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The first thing to know about Jane Herman is that she has impeccable taste in denim. The former magazine editor and mother of two—who has worked everywhere from Vogue to T: The New York Times Style Magazine and Travel + Leisure—lives in just-right Levi’s 501s. That love led her to launch the blog Jean Stories, which tackled all things, well, jeans.
While Herman has long been on fashion’s editorial and consulting side, she launched the label The Only Jane in 2020 after the birth of her first child, Georgia. (She had her son, Walter, last April.) The label is a cornucopia of fitted yet roomy jumpsuits crafted from Japanese cotton and Italian denim with hardware around the waist. “I’ve been wearing mine for two years,” says Herman.
For Herman, the creation of her label is inextricably linked to the birth of her first child. “Becoming a mom is what got me to start The Only Jane—not just because I wanted to make clothes and thought jumpsuits were great for mom life,” she notes, “but also because being the boss of myself was the best way for me to continue doing what I love, with enough flexibility to also make my family life work.” Herman’s work philosophy is simple: Do less and produce better quality. Her mothering mantra is also easy to digest: You have to expect the mess.
Vogue: How did you see yourself as a woman before having children, and how do you see yourself now?
Jane Herman: Before: professional and hardworking. Full of time and energy. Tidy to a fault. Up late.
Now: professional and hardworking. Good at maximizing my time and self-generating energy. Fine if part of the house is tidy and part of it is not. Up too late.
How has motherhood changed how you think about your personal style?
I was a uniform dresser in jeans every day before I became a mom, and my style is the same now, only I wear a lot more jumpsuits. They really are great when you need to get a ton of stuff done in a day and hit the playground before dinnertime. I wish I had more reasons to wear beautiful, embellished shoes. I love beautiful, embellished shoes.
The Only Jane jump one in French blue
The Only Jane jump one in Ecru denim
Has having a child contributed to or influenced your creativity and/or your method of working?
Becoming a mom is what got me to start The Only Jane—not just because I wanted to make clothes and thought jumpsuits were great for mom life but also because being the boss of myself was the best way to continue doing what I love, with enough flexibility to make my family life work. I’m lucky that I have a nanny for Walter, so I can work when Georgia is at school and then again at night after my husband and I put the kids to bed. Being in London helps because New York and Los Angeles are still up when it’s late here.
Now that I’m a parent, I tend to think very practically about clothes as a designer, which is not to say I’m less creative. But functionality, comfort, and efficacy are always top of mind. And everything needs to be easy to clean. Or, like, my pants still look good when they get a little dirty.
What is your work philosophy?
I talk a lot about managing my growth and expectations for growth. It was one thing that I wanted to do really, really well. Whatever I do, my goal is to do it really, really well. I’d rather do less and do it right than bite off more than I can chew and disappoint myself and disappoint others.
How do your children dress? How do you shop for them?
Georgia’s a bit of a tomboy and likes wearing T-shirts and jeans. The pull-on jeans from Boden have heart-shaped pockets, which we both love. I bought her a pair of checkered Vans recently, and now she won’t wear anything else. I recently discovered a U.K.–based pajama company called Nights by Wilder that makes the sweetest sleep sets. I wish they made them for mamas.
Walter’s style is still evolving—he turns one on April 5! As much as I love denim, I feel denim is too stiff for babies, and I generally think babies look cute when their clothes are a bit too big. What’s cuter than a crawling baby in super-baggy pants? Maybe a naked crawling baby. That’s all.
Nights by Wilder Farrow pajamas in green folk floral
Do you have a life-saving mom tool?
I love Hatch. It’s a color-changing night-light. Both my kids are (really) early risers, and with Hatch I can at least get Georgia to stay in her bed until the light turns yellow at 6:30 a.m. (even if she’s up at 5!).
Hatch Rest smart sound machine
What are some pieces that you’ve let go of since becoming a mom?
I have a pair of white vintage Levi’s that will never fit me again, I’m sure. It’s not even about weight. It’s the actual shape of my hips that changed, and those Levi’s were very hip specific.
What are you wearing these days?
Jump One. Vintage Levi’s. Actually, some of the bigger pairs of vintage Levi’s I bought when I was pregnant look great now—they’re sort of louche and cool with a belt. I love Sacai tops. Adidas track pants. Stan Smith sneakers. Living in London I’ve discovered Scottish cashmere brands like Brora, and I wear a lot of that. It’s mumsy, but with vintage jeans or a jumpsuit, it works.
My necklaces make me feel dressed, and I wear them every day. My favorite Sherman Field chain is strung with a gold ring that my mom gave me. I also wear a longer chain with some collection of charms—a pearl from Annoushka, a Loquet locket with a tiny diamond (Walter’s birthstone) inside, an opal heart from Irene Neuwirth that my husband gave me. My kids love fiddling with my necklaces when I’m carrying them. It’s the nicest feeling.
Annoushka 18-karat gold pearl single French-hook earring
Loquet small round locket pendant in rose gold 9-karat
You’ve moved a lot over the past two years from Los Angeles to London, as well as multiple times within London. What have you learned from that experience as a mother?
I learned how to inject a routine as much as possible in all the different places we were in. I found that kids don’t adjust easily to change, especially toddlers, so creating a sense of routine was absolutely necessary. Wherever we were, they got up at the same time, they ate at the same times, they went to bed at the same times.
Also I had to accept a lot of mess. We had a lot of tantrums from my toddler, so I had to be incredibly patient and forgiving. She didn’t know where she was, and she didn’t have all her familiar things. Her whole world was our house in Los Angeles for 16 months. We went from being in lockdown, seeing the same people, and not traveling for 16 months to all of a sudden being in a new place every week. You just have to accept the mess, which is hard for me because I love everything to be organized and predictable.
What is a cause that you’re passionate about?
Art for Peace is an art fair created by two high school girls in Los Angeles to benefit efforts supporting Ukraine. The show includes a mix of works by well-established artists and students, all of whom are making a lot of really beautiful things to help raise money for two organizations: one for refugees and another for medical aid.