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Tastemaker: Get to Know J. Crew’s Jenny Cooper

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If you’re a mom, chances are you’ve jonesed for Jenny Cooper’s designs for Crewcuts, J. Crew’s pint-sized collection for kids. But her quirky personal style is every bit as eclectic—and enviable. Talking with her, we were delighted by all the insights she had to share. We couldn’t fit them all into Living’s April issue, so here are 10 more reasons to be inspired by Jenny Cooper.

1. She started sewing at age 7
This Ottawa, Canada, native became a DIY-er at an early age. “My mother wouldn’t buy me clothes, but she would get me fabric,” she says. She got her first sewing machine at age 7, and she never looked back.

2. Soccer reigns supreme in her home
With two boys, and a husband she describes as a “fantastic soccer dad,” weekend mornings are spent field-side at her sons’ soccer games. “It’s ironic because I wasn’t into sports as a kid,” she admits. Her family’s all-consuming love of the sport even inspired a Crewcuts/In Good Company soccer ball that will debut this spring.

3. Being a mother influences Crewcuts designs
“Who has the time to put outfits together?” she says. “Styles have to be elemental, so the kids can put it together themselves.”

4. You can spot her family in a crowd
“I relate to the simplicity and tailoring in men’s clothing. Every so often I subconsciously dress us all the same. I’ll look up and notice we’re all wearing button-down blue shirts.”

5. Space NK is her go-to beauty source
“I find their edited collection much easier to shop.” Current favorites include:

  • Bakel Cool Eyes cream. “It’s so cooling and feels amazing on the skin.”

6. Inspiration can come from anywhere
“I don’t do anything everyday.” But when Cooper does log on to surf the web, trendland.com is a particular favorite.

7. It’s not a party without the kids
Cooper isn’t interested in calling in a sitter. She’d rather incorporate her kids into her plans. One New Year’s Eve she rented out the Upper 90, a soccer facility in Brooklyn, so the kids could kick the ball around while the adults socialized.

8. Her parties take the cake
Among her friends, Cooper is known for throwing great kids birthday parties. “We do whatever Walker or Miller are into that year. One year we had a Star Wars R2D2 cake, and this year he had a soccer ball cake (above, from Cake Power). It’s helpful to have some sort of theme. I like themes—then you can get matching decorations and the rest can be free form. You don’t need too much for kids to entertain themselves.

9. She’s a fearless hostess
“I know you aren’t supposed to do this, but my favorite thing to do when I’m entertaining is to try new recipes. If you have a few dishes then it covers up the accidents.”

10. She introduced us to Spa Castle
Even this jaded beauty editor had never heard of this spa and sauna multiplex where families can soak, steam and eat together. “They even have a Starbucks!”

Portrait by Isabel Asha Penzlien

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