Jon Jordan tells SEEN what it’s like working with celebrities and how he became WDIV’s Style Editor. He also shares favorite items in his closet, including his coveted shoe collection.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Viviana Pernot
1. Tell us about your professional background? I majored in art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. That served as a foundation for my aesthetic sensibility. Afterward, I received my cosmetology license and immediately began doing commercial and editorial makeup, hair and wardrobe styling. I’m still a working stylist and in addition to serving as WDIV Local 4 Style Editor, I work regularly as a corporate image consultant for Bluestone Executive Communications in Birmingham.
2. What are you most proud of in your career? Well, I always got into Studio 54 (in New York City) — hard to top that. I hope that doesn’t sound shallow, though. But seriously, I’m always touched when a member of the public lets me know that they watch Live in the D and actually learned something that, no matter how seemingly insignificant, somehow empowered them to embrace style in a new way with a positive result. It might be that they just tried to combine colors in an unexpected way, or that they received a compliment about their appearance after following my suggestion. Style should be liberating, not limiting, and I like to keep it real.
3. Are you originally from Detroit? How did you end up at WDIV? I was born in Royal Oak during the twilight of the Eisenhower administration — do math, if you dare — and graduated from The Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills (during the Carter administration). I’ve kept it local, most of my life, but for the past few years have also maintained a residence in Palm Springs, California. WDIV actually recruited me to become their image consultant in 1988. A decade later, the news director at the time ended a lunch meeting with a surprise command, “I want to put you in front of the camera!” The rest is (clearly) showbiz history.
4. What do you love most about your job? Bossing people around. Seriously, though, my coworkers at WDIV are very dear to me. They rely on me for many things, but that’s because the opportunities afforded to me have never ceased. We are currently making a big push into digital media on many platforms, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the expansion.
5. Most interesting interview or guest you’ve worked with? There have been so many — presidents, supermodels, even royalty. Because I work often with celebrities (and actually can call a few of them good friends), I’m not often awestruck. I was thrilled to spend time recently with Glenn Close. She’s immensely talented and accomplished, but she’s also made a great commitment to mental health awareness. Conversely, I loved getting to know the late, legendary Elaine Stritch. I willingly picked up several bad habits from her.
6. Who inspires you within the industry? I think it’s fascinating to watch storied brands be reinvented. It’s quite a feat to pull off. Burberry, Gucci and Lanvin did it well. Samsonite tried, but nobody took notice — their dabbling was doomed. I’m tickled by the warped ways of Vivienne Westwood. I’m astounded that Grace Jones can still manage aging and avant-garde. I have zero interest in celebrities-turned-designers.
7. Did you always think you would go into fashion? Well, it’s always been a priority. I have a beautiful mother who sparked my interest at an early age. Of course, and by doing so, I frequently threw hissy-fits as a kid if I felt that my outfits weren’t up to par. I still do.
8. What are some current summer trends you are into for him + her? I think that, for both sexes, fashion’s proportions are changing. Things are loosening-up. Lines are fluid and flowing. It’s important to be discerning about the whole idea of trend. Don’t jump on board because everyone else is. In my book, that’s always been a reason to jump off — and onto something that’s on the horizon.
9. What is one-piece every man and woman should own in his or her wardrobe? Every man should have an impeccably tailored suit, or at least a blazer. Every woman should have an L.B.D. (Little Black Dress) or L.B.Something — that is, a go-to garment that can constantly be reinvented. Everyone should own something to wear that makes them feel better about themselves.
10. Specifically, for men, what are a few key pieces they should have in their wardrobe? Substantial, masculine, classic Oxford shoes that are always polished and stored in cedar shoe trees. Great jeans are essential, but they don’t have to be expensive. They should just flatter you — but learn what that constitutes. A haircut, whether you are shaved bald or blessed with flowing locks, should enhance your facial features.
Your Local Love List…
11. What do you love most about our community? I’ve always embraced diversity — my parents made sure of that. My husband Greg and I are taking it to a new level by moving downtown, soon. We certainly look forward to the adventure of big city living, but also want to become community activists and make “giving back” a part of the experience.
12. Your go-to’s around town for meals, hangout spots, etc.? Our regular suburban haunts have been in Birmingham and Bloomfield neighborhood watering holes like Luxe and Bill’s. That will change as we’re already scoping out the downtown scene and the ever-expanding and exciting options that await us there.
13. Where do you enjoy shopping locally? Well, my car must have some default function that I’m unaware of because it automatically drives to the Somerset Collection. Actually, every car I’ve ever had, regardless of manufacturer, has done the same thing. Weird…
Now on to style…
14. Head-to-toe outfit details: Tommy Bahama Newport coast pania gingham island zone shirt, $125, The Somerset Collection; Boss by Hugo Boss slim fit white jeans, $198, Hugo Boss – Somerset Collection; Zara sneakers (shop similar).
15. Three words to describe your style? Classic, cool, credible.
16. A few of your favorite brands? I’m a big W.A.S.P., so I have a genetic predisposition for Ralph Lauren, but I appreciate the way that Paul Smith utilizes the same basis of classic fashion and adds whimsy to it. I’m also a big fan of John Varvatos and am proud of his local roots.
17. A few favorite items in your closet? I have a leopard print track suit that I found at Forever 21. It’s completely age-inappropriate, but it’s really fun to throw on to run errands in and watch the unsettling effect that it has on the public. My husband, Greg, has figured out that buying me limited-edition Burberry scarves keeps me in line. They’re stacking up at an alarming rate.
18. You can’t leave home without___. Botox. I have a standing appointment with Diana Adams at GLO Aesthetics in Rochester.
19. You’re never fully dressed without? Amazing shoes. I don’t settle for ordinary.
20. Your go-to summer look will be? Hues of Blues via Hugo Boss. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe that becomes a signature look and challenges me to be creative within a very specific color range.
21. Where do you find your style inspiration? Any individuals you admire as style icons? I love the idea of a uniform. Both Tom Ford and Fran Lebowitz wear the same thing, every day: a tailored black blazer, crisp white shirt and jeans. I think it’s very cool and aspire to be just like them (for many reasons) when I grow up.
22. Favorite quote or words to live by? When I interviewed costume designer Patricia Field, of “Sex and the City” fame, she told me “All colors go together, because they all come from God.”