The 3: Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson
Words: mater mea
Visuals: Jennifer Currell
The new mom and Huffington Post editor shares her approach to style at work, home, and play.
Journalist Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson is one of those women. Someone whom no matter where you see her—in line at the grocery store, on a crowded New York City subway platform, or on a Good Morning America segment—looks at ease and in control. We bet some of that has to do with her personal style, which is rooted in practicality and a strong sense of self.
“I buy what I like, and in the end it comes together,” Cumberbatch Anderson says with a laugh. “Budget is probably my number-one priority when I’m shopping, which means I generally shop at a few different places that are on the less expensive end of the spectrum. Growing up with a twin sister, I’m used to swapping clothes, so I think that fits with that whole budget philosophy.”
And though Cumberbatch Anderson has always chosen ease when putting an outfit together, it’s even more important now that she and her husband teacher Matt Anderson have become parents to 9-month-old August Munro. “After becoming a mom I realized I’m trending toward comfortable,” she says. “It needs to be easy because I’m usually lugging around a bunch of things, whether I’m with her or not.”
It’s a maxim she follows whether she’s at her desk at the Huffington Post’s New York offices where she’s the editor of HuffPost Home or off on a date with her husband. Cumberbatch Anderson gives us more insight into her style and how it translates at work, home, or at play below.
Why is this a good example of a work outfit for you?
It’s comfortable. If I only have to think about [putting on] one thing, that’s just an amazing step ahead for me in the morning.
I can easily dress it up. It can either be a little bit more casual if I wear the flats, or if I have an event after work I can throw on some cute shoes. I like something that is simple. It’s definitely not very practical with her because it’s white, but I can wash it, also another plus.
Where do you shop the most?
You’re really going to make me confess… (Laughs) I buy a lot of things at Forever 21 [and] the basic big box stores: H&M, Forever 21, Joe Fresh. I’ll do Nordstrom Rack every now again or Century 21; Kohl’s has become my new favorite place. So that’s my basic rotation. I really just end up browsing online and buying stuff. I was never a person who shopped at vintage, thrift, or consignment stores, but a colleague of mine is very into it, so she got me into it. I started small, built up a little collection of scarves [and] accessories. I was never confident in buying [vintage], and I never knew where to get good stuff because of my size, but that’s changed.
Matt will definitely say differently, [but] I feel like I don’t shop as much as he thinks. I have a tendency to really hold on to things. I found some shoes in my closet the other day from Delia’s. I was like, “I might have to get rid of these, or I might need to hold on to these collector’s items.” That’s a testament to buying things that are essentials and just getting a lot of wear out of them, and mixing them up with other things.
What’s your first fashion memory?
My mom was quite the fashionista in her day. She had these purple leather boots that my sister and I just always used to put on and wear around the house. I was fascinated by these purple leather boots. I was probably about four or five I would say. That’s one of my earliest memories of getting dressed.
I definitely have a very distinct memory of trying to formulate my own personal style against my sister. Even though we’re identical twins, [our parents] were very conscious of us having our own identities. So even though it was easier for them to buy two of everything, they made sure that we each had our own colors. I was always in the purple / blue family and she was red, pink, orange. That was just sort of our own way of saying, “I am an individual.”
Can you describe your at home outfit to us?
I only have a couple of jeans that I really rotate. These are my second favorite ones—they’re from the Gap. I feel like even though they have holes in them, they’re the ones I can dress up a little more. For the most part I pretty much only buy stretchy skinny [jeans]. It has to have some stretch to it, that’s pretty much the key. I don’t like having to wear a belt; I don’t want anything that’s going to fit loosely at the top like that.
This is one of a thousand tank tops I have in every color. It’s usually the base of my outfit. I like to layer things, so I’ll usually throw on a sweater or blazer or jacket of some sort over this, even if it’s warm because my office is freezing. If I were going out, I would wear sneakers. Shoes are the one thing [I don’t focus on]. I obsessively wear them into the ground, and then I throw them out and buy new ones.
I have a little collection of scarves, [which] is something that I’m kind of obsessed with. One of the first things I’ll do when I come into the house is pull my hair back and tie it up. I don’t know why! I just don’t like hair in my face, and especially with her, she’ll just immediately pull it.
How does your style affect the way you dress August?
I actually don’t want it to. I want her to be able to develop her own style and be able to tell me one day what she likes and figure out what that looks like. It’s so hard, but I even have hesitations sometimes about being super girly with her. I’m looking forward to her being able to say, “I like this” or “I don’t like that. This is what I want to wear.” So I try not to influence her too much. I probably am already. But yeah, we are into polka dots now. (Laughs)
What’s your approach to beauty?
I, everyday without fail, wear eyeliner and some sort of eyeshadow and nail polish. Because my sister is a beauty editor, I have so many beauty products, it’s insane. It’s fun—I like being able to experiment and try different things. She always has some new lip color, so I’ll say, “Oh my God, I love that. Get me one!” I feel like I always resort to the same color pallets, but every now and then, I’ll see something cool and I’ll ask her to get me something to test out.
Fill in the blank: When I want to feel sexy, I’ll wear ___________?
Heels for sure. I feel like a different person. I feel older, I feel so much more mature. People actually think that I’m the age that I am. (Laughs)
How do you dress like your age when people think you’re much younger than you are?
Well, shopping at Forever 21 doesn’t help. (Laughs) If I really want people to take me more seriously, I will do heels or a blazer. I always feel like I need a layer of some sort even if it is summer and it’s really hot. I’ll do a watch, which seems a little bit more mature, [and] my wedding ring. That’s like my number one thing that allows people to take me more seriously. They’re like, “Oh wait, maybe you’re not 15.”
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