Update as of Dec. 15: This story has a heartwarming ending. According to an Instagram post from Glamour‘s editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, Anna Wintour made amends for reportedly shunning Radhika Jones’s fox tights on her first day meeting the staff as Vanity Fair‘s new editor-in-chief. In a move befitting the holiday season, Wintour gifted the editors-in-chief in the Condé Nast umbrella, including Jones, with their very own pair of fox tights at a recent get-together. Oh man, I feel like my heart just grew three sizes.
When I started at FLARE, I was terrified to pick my first-day-of-work outfit. I looked at my over-stuffed closet and all I could see was unfashionable item after unfashionable item. Nothing was “chic.”
I opted for a black v-neck dress over a plaid shirt with black tights and high-heeled boots—which I had specifically bought for my first day at a fashunnnn mag—and a face full of makeup. I looked and felt like someone playing dress up. New job, new me, right? But when I stepped into FLARE’s office, I realized that what I wore didn’t matter, it was the ideas I brought to the table.
I’m legit not saying this to brag about FLARE (although, full disclosure, I love our easy-going work culture). I’m saying this because reading the reports about how Radhika Jones, Vanity Fair‘s new editor-in-chief, was treated on her first day meeting the Condé Nast staff is exactly why I stressed on my first day at FLARE.
And I’m so excited to meet the @VanityFair crew!
— Radhika Jones (@radhikajones) November 13, 2017
When Jones met her new staffers, they were reportedly more concerned with her outfit than her outlook for the mag. According to WWD, Vanity Fair‘s fashion editor called Jones’s outfit “iffy” at best. Jones was wearing a navy shiftdress with zippers and tights patterned with cartoon foxes, to which both the fashion editor and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour seemed to take particular offence.
UM, sorry, I thought we had moved past the point when what’s on a woman’s tights overshadowed what’s on her resume. And in case you were wondering, Jones’s job history is basically the epitome of #careerinspo.
Jones’s resume includes some tiny publications like Time magazine, where she was deputy managing editor. While there, she oversaw their iconic top 100 most influential people—and, in 2015, broke a 29-year streak of dudes by putting a woman (German chancellor Angela Merkel) on the cover, which is badass. In addition to her time rising up the ranks at Time, the Harvard-graduate and Columbia PhD-holder also acted as the editorial director of the books department at The New York Times, oh, and also worked at the Paris Review.
Jones is also the first Indo-American to earn the title of editor-in-chief at a major magazine, a role she will officially start on Dec. 11. As an Indo-Canadian myself, the idea of seeing the name Radhika at the top of Vanity Fair‘s masthead makes me feel like times really are changing—but hearing about how Jones was treated reminds me that change may not be happening as fast as I thought. This whole scenario is like a scene out of Mean Girls where a new kid, who may not be from the same town or may look a bit different, comes up to the cool kids table, but because she isn’t wearing the approved attire, she is promptly told, “You can’t sit with us.”
Jones’s resume is literally win after journalism win. And yet, meeting with the Vanity Fair team, her tights, not her tenacity, are what caught their attention.
“I’m not sure if I should include a new pair of tights in her welcome basket,” the fashion editor said to a friend, according to WWD.
Thankfully, while some of her new colleagues were ready to tear her down, social media users were quick to build Jones back up—and don foxy tights in solidarity.
Fox tights just became the new way to show you mean business.
— Summer Brennan (@summerbrennan) November 17, 2017
Buying every woman/femme in media I know a pair of cartoon fox tights for Christmas this year!https://t.co/RQq3iUWn3m
— Madison Malone Kircher (@4evrmalone) November 17, 2017
Frantically googling “where to buy cartoon fox tights.”
— Iva (@ivadixit) November 17, 2017
Now that I’ve been at FLARE for a while, my style has definitely evolved—just as it would if I got a new gig working somewhere else—but the chicest part of it is that my colleagues treat me the same regardless of my outfit. My work wardrobe still includes that LBD from my first day, with the addition of some new skirts and cool t-shirts, and after this, you better believe that I’ll be adding a pair of fox tights to the rotation.
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