Splitting her time between New York and Florence, Italy, Jennifer Diederich (you might recognize her from Project Runway Season 5) loves a classic cut and a whimsical pattern. Her line, Suite, is a collection of quirky, whimsical details often in the 50’s-60’s style silhouettes, or, as Jennifer likes to call them, party dresses. Get to know this seasoned designer, what it means to dress well, and how to master the art of a European wardrobe in our Well Dressed Creative interview with Jennifer. Plus, she shares a little sneak peek at her designs and collections!
Full name: Jennifer Diederich
Location: Florence Italy and New York
Current title/company: Suite
How long have you been a full time Creative?
Almost 5 years
What is your day-to-day work routine like?
I always start my day with a cappuccino and croissant, it’s only natural after all…I live in Italy! Once appropriately caffeinated, I head into the studio to do everything owning your own small clothing business entails…making patterns, sewing samples, photographing new items for sale online, sketching and researching new ideas, etc. Most days you can also find me at the fabric stores either researching new fabrics or purchasing fabrics to fulfill orders. At lunch time, I like to snap a picture of my “ootd” for Instagram and head out to grab a focaccia from the local corner bakery. In nice weather, I’ll walk around a bit for some fresh air, inspiration and…another espresso. I am usually back in the studio after that to continue working, most days well into the night. There is always something to work on!
Best part about being a business owner?
The freedom to express my own thoughts through design and how my company will appear to others, this freedom is not usually allowed while working for someone else. I feel lucky to be able to create my own little world and share it with other stylish girls!
What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?
I think I would have experimented more with technique and figuring out by trial and error what women wanted before starting to sell to stores right away. It is easy to get caught up in your ideas, without stepping back to critique what works and more importantly, what should be reworked. Over the years, I have been able to do this, but experimenting first would have saved me the money spent on less successful samples.
What is the key to making a fool proof, creative, yet professional outfit?
I believe in being anything but basic, personally! One of the most fun parts of my day is being able style the pieces that I design. I start with a key piece, usually a dress. Then, I choose an outerwear piece to create an interesting color combination. To bring things together, I draw from my ever growing vintage costume jewelry collection filled with treasures, to add some personality to this colorful outfit. Then I finish the look with a novelty handbag to bring in some humor. Choosing quality pieces in colorful combinations is a great way to look creative, yet professional. The tongue-in-cheek accessories are also great conversion starters or ice breakers. Of course, if you are carrying a clutch that resembles a newspaper, to keep it professional looking, choose clothing that is fun, yet sophisticated…skip the leggings and skinny jeans in these occasions.
Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?
I would recommend establishing your personal style. Once you know what style clothing and accessories you love and how you want to be perceived by others, only purchase things that fit into this style. This way everything in your closet will represent you, and you can’t go wrong when choosing an outfit. I also believe in having pieces that can be worn in layers. I like to have great dresses with several different tops that can be worn over the dresses. When your dress can also appear as a skirt, it opens up so many styling options. In fact, the outfit I am wearing in these photos is actually a dress with a cropped tie front top worn over it!
Photography by History in High Heels