Pop!: Meet Jennifer
Published on Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:03pm
Pop! Street Fashion is an experimental collection of patron street fashion at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. It is devoted to photographically documenting the sartorial narratives of patrons who visit the library. Please email My Nguyen for more information.
Jennifer is living proof that cakes and cute dresses go hand-in-hand. An archivist by day, and a devoted baker during her spare time, she knows the power of a pretty Modcloth dress!
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am an archivist. I work at the Archives for American Art — that’s professionally. Other than that, I like to read, I like to knit, and I work part-time as a cheesemonger at Cowgirl Creamery.
What is it about archiving that you found so compelling?
I first started my career as an archivist by working at the Maidenform bra collection. I just really liked the idea that I could work with pop culture material, common material, advertising material. I felt that was important to American history. From there, I moved around quite a lot, but at the Archives of American Art, I work with sound material and oral history recordings, and that’s also really interesting and really gratifying.
Very cool. Where are you from?
I was born in South Dakota, grew up in Minnosota, went to college in Wisconsin, and came out here for grad school. I’ve lived here for a really long time now. More than 15 years.
What’s the best part about D.C. for you?
I think the best part of D.C., for me, other than being able to work in any archive — this is the best place for archivists to be — but, really it’s the Smithsonian. I don’t say that just because I work there but there’s SO much to do, there’s always opportunities to see exhibits, to see art, to see other cultural things. The food in D.C. is really getting better; it’s a great scene right now. I’m hoping there will be a baking explosion.
What do you like about MLK?
I love that this is a Mies building. I think that’s really important; it’s an important building for D.C. It’s the only one like it here. So I love being about to look at the building from my office. But I love also being able to take advantage of the library, too. I check out a lot of cookbooks, a lot of knitting books, as well as a lot of DVDs. I really like being able to do that so close to work.
Do you prefer Dewey or LC and why?
I don’t know if I have a preference. I think — oh, that’s hard. That’s really hard. I don’t think I have a preference. They both do their thing. [Laughs.]
Tell me about your style, your own personal style. How did you cultivate that?
I recently turned 36 and for a long time I only wore jeans and t-shirts. And I’ve really started to think about the way I look, differently, and to be more fun in the way I dress. So, I’ve started to kind of explore those options.
Where do you glean your inspiration?
Pinterest is really fun to look at. I don’t read fashion magazines. I read cooking magazines.
Do you have any fashion icons?
No person, but I love the big skirts from the 50s and the 60s. I like that look. I don’t like the 80s. That’s too close for me. I’m old enough to where the 80s and the 90s are too close to where I am. It’s not cool for me.
I don’t really look to specific people. But I love looking at what people have pinned on Pinterest. I also like shopping on a budget so I mix a lot of pieces, for example, Target with sale rack Anthropologie. Have you seen the new Solange Knowles video? I can’t dress like that! But it’s still really inspiring.
I’ve started wearing a lot more color recently. Also more skirts and dresses. That’s different for me, and I have liked going beyond the edges of my comfort zone.
If Kitchen Aid or Cuisinart were to get into a baking match, who would win and why?
Kitchen Aid. They’re like the Midwest of cooking. They’re not trying to be New York. They’re not trying to be LA. They’re just trying to in everyone’s kitchen. They’re not elitist.
Let’s talk a little bit about your baking.
It’s funny. I only like to bake; I don’t like to cook. Baking, I think, makes people feel good. It’s a comforting thing, it’s a celebratory thing. I can cook a spaghetti meal, and be like, “This is your birthday meal!”
But I always want the dessert part, too, and I want the dessert part to be just as special as the meal. So that’s why I ‘m going for baking. I want it to be a little bit comforting, a little bit familiar. But also be exciting, too.
Best last book you’ve read?
Right now, I’m reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by this woman called The Bloggess. Hm. Last best book I’ve read. Like other than a cookbook?
You can name a cookbook!
I read Make the Bread Buy the Butter, and that was really good. It’s about what you should make at home and what you should buy at the store.
And your top three favorite books?
That’s really hard. [I like] When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, a YA book featuring some bits of magical realism; Farm City by Novella Carpenter, a memoir about an urban farming. I get a lot of inspiration from the three baking books by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito. All of these I checked out from DCPL.
I definitely lean more towards the indie rock stuff. My favorite radio station is online, it’s called the Current [at 89.3]. It’s in Minneapolis.
The last three shows I saw were Grizzly Bear, The Dirty Three and David Byrne & St. Vincent.
Describe yourself in five words or less.
That’s hard. I would say funny, snarky, dessert-obsessed, and…normal. I’m normal.
Boots: Lucky Brand via TJ Maxx
Glasses: “A woman named June Mines. She runs a glasses shop in the basement from her home in Brookland. It’s called these Eyes of Mines.
Ring: “My wedding ring. It’s vintage. I got it in Baltimore.”
--Story and photography by My Nguyen