purchased a couple of silk tops and some sweaters. They don’t have a big collection, but I’ve enjoyed those. I have a couple of blazers from a brand called Sky is Blue. For jeans, I like Jen7 for All Mankind. I also love a Joe’s Jean, and the Spanx line. I did a decadent purchase last fall, their liquid leather pants in burgundy which I love. I’m on a quest to be more stylish when I’m shooting outside. I like Lululemon and Pategonia because their things run tall. I like long sleeves when I’m working because I like to protect my skin.
BRENDA: I’m seeing a lot of women over 50 wearing Golden Goose sneakers.
JENNIFER: Yes, my sister bought a pair. She wore them with a beautiful, pleated leather skirt and a fitted tee, and she looked fantastic. I bought some from Sam Edelman that look similar, but they’re at a better price point. I also bought a pair of rose gold Linea Pella sneakers.
BRENDA: I wonder if that’s what Lauren Ezersky was wearing in a photo on Instagram? I’ve been meaning to ask her. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
JENNIFER: Isn’t that the magic question? I’d like to answer that more philosophically: I’d like to be living in one house with my partner, rather than spread out all over the state. I’d like to feel strong in my body, embrace my age and still be a successful photographer.
BRENDA: I see you doing all of these. Thank you, my love! You’ve given me lots of great things to share.
I’d love to hear what you think of Jennifer’s style, and don’t forget to pop over and see who Cindy Hattersley’s interviewing for this month’s Ageless Style!
Loved this interview. Jennifer is delightful. I love her comment about Louis Vuitton and feeling like she was carrying someone else’s luggage. I have never understood why we would want to wear something with someone else’s initials. I don’t mind if it is very small. I love Jennifer’s attitude about fashion and life. I can see why you two are friends!
Thanks, Cindy! Jen is great fun and so talented, and I’m always happy to see her. Logos… In the 70s, I had reverse snobbism: Nothing with a logo on it. No polo pony, no little alligators. If you only knew how strongly I felt about that, you’d understand why it’s hard to believe I bought a Louis Vuitton duffle bag and had my initials embossed on the luggage tag. Still shocks me! xoxox, Brenda
I love Jennifer. This interview has made me realize I’m not shopping for things that look good on me and make me feel good. I’m just buying the same thing year after year which is BORING! I’m not my mother and I need to start dressing that way.
Thanks for reading and sending me a comment about Jennifer. I know she’ll appreciate it as well. I think it’s easy to get stuck in a rut… about anything: foods we eat, style, makeup, and hair. In the last year, several women have expressed the same thing to me. Perhaps I need to work on some suggestions for how to step outside the box we’ve created for ourselves. xoxox, Brenda
I’ve seen her name on your blogs and now I have her beautiful face to put with her name. Thank have a hunch she looks great in anything she wears.
You’re right Missie: Jennifer looks fabulous in everything she puts on! Kind of intimidating isn’t it, but the rest of us can look fabulous as well if we find the colors and type of clothes that work for us. Thank you. xoxox, Brenda
Brenda- Knowing both of you, I enjoyed the interview with Jennifer. The style points are so good for both of you tall girls. Both of you look great in your clothes! Having lost my long torso to scoliosis, looking good in my clothes has become a great challenge. I need to find a petites blog that approaches fashion like yours. However, I’ll always read 1010ParkPlace for your interviews and views. Keep Moving! do Lindan
Hello Miss Linda! I love seeing you here and appreciate the comment. Jennifer and I talked about adapting to our changing bodies as we age, but scoliosis is more than most of us will ever have to face. Petite sizes are something I’m not well-versed in, but it’s now on my radar for future posts, so thank you. I love you, sweet friend, Brenda
Tall women definitely have the fashion advantage. Unfortunately I’m “height challenged” and even a few extra pounds make me look like a linebacker but you’ve both inspired me to back off of the cheesecake, buy the shoes and use the china. Love that!
LOL! That’s great Theresa! Thanks for letting us know! BTW, tall women are also “height challenged.” Pants are never long enough and we have trouble finding sleeves that are long enough as well. Then there’s the issue of do we wear heels and tower over everyone, including the man in our life. xoxox, Brenda
I’d love to have a more adventurous way of dressing, but am afraid I’d look like I was wearing a costume. Harry Styles… I like what he’s wearing in the photo. Could I do that?
Great question, Beth! I think it’s something most of us worry about when we think about wearing clothes that are trendier than we usually wear. First of all, confidence plays a big role in this issue, plus if we’re trying to dress like the photo of Harry Styles, we’d need to think about our height and proportion. If we’re tall, no problem, but if we’re short, the wide-leg pants and the oversized jacket wouldn’t be a good look for us. Then we should try a more fitted jacket with slimmer pant legs and make the pants the same color as the stripe in the jacket. If heels are comfortable, then I’d suggest a heel or perhaps a pair of sneakers with a platform heel, maybe an espadrille platform. Hope that helps. Thanks for asking, Brenda
I’m howling with laughter at the image of you lying on the floor, photographing Jennifer’s shoes! Someone should have been taking a picture of THAT scene, with the salesman. LOL!
Hi Catherine, I know! I don’t imagine there are many stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills where the customer lays on the floor and starts taking photographs. As a photographer, it didn’t seem stranage to me. We do whatever’s necessary to get the shot! Thanks so much! Brenda
Thanks for introducing us to Jennifer. I have found some high heels I can wear. Marks and Spencer and Clarks Shoes. some dresses need higher heels and I am not tall…
Thanks for the valuable resource Hilda. Even if we’re not tall, some outfits need heels so it’s great to have another source. Love you, love you for this! Brenda
Hi Brenda, I hope you’re having fun with ageless style … it’s enjoyable to view this series from a new vantage point. You know the most interesting people and Jennifer is no exception. Those cage sandals … oh my. Jennifer looks amazing in them. This was a fun read. Cheers to you and Jennifer. xo
Hi Juliet, Yes, I’m enjoying teaming up with Cindy, and I’m happy you enjoyed the piece about Jennifer. I know you and Elizabeth had a great time at the antique show in San Francisco. Someday I hope to go and if I’m out that way again, I want to come see Snowberry. xoxox, Brenda
I bet traveling with you and your friend Jennifer would be a lot of fun. I loved this post because we’re now talking about things our mothers didn’t tell us or even talk about with their girlfriends. Our poor mothers and grandmothers… Shoes, clothes, estrogen, Botox…. Oh, dear!
Thanks, Pat. I often think about how many things were more difficult for the women who came before us. EVERYTHING about being a woman would have seemed barbaric back in the day. We take things for granted. Simple things like baths and tampons. Blowdryers and Spanx. I could write a book on that topic. Thanks for the idea! LOL! Brenda
Well, that was a fun trip. Jennifer is obviously a very talented photographer. I also so related to so many things she said. One of them being clothes have to feel good next to her skin. I think that’s the first time I’ve read that. I completely agree. If it doesn’t feel good it’s gone.Love her on the floor photographing your shoes. You’re one hot lady!!!Just a delightful read. I must say Jennifer looks like she’s 20 years old. Magic elixir?
Hi Sandra, Jennifer will love your comment. Isn’t she beautiful? Her elixir is youth. I looked young until I was 60, then things began to change. It’s all about how much estrogen we have. xoxox, Brenda