“Living in New York, I have some black clothes, but I’ve always loved color,” says Jamia Wilson, a vice president and executive editor at the book publishing company Random House. Jamia is also an author and feminist activist. Given her busy schedule, she has developed a vibrant uniform to make mornings run more smoothly. Here are five favorite outfits, plus where to find fun glasses and what her mother passed down to her…
Dress: Mara Hoffman, similar. Shoes: thrifted, similar. Glasses: Anne & Valentin.
“I went to an all girls boarding school and was always trying to find ways to sneak in personality without breaking the dress-code rules. You had to wear tights and I’d be like, ‘Well, they didn’t specifically say red fishnets aren’t allowed.’ I remember the headmaster joking, ‘Even when you’re in full uniform, I know there’s something not quite right.’”
Dress: Sézane. Earrings: gift (“from my mother when I graduated from my M.A. program”). Shoes: Cole Haan, similar. Glasses: Anne & Valentin. Pennant: Rayo & Honey.
“My husband calls me ‘Motobutt’ because I walk fast and I talk fast. I thrive in a multitasking environment. My typical day is a mix of editorial meetings, author meetings and production meetings, as well as reading a lot of proposals, submissions, and drafts. I’m writing, too. I’m constantly renegotiating my to-do list; if something doesn’t feel aligned with where my creativity is, and it’s not urgent, I’ll shuffle things around. Working in the publishing industry, I think a lot about what the barriers to access were for me and why it took me longer to get into the field. Growing up, I was often the only Black person in my class. Because I know what it is to be the only one, I’m always thinking about how to open the gates and use what access and power I have to bring more people in.”
“If I were to look in my closet every day and think, What am I gonna wear? , it could be two hours of me trying things on. So, I have a uniform: a long dress with flats or a low heel. But not everything fits into that. I have a big pink tutu and sometimes she needs to come out into the world.”
Dress: Sienna, similar. Jacket: vintage (“passed down by my mom, shoulder pads removed”), similar. Scarf: Lisou. Shoes: Cole Haan, similar. Glasses: Anne & Valentin.
“My mom died in 2018 and left me all her clothes. I try to wear something of hers every day to honor the connection and closeness we shared. With clothes, she’d always ask me, ‘Is that simple elegance?’ Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s decidedly no. But we would have laughed about that. During the 2016 election, I remember feeling dispirited and calling my mom. She said, ‘You have 24 hours to eat your Ben & Jerry’s, cry your tears, and complain to me. Then you’re going to get on up, go out there, and organize.’ When it comes to what’s going on with reproductive rights, I’m mad as hell. I also know that we’ve got us, and that idea has sustained me.”
Dress: Gaâla, similar. Scarf: Lisou. Shoes: vintage Gucci, found at The RealReal. Glasses: Anne & Valentin.
“My mom often told me the origin stories of her vintage pieces with an emphasis on ‘If you’re going to splurge on something, make sure it will stand the test of time.’ She taught me to spend more on well-made shoes, timeless pieces, and accessories that will remind you of experiences and travel. If it isn’t something I plan on wearing for five or 10 years, I won’t go over budget. I try to avoid impulse buying and wait to see if I still like something a few weeks later. I also use the coupon apps Karma and Honey, hunt for discount codes, and wait for annual sales.”
Dress: Lisou. Shoes: vintage. Necklace: Awe Inspired. Glasses: Anne & Valentin.
“I was born with a congenital eye issue. I had to wear a patch when I was a child and people were always asking about it. Making eyewear fun for myself was really healing. I have five pairs from Anne & Valentin. I love glasses with personality.”
“I know some people aren’t into secondhand shoes, but if you get a high quality pair, they’re just one cobbler visit away from having a new life. It’s nice that someone has already done the work of breaking them in — no pinched toes! I bought this pair in high school, and I’ve had them resoled multiple times.”
Thank you so much, Jamia! Find her on Instagram, if you’d like.
P.S. More women share their week of outfits, including a podcast host who loves all things K-pop and Toronto professor.
(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)