We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend, and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in the fashion industry with our column, "How I Shop."
At this point, if you haven't heard of Erika Jayne, you probably live under a rock. She first built a name for herself as a chart-topping dance artist, selling out clubs across the globe. In 2015, she joined the cast of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," bringing a breath of fresh — and, let's be real, sexy — air to the reality show. Now, she's tearing up the dance floor on this season of "Dancing with the Stars."
She's done it all in her own incredible style, but it's her time on "RHOBH" that has cemented her as an icon. Jayne is debatably the most stylish cast member of any "Real Housewives" franchise, always serving a head-to-toe look in any scene: Whether it's wearing a straight-off-the-runway Moschino T-shirt dress or performing in custom Chanel, her style is one of the most exciting things to happen to the Bravo staple. Case in point? Her choice to go commando under a Mugler dress set off an explosive feud that's radiated through the whole season. (And understandably so: Let she who has never gone pantyless cast the first lacy thong, ladies.) Her glam squad has even become supporting cast members in their own right, traveling with her and prepping her for everything from dinner parties to trips to Hong Kong.
We hopped on the phone with Jayne to get her secrets on dressing for the cameras and how she juggles preparing ensembles for so many different gigs. But sorry, guys: The killer attitude isn't for sale.
"[My style] is all woman, all the time. I love to accentuate my curves, be feminine and be pulled together — but with a little bit of 'street style' as well. I like to mix it up. I shop a lot a Maxfield's, Bergdorf, Barney's; those are probably my top three. I'm not a big online shopper — but the people around me are, so it works out okay. [laughs]
I have a stylist that does a lot of my pulls, and I do enjoy going out shopping because it always feels good to choose things yourself. At this point, I've had a working relationship with my stylist Dani Michelle for a couple of years now. She knows me back and forth, she knows pretty much what I want all the time. It's always going to be body conscious, sexy, fun, color and things like that. We always have a good time.
In my closet, I have a lot of McQueen, Versace, Balmain — pretty much anybody you can think of, but I would say those are the top three. And Gucci — a lot of Gucci right now. We look at the collections, and scan to see if anything jumps out at us — and then we get it! The good [pieces that have been worn] go to archives and the other ones go up for sale.
I basically have three different wardrobes. Like today, I'm going to rehearsal for 'Dancing With the Stars' so I'm in all Nike stuff. The wardrobe is like a full-time thing. At some point it's: 'Where are you going and who are you and who are you trying to be?' [laughs] That's really where it's at. Are we going to be giving interviews? Okay, that's one look, maybe a Pucci blouse and some black pants. Are we going to 'Dancing With the Stars' rehearsal? Okay, that's rehearsal clothes. Are we going to the Grammys? Well, then that's something else. So you have to pick and choose. Dress for the occasion!
Listen, you have to — or you should — think about things that work in [every] situation. Like, I'm not going to wear shorts to some function that doesn't require it. So you need to know where you're going, what you're doing and how certain clothes photograph. I try to stay away from white on camera because it just makes you look like a house. Certain cuts work and certain cuts don't. You watch back and reality [television] is brutal. They don't give you angles or lighting so, honey, sometimes something simple is best in a situation like that, quite honestly. It's all about the cut and the fit. You can get so unhappy if you don't pay attention to those things.
[Custom design] requires a really close relationship because your costume designer is basically fitting you for the stage, which has to fit like a glove. It has to be perfect and there are only so many styles that work on stage. You have a onesie or sometimes a skirt. It's really all about: What are you doing? Can you dance in this? Is it reasonable? Do you look like you're uncomfortable? There's a lot of things that go into play. What material is this? Is it four way stretch? Is there any stretch? Is it power mesh? — which makes you look great — Are there too many stones? What color? It's not just, 'Hey, put on this leotard and get out there.' It's a lot more than that. And where are you performing? How big is the stage? Where is it? Like in Mykonos we made sure to wear blue, because there's blue all around.
I'm inspired by a lot of different things; I'm inspired by old Hollywood, I'm inspired by street style. If I come across a cool account [on Instagram] or something like that — I'm always tagging photos and saying, 'Hey, this is kind of neat.' Rihanna has incredible taste, I love what she does. I'm inspired by Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe. There's a lot of different things that inspire me, past and present — a lot of different icons."
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Homepage photo: Jonathan Clay Harris