Jennifer Creel Does Not Dress By Chance

Since time immemorial, or since maybe 2004, we have received missives from a person called The Earl Grey. As frequently as possible, we print these letters as a service to society.

Thursday, May 24, 2007, 4:30 pm, East 72nd St., I'm heading to Central Park to catch some rays, and skim the Book Review, when 10021 socialite JENNIFER CREEL slipstreams right by me just West of Lexington Avenue. It may seem like an eternity that I've been filing these detailed fashion bulletins to Gawker Stalker, but in fact, it's just about 17 months now. My first report was Lizzie Jagger, 24 January, 2006, she of the puke-green Converse, at Tower Records on West 4th St. Tower Records is sadly no longer in business, but I am, and today marked my third sighting of Jennifer Creel since November, 2006.

Each of the three times I've spied Jennifer Creel, I've noticed that there is a theme, or an over-riding design principle that I could grasp to each of her outfits: she does not dress by chance—each of her ensembles makes a definitive statement to the sartorially-aware. When I first saw her last November 1st, also on East 72nd St., she wore a shiny, gold down vest—thoroughly in keeping with last autumn's prescriptions in Vogue and Bazaar that "metallics" were the keynote for fall.

I next saw Jennifer during the winter 2006-07, this time on 73rd Street, once again just West of Lexington Avenue. Her outfit that chilly, grim winter Saturday was most impressive: a full black ski costume that would have fit in perfectly in Aspen or Gstaad: Sleek, skin-tight black ski pants, of a glistening neoprene. A matching black ski vest, also of high-tech polymers. And a chic black turtleneck, evocative of the Beatniks or Audrey Hepburn, but with a modern , urban, cyborg twist, further electrifying her city-ski look. Jennifer is fond of wearing sunglasses: in each case I've seen her she has sported shades; last November her shades were on her head, holding back her Jackie O. brunette crown. In the winter she wore the most modern, tinted, smokey black ski glasses, almost goggles, curved across her sharp cheekbones and domineering brow with a glassy reflection not unlike that of Lever House at high noon.

Jennifer Creel's ensemble this sun-drenched Thursday afternoon just before Memorial Day week-end also seemed smartly put-together, with a theme of tasteful thrift-shop vintage; let me describe it. She wore a light blue cap-sleeve tee shirt, truly clinging closely to her perfectly slim arms. The cotton tee shirt was nearly shrunken on her frame, giving the appearance of a well-lived-in, vintage tee shirt. In fact the tee appeared so well-worn that there was actually a patina of slightly-dingy brown on its surface: surely you too have noticed that with age, lighter-coloured cotton fabrics gain a surface of yellow-y or brown? Jennifer wore equally form-fitting chocolate brown tights, [very Mary Tyler Moore on the Dick van Dyke Show, youthful ballerina], once again clinging close to her sinewy and certainly slim legs. The chocolate tights descended to her mid-calf and stopped there. Some might accuse Jennifer, and so many other well turned-out, fashionably prominent Upper East Side ladies, of being "social X-rays," and too thin, but I would definitely not make that pejorative judgement. Imagining that Jennifer has had 1 or 2 children [Ed Note: Three!], she really maintains an admirably slim and trim physique, which is readily noticeable in her colt-like legs, graceful arms, and slightly-hollow, but striking, cheekbones. The mid-calf tights exposed her skin all the way down to her slipper-like flat shoes with a cute rounded toe, again somewhat ballerina-like. Her shoes were a light brown mahogany colour, an interesting contrast with her darker chocolate tights, but perhaps not exactly the colour shoe I might have selected (maybe a more traditional Buster Brown loafer colour?) [If you read from November, Jennifer wore taupe green corduroys with a yellow/orange shoe, so she is known to mix it up with her legging & footwear palette]. I was taking my time on a leisurely stroll over to 5th Avenue and the Central Park entrance there, but Jennifer breezed right by me on her way to a taxi at Park Avenue—she was motoring in those light mahogany-toned ballet flats.

Around her waist, Jennifer had tied a thick-cabled sweater or sweat-shirt in the exact same chocolate brown as her tights. As she whipped right by me, I could see from behind that she had tied the sweatshirt perfectly around her middle as to expose the the embroidered logo decoration from the front of her sweater. The logo design was the word "California," in a thick, textured design, with several layers of fabric such as yellow, red, black and green all building up the outlined California text logo. Next to the word California was a large, blooming palm tree in green. Her thick, decorated California sweater reminded me of several things. The traditional 1950s/1960s "Letter Man" sweaters that are familiar from "Happy Days" and other nostalgic reference points. [My late father had a similar letter man sweater in burgundy with a huge gold and cream letter on one side of the cardigan.] Jennifer's California sweater with the verdant green palm tree on it also reminded me of a late-1970s vintage tee shirt that I own from L.A.: "Duke's at The Tropicana," some kind of a famous restaurant/bar in LA that is likewise illustrated with that same green palm tree and luscious, curving letters. These authentic cultural/temporal allusions led me to believe that Jennifer's California sweater was itself an authentic vintage item, both its thickness and the construction of the logo, as well as the actual symbolism of the embroidered yellow letters/ script typeface and the culturally-familiar green palm tree. This thick chocolate brown sweater would have been much too hot to wear on this 80+ degree Thursday afternoon.

Jennifer had a bag slung across her left shoulder which also looked quite worn-in. It was an off-white leather bag with one thick, funky arm strap, and as old leather will, it seemed lined with age and even some crackles in the otherwise sleek, supple surface. Both the somewhat-70s shape of the bag and it's late Space Age off-white colour made me think it's vintage, perhaps circa early 1970s, and the type of bag that might be Courreges or Pierre Cardin, but I don't know enough about actual vintage period bags to tell you precisely who manufactured it.

As always, Jennifer was sporting sunglasses, this time a modern Aviator shape with black lenses and metal construction of a shiny silver that glittered in the sunlight. Jennifer seems to wear sunglasses all the time, and she knows how to pick out a modern, even imposingly-fashionable design that also suits her angular cheekbones and face. In her right had she clutched a black and silver cell phone, the squared off, trim shape looked to me most like a Razr, but as with handbags I am not enough of an aficionado to tell you the precise manufacture and model of her phone. It was sharply-designed, though, I can tell you that, and she held on to it firmly in her right palm. By the time we reached Park Avenue, she was a good ten feet ahead of me. A taxi deposited its passengers at the corner and Jennifer quickly flagged down the driver. I waited at the red light there on Park Avenue, as Jennifer hopped into the yellow cab and accelerated, heading North.

- The Earl Grey, 10021