Sibylle’s Style Diary: Former Real Housewives of New York City Star Jill Zarin on Being Stylish as a Top Entertainer of the Year

May 9, 2016 1:58 pm Last Updated: May 16, 2016 5:29 pm

This week’s style diary guest is Jill Zarin, brand ambassador of Zarin Fabrics, a Lower East Side institution that has defied New York real estate trends to celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. Inspired by Zarin Fabrics, Jill also designed her first Jill Zarin Home bedding line. She is also one of the most popular and requested reality television stars in the entertainment business and appears regularly on national talk shows. New York Times Magazine voted her as one of the top 25 entertainers of the year. Jill is sharing with us her perspective on style.

Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?

Jill Zarin: I would say eclectic, as even though I have become more casual over the past few years, you can never take a good party dress out of this party girl!

Jill Zarin. (Fadil Barishka)
Jill Zarin. (Fadil Barishka)

Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?

Ms. Zarin: Only three?! Loyal, fun, and opinionated.

Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager?

Ms. Zarin: I grew up in the 1970s and I loved it all! I wore whatever was trendy. I remember shopping at Ronnie’s in the Five Towns and buying purple parachute pants. I think I still have a photo of them. I have always been attracted to color.

Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you ever wore?

Ms. Zarin: I have a line of shapewear called Skweez Couture, and I wanted to promote the brand, so I wore a corset with a high ponytail (with added hair, of course!) on “Watch What Happens: Live,” and was told I was “giving good Madonna!” I think that made an impact and was the most memorable, but if you ask my daughter Allyson, I am sure she has a list!

Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?

Ms. Zarin: I like to wear jeans and a great black T-shirt, and during the week I might throw a black blazer over it. If I have a luncheon or charity event I love to wear a colorful dress like Emilio Pucci or Oscar de la Renta with great shoes from Jimmy Choo, Prada, or Louis Vuitton.

Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?

Ms. Zarin: A great bag with shoes and a great watch. I am sporting an emerald green Graff right now but I have my eye on a new Chopard.

Ms. Eschapasse: What’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?

Ms. Zarin: My handbag collection is pretty impressive if I do say so myself! They make me feel confident.

Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?

Ms. Zarin: My mom has always made clothing a priority. My mom would have been a famous fashion designer had she been born years later.

Jill Zarin== Dali: The Golden Years== The National Arts Club, NYC== February 04, 2015== ©Patrick McMullan== photo - J Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==
Jill Zarin at The National Arts Club. (Patrick McMullan)

Ms. Eschapasse: Who is your style icon?

Ms. Zarin: J. Lo. Hands down.

Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.

Ms. Zarin: Wearing something that makes you look great. It doesn’t matter if it is “in fashion,” whatever that means; you should wear something that flatters your figure.

Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of?

Ms. Zarin: My first Kelly bag. My husband Bobby took me to Paris on vacation and we went to Hermès and they had a black version that I fell in love with. This was about 17 years ago, and was a big deal for me then. It still is!

Ms. Eschapasse: And what would you never pay much money for?

Ms. Zarin: I love fine jewelry, but I have had a few very important pieces stolen over the years, which was heartbreaking for both Bobby and me. Now if I want a new piece, I really think about it before purchasing and I buy a lot less than before.

Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? 

Ms. Zarin: I want to feel skinny! I always want to feel skinny.

Ms. Eschapasse: Which designers can achieve that?

Ms. Zarin: For red-carpet appearances, I love Chiara Boni La Petite Robe these days. I can always count on them for a stretchy fabric that sucks everything, and I mean everything, in. I also love Heidi Klein for her kaftans and Ramy Brooks for easy fabrics and styles.

However, my favorite store overall is in New Jersey because the owner is the most incredible curator of fabulous clothing and always makes sure I am on trend and look pretty… skinny, I meant skinny! It is called Gito and it’s only 15 minutes from the city.

(Courtesy of Jill Zarin)
(Courtesy of Jill Zarin)

Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?

Ms. Zarin: If you ask me how someone looks I will always tell the truth, even though sometimes you might not want to hear it. A selfie can really help, or have someone take a photo of you. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

Jill Zarin==Leesa Rowland Celebrates Her New Book "Discovering the IT Factor within You"==Waverly Inn, NYC==April 21, 2015==©Patrick McMullan==Photo - J Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==
Jill Zarin. (J Grassi/PatrickMcMullan.com)

Jill’s Favorites

Favorite color: Pink
Favorite perfume: Chanel
Favorite restaurant in NY: Philippe Chow
Favorite drink: Diet Coke
Favorite movie: “Scarface”
Favorite book: “Secrets of a Jewish Mother”
Favorite quote: “It’s All Good!” (I stole that from my husband Bobby)

Sibylle’s “Style Diary” is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.

Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy a New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at [email protected]