House of Watha T.: Meet Jing and Lucienne

Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library

House of Watha T.: Meet Jing and Lucienne

Jing and Lucienne with strollerOn Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jing and her daughter, Lucienne, visit Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library for story time. What you notice first is their energy: Jing bounds in enthusiastically, a warm smile and friendly greeting at the ready. She pushes a bright-orange stroller bearing many books (to be exchanged for a new bunch) and two-year-old Lucienne.

Lucienne is more conservative (the way of many toddlers), her energy more subtle. A knowing, level gaze; a genial wave; a firm hold on a book. You may catch snatches of her talking with her mother or other members of the three-feet-and-under set.

And after their initial entrance, you notice: Wow, do they ever make an entrance. Jing and Lucienne are distinctly stylish for a mom and her toddler. While fashion is a democracy —and with kids, it often feels like fashion takes a backseat when your clothes also serve as canvas for milk, crumbs, syrup, jelly, bodily fluids or a surreptitiously placed handprint made of God-knows-what — it can still be celebrated when it's done so effortlessly and unpretentiously. Think Gwen Stefani and her boys: always stylish, but in an easy, fun and ready-to-romp kind of way.

Before moving to the United States five years ago, Jing worked as a project executive in the China office of international trade show organizer Messe Düsseldorf. After moving to the States to join her now husband, who preceded her to attend school, she was accepted into the Master of Science in Accounting program at American University.

“In China, I was not much into fashion because I was very busy working,” says Jing, now a stay-at-home mom. “I hardly had time to go shopping. After Lucienne was born, I wanted to look good and confident because I just want to set a good example. I also want her to feel comfortable with different styles and fabric.”

Where do you get your inspiration?
From Lucienne, from dressing her up. Sometimes when I feel comfortable wearing certain brands, I want to give her the same clothes. I will read some books and get inspiration—the trends, the colors, how to mix and match styles.

Does Lucienne seem to have any preferences? In the morning, will she say, I want to wear that, I don’t want to wear that?
Yes, definitely. Her favorite color is hot pink. And she likes bling-bling. Like, the hairband, or bracelet, or necklace. She likes a lot of girly stuff. Hair clips. Everything bling-bling.Shoes

Is that what she calls it too?!?
Yes. She has her thoughts and her opinions. She likes to choose the clothes that she likes to wear in the morning. Sometimes I want her to wear the clothes that I pick for her, and I have to hide certain clothes in order to get her to put on [the ones] that I pick.

Are there any people you look to as style or fashion icons—anyone whose style you really admire?
The Duchess Kate [Middleton]. She looks very, very graceful and confident. Her clothes look very comfortable.

Who are some of your favorite designers? Who do you find yourself going back to?
For winter coats, I like MaxMara. For dresses, I like DVF [Diane von Furstenberg]. Sometimes I’ll get Theory.  For Lucienne’s clothes, I mix and match. Sometimes J. Crew, sometimes babyGap.

What are you reading? Do you have time to read for yourself?
Now I’m reading Cloud Atlas. I’m halfway through.

How is it so far?
I’m a foreigner, and the first story, it’s a little complicated for me. The second part is much better. It has six stories, but I don’t know how they connect. But I looked on Wikipedia and it says that at the end of the book, you will know how they connect.

What do you and Lucienne like to read together? Does she have any favorites?Lucienne with book
Caillou books, Dora and Thomas.

Why do you like the library?
Because of the staff.  You guys are very, very nice. You have a lot of energy and are very friendly. I think what’s most important is, you guys are really gentle for the babies. They can look to you and learn a lot of stuff from you. That’s the most important thing. They learn how to behave themselves from you guys. That’s very important.

Jing's dress / shoes: DVF / Missoni
Lucienne's dress / shoes: crewcuts by J. Crew / babyGap

Check out more House of Watha T. profiles in fashion:
Larry | Natasha | Precious | Sherry | Renaiya
-Jamilla Coleman