Annabelle Dexter Jones is forced to brush her hair and conjure old memories of the Upper East Side.
Something strange happens when you run into Annabelle Dexter Jones — you breathe a sigh of relief. With her unaffected disposition, natural beauty, and teasing grin, this young bon vivant exudes a genuine elegance that takes the usual capricious cocktail tête-à-tête back to a calm sincerity. When she’s hob-knobbing about town, one can find Annabelle looking carefree in her cultivated downtown style … a sensibility she says is a product of being a little sister. As the younger sibling of DJ Samantha Ronson and fashion designer Charlotte Ronson, this style assertion rings true. She mixes a tomboy aesthetic with playful pieces from Charlotte’s line.
Since she usually opts for jeans and T’s — and even brings out her old Dr. Martens from time to time — we offered up a very girly palette for her to test. After flat-ironing her baby blond locks, she shimmied into a lacey J. Mendel frock, then hopped the Eldridge‘s bar with a glass of wine in tow. “This dress is beautiful” she said, though she was fearful she possessed the capacity to “ruin it.” Since she is usually found wearing a tangle of simple necklaces she “never takes off,” we proffered a tangle of weighty Lulu Frost chains to add a bit of edge. She took another necklace, and in her own fashion, wrapped it around her wrist. Truth be told: We could have forced her into any couture or girly number; Annabelle’s relaxed and charming personality shines through whatever she seems to wear.
You are off to school at Bard, but you are a New York girl. I happened to end up at a school that I really love, and I didn’t have to transfer or anything. New York is home. It’s not far, you know … it’s two hours upstate along the Hudson River. It’s beautiful up there, so I love being able to get out of the city, and I have my own space up there. The only distractions are the ones I create myself. There’s like one bar. And growing up here, there are too many people, too many cracks to fall in. It’s the middle of nowhere, and the sky’s always pretty.
It’s great to look at things with fresh eyes. Speaking of, what is this you are wearing? I’m wearing a gorgeous J. Mendel. This dress is so beautiful.
Would you normally wear that out? I would. But I would probably ruin it somehow, like with the wrong shoes on or something.
You always seem like you’re a downtown kind of a girl … you’re not quite uptown. Yeah, I grew up on Central Park West and 74th Street until I was 11 or 12 years old, and then my mom wanted to move downtown, and my dad did too even though it’s beautiful up there. We had a little park in front of our townhouse. I went to school uptown, at Chapin. And all my friends are like, “You know, if we come downtown to your house, are we going to be able to find a cab down there? Like, What’s it like?” They would always freak out, and I would always say to my mom, “I wish I lived uptown. All my friends live on the Upper East Side.” But by the time I was 14 or 15 or something, I was so happy that I was living downtown because there’s so much energy down here. So many different types of people.
There is a lot of variety, especially in fashion. My brothers and sisters live downtown. Central Park West is beautiful, one of the greatest places to live, but also you walk for a mile and it’s all residential buildings where people are living. I feel like I walk out of my house and right into the center of everything.
What’s your favorite place to shop? Charlotte Ronson!
Do you hang out with your family a lot? I’m super close with all my siblings. Really close.
Do you guys go out together? Yeah, we go out together a lot. Well, Charlotte lives here, and we spend a lot of time together, and then I visit Samantha a lot in LA. She moved out a few years ago. I’m still trying to get her to come back and be a New Yorker. And Mark’s between here and in England. I’m going to see him after this. He’s working, because his studio’s here. My other brother, Alexander, who’s a musician, I see all the time. It’s great having so many siblings because I’m automatically popular with all of my friends. I don’t have to worry about that. And just being the youngest, I learn so much from them. There are lots of things that you learn that you only can learn on your own, but it’s nice to have that support system always looking out for you, especially in New York.
What’s your favorite place to go out? I like the Corner Bistro. That always seems to be a trip. We call it Corner Field Trips. My mom moved out of our townhouse at 16th Street and got a new place on 9th and 6th, but in between we were living at the Bowery Hotel so I spend a lot of time there. There are a bunch of little places in the Lower East Side that I love. My mom’s friend, Mark Thomas, just opened this place called Delicatessen. It’s great.
