When “Ed Swiderski” showed up on my called ID last week, I literally shrieked. I felt like a Make-a-Wish kid, getting a call from my favorite celebrity. Minus the life threatening illness, natch.
You see, she still shows up as “Ed Swiderski” on caller ID, but the otherwise single Jillian Harris was an open book about her life, her fashion, and her future.
Jillian and I chatted about everything from watching her life unfold in the tabloids (some of it is actually true) to construction in open toed shoes. (Idefinitely a bad idea) to Ed’s video recaps of the Bachelor Pad. (Also a bad idea. I concede.)
Here’s a peek into the life, love and fashion of Jillian Harris, exclusive to The Possessionista.
Possessionista: Prior to being on the Jason Mesnick season of The Bachelor had you ever seen the show?
Jillian Harris: Yes! It’s one of the few shows I actually watch. I loved the Shayne Lamas season. She had amazing style and always looked great. I had bachelor parties and I remember watching that season and saying “I want to get engaged in a yellow dress on tv!”
Possessionista: And you did! How did you go about getting dressed for the Bachelor? Did you wear your own clothes or did you go shopping?
Jillian Harris: Anyone who has ever gone on television will tell you that it’s very stressful. You start thinking about how you look, what you’re going to wear. I knew I couldn’t bring anything I already had. And to make things worse, I was working as a designer and really living paycheck to paycheck. But I’d just refinanced my house and I had a little cushion. I took all that money and bought dresses, makeup, shoes. My only regret is that I wish I’d learned a little more about makeup. Especially powder. I was pretty shiny.
Possessionista: And when you were the Bachelorette? How was it different working with a stylist?
Jillian Harris: I love Cary Fetman and we worked great together. We have very different styles. He dresses women for men. I dress myself for women. We collaborated together and started incorporating my pieces into the wardrobe and it worked. When we got to Canada it was freezing, so we did another shop that was really reflective of my personal style. And everything you saw in Europe was all Cary. And those were some of my favorite items of the whole season. I still wear the Chloe Dress. (pictured left)
Possessionista: What are some of your favorite fashion moments from The Bachelorette?
Jillian Harris: I love the Chloe Dress on the date with Reid. And the denim dress from Aritzia that I wore on Kiptyn’s hometown date. Ed’s favorite look was the yellow BCBG dress I wore to the rose ceremony where he came back. Ali Fedotowsky wore the same dress for the first episode of Jake’s season.
Possessionista: How has your style changed since your Bachelorette days?
Jillian Harris: I have a new appreciation for “good” clothes. I’m willing to spend a little more on pieces, but I spend smarter. I’m also really into shoes. I think I dress a little more edgy. I still love really feminine pieces, but I like to pair them with something a little riskier like a frilly dress with Frye boots.
Possessionista: Have you always loved clothes?
Jillian Harris: I have always loved clothes and shopping. My mom always took great pride in dressing us, and as a kid my dad and I would drive into town and go back-to-school shopping, and I always picked out the craziest stuff. I think my friends from high school would say I had good clothes. I remember when I first moved out of my parents house, I was waitressing and I was making, like, $6.00 an hour, but I bought this $200 Dolce and Gabbana tee shirt just because I loved it. I was insane. I had so much clothes sometimes things would hang in my closet with tags for 6 months.
Possessionista: How would you describe your style?
Jillian Harris: It’s like my personality. High brow and low brow. Like a polished redneck.
Possessionista: Speaking of polished rednecks. What do you think of the Bachelor Pad? What would you wear if you were on that show?
Jillian Harris: (laughing) um, nothing but high heels? No, seriously, I’d probably wear a lot of dresses. I think it would be important to dress feminine, so the guys would think you were hot but also trustworthy.
Possessionista: Promise me you’ll never go on that show. Then tell me about your wardrobe for Extreme Makeover. Is there a stylist.
|Dress: Aritzia, earrings: F21
|Jillian Harris: I promise. No, there’s no stylist, we all wear our own clothes. In the beginning I begged them to let me wear open toed shoes. That lasted one episode and then I tripped. Now I wear the same Frye boots every time. But I try to amp up the style with the girliest dresses. I think it’s important to show that you can look pretty and still work hard. But I think as it gets cooler, I’ll probably start bringing in some more jeans, too.
Possessionista: And what do you wear when you’re not on camera?
Jillian Harris: I try to stay away from sweatpants. I’m living out of a suitcase these days, so I literally have no sweatpants. I’m in jeans and hoodies most of the time. But if I’m going out, I’m almost always in dresses and I like to mix it up wtih fun shoes.
Possessionista: Where do you love to shop? What are your favorite things to buy?
Jillian Harris: Shoes are my thing. I love Nordstrom because they have everything. I never go in looking for shoes, though. They have to surprise me. And if I find four pairs, I’ll buy them all because I know a drought is coming. I love Aritzia too. And for accessories, I shop at Forever21 and Target. I don’t spend a lot on my jewelry. I love Stella & Dot too. And for clothes I really like the Michael by Michael Kors line. It’s really great stuff and a great price point.
Possessionista: What are you dying for right now?
Possessionista: Who is your favorite celebrity fashion icon?
Jillian Harris: Taylor Swift. I love all her girly dresses and her boot collection.
Possessionista: Okay, favorite jeans?
Possessionista: Favorite shoes?
Jillian Harris: I have a pair of Prada sandals that a client gave me at the end of a project. They started my shoe obsession.
Possessionista: What’s one tip you could give to all the fashionistas who emulate your style?
Jillian Harris: Get everything tailored. Even if I buy a $20 dress at Forever21 I take it to the tailor. There’s always something you can do to make it fit better. Shorten the hem or the sleeves. Take it in in the waist. We all have different bodies, so it doesn’t seem possible that everyone can fit into a small, medium or large. It’s worth the few dollars, and can make a cheap item look much more expensive. And no matter what you wear, own it. Dress like you’re telling people you don’t care what they think.
Possessionista: What shows do you watch?
Jillian Harris: I actually only watch The Bachelor and Extreme Makeover. And, no, ABC didn’t tell me to say that.