In today’s world, what’s old is new again. Between fashion nostalgia and the mainstreaming of vintage hauls, more and more, we’re looking to years past for inspiration. And why shouldn’t we? Sometimes the answer isn’t buying new clothes, it’s working with what you’ve got. With This Old Thing?, we’re bringing you all the fashionable details, red carpet memories, and styling tips you’ll ever need—straight from the celebs you love.
Fashion-wise, Zoe Lister-Jones has always been that girl. The Brooklyn-born actress and director is always turning looks on her Insta and red carpets—of which she’s been on more than a few, given that she’s made copious amounts of waves in both the film scene and on network television. She’s written and produced her own indie movies, like Band Aid, How It Ends, and Consumed, and helmed 2020’s lauded sequel, The Craft: Legacy, which starred Cailee Spaeny and Gideon Adlon.
Lister-Jones’ latest project is the Roku Channel series Slip, which she wrote, directed, and starred in. In the series, she plays Mae, a woman traveling through parallel universes in a quest to get back to both her partner and her own sense of self. Below, Byrdie talked to Lister-Jones about how fashion helps set Mae’s sense of place and time, and how she’s sought to find her own style in life as well.
On Finding Her "Slip" Style
“Fashion is very important to me personally and as a filmmaker, so I wanted to showcase a lot of my favorite designers on the show. There are pieces in the show that are really important to the story, like Mae’s Rachel Comey loafers are the through line that keeps her on track. They give her a sense of safety as she’s jumping from world to world.
Sandy Liang and Batsheva and Susan Alexandra and Collina Strada are all New York designers who I know and love, and they're all featured in this series, too.
I think that because Mae is trying on so many different versions of herself as she jumps from parallel life to parallel life, her clothes are a really important expression of that. They're also clues for her about who she is from world to world, and so it was really fun to design those looks with my costume designer, Julianna Clarke.
We worked with an amazing Toronto-based designer named GORM on the Met Ball look. In the script, the theme was “trash,” and we collaborated with that designer on the silhouette, but they came up with that incredible design, which is a glass bodice, accordion newspaper jumpsuit with a pigeon feather covered tiara.”
On the Clothing That Make Her Feel Safe
“I have a jacket that has literally been my security blanket for years. It’s a long quilted piece from Number Six, which is one of my favorite stores in New York. It's also the thing that I get the most compliments on. It really is like wrapping myself in a blanket.
I also have a Sandy Liang patchwork fleece that I really live in. Generally, I think if I feel uncomfortable in something then it's not serving its purpose in my wardrobe.”
On Her Teenage Style
“I shaved my head when I was 11, and I had a pair of Mary Jane Doc Martens that I spray painted silver. That was also really the beginning of me thrifting everything, like polyester ‘70s large collared shirts and pants, with mismatched patterns that were very textured, not breathable, and highly synthetic.
That sort of aesthetic stayed with me through high school. I was dying my hair different colors and then started to grow it out. I definitely was figuring out my identity through fashion and taking risks. I don't think I understood the impact that those risks would have, though. I was really bullied a lot. And then, of course, within a few years, other people were excited by thrift stores and shaved heads, but yeah, that was my general aesthetic. I listened to a lot of ska music.
In retrospect, I think I shaved my head because I was getting unwanted male attention, but then it got me way more attention. I thought it would make me invisible but instead, it just made me stick out in every crowd."
On the Joys of Online Shopping
"I am an avid shopper. I love online shopping, and unfortunately, now the Instagram algorithm just really gets me. I also love going into stores, though. I can't go into Rachel Comey without buying something. I love the architecture and design of some of my favorite designers’ stores, too. I find it really inspiring.”
On Her First Fashion Splurge
“It was my first season of Life In Pieces, and I had made my directorial debut Band Aid. I had never bought myself a really expensive pair of shoes. I was in Prada with my friend so I bought myself a pair of Prada boots. I was like, 'I'm going to wear these to Sundance,' 'I'm going to buy these as a manifestation,' and then I got into Sundance and I wore them to Sundance—so it worked.”
On Her Style Idols
“My mom always had great style. My grandmother too. They had this innate sense of style, which doesn't mean that they didn't evolve but it was always a very distinct form of self-expression for them. Even as a kid, my mom was putting me in some cool shit.
I don't think you ever really find 'your style,' though. For me, it was never like 'I've found it!' It's always an exciting evolution.”