Nina Garcia is the epitome of a game-changing girlboss. As Creative Director by day, mom by night, she’s an inspiration to all the women out there juggling work and life. The best part? Her undeniable success in both worlds proves the balancing act is more than worth it.
We caught up with Marie Claire mag’s arbiter of taste to learn exactly how she does it. Nina gave us all the details, from her go-to office look to the best piece of life advice she’s ever received. Read on and be prepared to develop a major girl crush.
What’s your go-to work uniform when you don’t have time to think about what to wear?
There are a few silhouettes that I fall back on consistently. A mid-length skirt that has a unique pattern or interesting details (like patchwork suede or ties up the side) is my go-to. I pair it with a button-down shirt or fine cashmere sweater. For work, I love a tailored jacket paired with wide-leg or skinny cigarette-leg pants and heels.
If you could choose one word to describe your personal style, what would it be?
Polished and fashionable. My days are busy with lots of meetings and appointments, so I’m constantly on the go. If I’m meeting with someone important, I can’t look like a fashion victim!
Where do you feel your most productive?
In the showroom talking to designers about their collections. There’s nothing like touching the clothes and hearing about the inspiration. It always gets my creative juices flowing.
In your opinion, what do people get wrong about success?
It’s all about the effort you put in. Even if you’re a genius—if you don’t put in the effort, it’s very hard to see the fruits of your labor. Nor can you achieve success by treating others disrespectfully or feeling entitled.
What’s possible for women now that would surprise your great grandmother?
That it’s possible for them to hold a successful job—even run billion dollar companies— and have a family.
You’re known for being very honest and direct, especially when you express your opinion as a judge on Project Runway. What advice would you give to women who aim to be more straightforward and candid about their point of view, whether at work or in their personal lives?
People value honesty and having a point of view, so I think it’s very important to be candid in your personal and professional life. Choose your words in order to be respectful and not hurt anyone’s feelings. Also remember that honesty doesn’t have to mean criticism—it’s just as important to speak up to give praise as it is to give negative feedback. That also helps alleviate the pressure when you do have to be honest about harder things, because people will trust you and know you’re coming from a constructive place instead of a vindictive one.
What’s something that you’re passionate about outside of your career?
My family always comes first. But I’m also passionate about the Latin community, art, and education.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Dress for the job you want.
If you could Uberpool with anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would you ride share with and why?
Coco Chanel. Not only did she redefine the way women dress, she was also a pioneer in terms of her thinking and the way she lived her life as a strong, independent woman. Now more than ever, she’s a great role model. I’d like to ask her what she thinks about fashion and the world in general today.
What advice would you give to women looking to find the signature style that makes them feel their absolute best?
Comfort breeds confidence. Find a silhouette that flatters you and makes you feel amazing, like you can conquer the world, and buy it in multiple styles and colors.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NINA GARCIA