Fashion insiders are no strangers to hyperbole—a dress might be "mind-blowing" or "to die for." But when Jenna Lyons says that a skirt was life-changing for her, it's not an exaggeration.
She penned an emotional essay for Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny Letter, in which she talked about how a skirt she sewed herself—dubbed "the watermelon skirt"—helped her overcome childhood insecurities and depression.
She opened the essay with a story about girls making fun of her for her genetic disorder that resulted in scars all over her body. She felt utterly deflated and "gross." But a turning point came when she headed to the fabric store and made the watermelon skirt. A popular girl complimented her on it. She finally got invited to a "cool party." A boy told her she was pretty. "It marked the beginning of my own private, self-initiated makeover," she wrote. "But it also marked the beginning of my understanding transformation. I realized for the first time that people’s memories are short and their opinions are malleable."
She went on to clarify that her newfound external validation didn't clear up all of her insecurities. "But it did give me a much-needed boost," she wrote. "A feeling that if I followed some level of instinct like I had used in Florence Fabrics that day, that maybe, just maybe, I could do well for myself."
Bravo to Lyons for revealing such a personal story that's sure to inspire self-doubters everywhere. Scroll down to see Lyons's sketch of her transformative skirt, and, because we know you share our love for all things Jenna Lyons and J.Crew, shop stellar pieces from the beloved retailer.