Lynn Yaeger has been a fashion reporter at The Village Voice for over twenty years. A contributor to Travel and Leisure and T: The New York Times Magazine, Yaeger is as well-known for her musings on fashion as she is for her singular style. She's often spotted around Manhattan with her bluntly bobbed burgundy hair, kewpie doll drawn-on mouth and red-dotted cheeks. I asked Yaeger about her unusual logo:
You have such a distinctive look, how did you arrive at this signature style?
I always thought I had a very 1920's face and body, and I'm a huge copier; I do my hair like [the silent screen star] Louise Brooks.
The red cheek dots I copied from two friends many years ago. I think my dots are dottier then their dots were. It was a way of being weirdly stylish without being stylish. I wore vintage clothes for a very long time before I arrived at my current style. All these clothes are new, though they look kind of old and funny.
Are you ever stopped by people who say, "I remember my mother used to wear make up like that?"
Yes. In my old Weight Watchers group one of the leaders said, "You look exactly like Aunt Figgy! It's my Aunt Figgy!" I thought it was cute.
What are the benefits of making a statement with your wardrobe?
It's fun! I have a lot of criteria about whether this stuff looks right. Is this skirt poufy enough or too poufy? Is it one too many things or does it look too studied? I always wanted to look like you can't really tell what these clothes are; maybe they're old, maybe they're cheap or maybe they cost a fortune. I wanted to have this mystery about it and not just wear the latest fashion trend. I would always try to have a signature expensive handbag so I didn't just look like a nut if I was going to interview someone. People are afraid to be different, but authenticity really does give you a lot of confidence.
Lynn Yaeger, photo by TheSartorialist.com
Is it second nature to you now, putting yourself together like this?
No, I think about it a lot.
Has anyone ever made a negative comment about your look?
Teenagers will laugh at me, but I always feel like teenagers who laugh at me are also kind of intrigued. One time I was on the subway and this little kid said, "Mommy, look, it's a clown!" Or someone on the street will say, "Look! It's Betty Boop!" But those unseen people in the blogosphere can be very mean. I think I look stranger and stranger with each year to people who don't have any idea about the historical antecedent for my look.
Whose style do you admire?
Muiccia Prada, because she will go to an evening event where she is being honored, and wear a tweed box pleated skirt, knee socks, loafers and a diamond tiara. And it says, "This is what I feel like wearing."
Who are some of your personal style icons?
Anna Piaggi, Isabella Blow, Marlene Dietrich. Deitrich was heroic, entertaining the American troops even though she was German.
Has your editor or publisher at the Village Voice ever commented on your look?
Everybody knows Baby Lynnie [Yaeger's sobriquet]. The Voice is The Voice... we're downtown! I've always been active in the union here and I was always the head of the negotiating committee. It's very funny when I walk into the labor negotiations in my outfits. I remember, years ago, when I started, I was wearing a Victorian nightgown and the lawyer on the other side of the table just stared at me. Of course, he knows me now.
What advice do you have for professionals just starting to create their own logos?
Don't dress funny like me.