Do you normally wear big accessories like this? The necklace looks so heavy! Usually, I have ten necklaces that I have to untangle like once a month, because I don’t really take them off. … I have this one huge bracelet my godmother gave me for my 18th birthday. It’s a Hermes big chain bracelet with buckles and everything
The link one? Yeah, I always wear that. I lose things a lot. I don’t wear earrings a lot. I begged my mother when I was ten to get my ears pierced. And I got them pierced, and I never wore earrings. My mom was always so strict when we were growing up because she’s English.
You have a tattoo, speaking of strictness. Oh gosh. Oh no, it’s okay. I got an “S” when I was 19 and dating this guy. It was my first love, so I got an “S” and we broke up, and I turned it into an “Oops.” And then this was a song that my dad wrote, and this is one that my mom doesn’t know about yet.
Are they okay with that? I got tattooed with one of my best friends. And I also had a bat mitzvah too, so she’s not really happy about that. It’s not kosher to get a tattoo.
Can you describe your style? So much pressure. I stay at my mom’s, and sometimes I stay at my dad’s. Sometimes I’m up at school, so I have three closets, and I just take whatever’s there.
Who would you trade closets with? Whose style do you really admire? I like my closet. And my biggest influences are probably my older siblings. Because when you’re a younger sister, you look up to them. So probably a combination of my sisters, because Samantha’s a little more kind of tomboyish, and Charlotte’s really girly, so I’m a little bit of both. I like wearing beautiful dresses and that kind of thing, but I also like wearing sneakers with them. I never get my hair done unless it’s a shoot or something like that, so my hair is never really brushed.
What kind of trends do you hate? It depends upon what you consider a trend to be.
Straw fedoras. Okay, fedoras. Fedoras, I have a thing on fedoras. My sister is always in a fedora, and I think she wears it perfectly, but I also think like you have to be authentic in what you’re wearing. It’s easy to open up a magazine and wear exactly what everyone’s wearing, but you have to make it your own.
Do you remember the first fashion risk you took, like going into your mom’s closet? My mom’s closet has been my favorite closet ever. She was always taking her own risks with me. I was always in small dresses since I was ten. But after that she’ll always find me in those cotton, stretchy Betsey Johnson dresses. Remember those? And Doc Martens. My favorite Doc Martens had flowers all over them. I would wear those all the time.
You had a break from the Doc Martens, and now they’re back? They say if you wore the trend when it first came out, don’t wear it again, but I don’t believe in that.
When you’re going to a classy event, what designers do you usually look to? Charlotte? Charlotte Ronson every day. Zac Posen I love. And he’s so great. He’s also a friend of the family, and he really knows how to make a woman feel like a woman, you know? And I love his dresses. They always fit so well and are so beautiful. My mom has always loved Chanel, so if I can ever grab a piece with her, it’s a jacket, or skirt, or blouse. I love this J. Mendel so much, and Matthew Williamson.
So you have ten minutes to get ready for an event … I always have ten minutes to get ready for an event.
Me too! What’s the most important thing you have to do to get ready? God, getting ready always seems like — okay — [messes her hair].
You throw your hair up. I’m really bad at brushing my hair. You’ll never see it as neatly as it is now. I like to either wear sneakers or my favorite shoes ever — I got a couple pairs of YSL shoes, these really high ones with the huge platform. It’s my favorite shoe, and I was always kind of a tomboy until I found these amazing shoes.
What’s your favorite thing that Charlotte makes? Does she ask you advice about what she makes? Yeah, when I was younger, and she’s a little bit older than me, so when I was still at home she was a few blocks away in her own place. Samantha and her got a place together, so I would always sleep over there and we’d go over her designs, back when she was just starting. At the top floor of our house there was a bathtub, and we’d be dying T-shirts and tank tops, so ever since then. She’s come a long way, and every season gets better and better.
She’s no longer doing it in the bathtub anymore? [Laughs] This year it’s in the tents.
Get Annabelle’s Girly Look Want to add some flirt into your fall? Try on some light frocks anchored with bold accessories to anchor Annabelle’s look.
Stylist: Kristian Laliberte, Photographer: Matt Fried, Producer: Cayte Grieve, Venue: The Eldridge
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