My Uniform: Recipe Developer + Video Host Claire Saffitz

My Uniform: Recipe Developer + Video Host Claire Saffitz

There aren’t many feelings better than noticing your favorite chef wearing something you designed while making “sourdough for beginners.” Which is what happened when our co-founder Somsack came across a video of the internet’s favorite chef, Claire Saffitz. After reaching out to say thanks, our wheels were turning: How could we work together to bring more of our designs “into the kitchen” (so to speak)? An apron felt totally natural and, well, maybe a little bit obvious in the best way. We created a unisex herringbone apron with Claire’s guidance and landed on a design that we—and she—think is perfect for home chefs. So how does a foodie and a self-professed design-lover dress herself? And what’s on her holiday wishlist? Oh, and what can we cook this season to impress our friends? It’s all here.

 

ON CHILDHOOD STYLE

I grew up in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. I always liked clothes and was interested in following fashion trends, but I never felt like I had the means or access to make it a priority. At age 10 my style was probably pretty unremarkable. My sisters and I shopped at the local mall and at stores like Marshalls, which I think helped instill my abiding love for a deal. My sisters and I all shared clothes and I took a lot of my cues from them when it came to dressing. Clothes were a big topic of discussion and debate, and the source of a few fights among us. I distinctly remember that there was a

period of time around this age when all I wanted was a pair of Gap bootcut jeans, but they were $47 and my mother refused to spend that amount on jeans. As a teenager, I got into reading fashion magazines like Vogue and W and Elle. I’d read WWD while eating cereal before going to school, not fully realizing or really caring that it was a trade magazine and focused on the business of fashion. But spending money on clothes was not a high priority, so I became more interested in following the fashion industry than in cultivating my own personal sense of style. I taught myself to sew a bit—I always loved to craft and make things with my hands—and made myself a few skirts. I went through a phase in college when I only wore black. I went to college on the East Coast and thought it made me seem more sophisticated! I often wore a lot of black dresses and black tights, paired with black boots and a black winter coat. I’ve always been a fan of easy dressing, so having this sort of uniform really appealed to me.

 

ON HER CURRENT UNIFORM

My personal style is evolving. The past couple years I’ve been trying to figure out my personal style better. I’m partial to clothes that are easy and comfortable. A huge part of this comes from working in a kitchen. I like clothes that are functional and allow me to move around. I don’t want to feel constricted by what I wear. I’ve also tried to take more risks in how I dress, particularly when it comes to color and pattern. I still love denim—nothing beats jeans and a t-shirt for me. I love a jumpsuit as well. I struggle a lot in the morning, so I like to simplify dressing by sticking to some kind of uniform to eliminate any added stress. 

 

 ON HER FIRST INVESTMENT PIECE 

I remember as a teenager I bought myself a black Prada nylon bag (a tiny shoulder bag). I think I bought it at Loehmans or another such department store. My adolescence was a time when labels were big, and I was extremely proud of that bag. I wish I still had it! 

 

ON STYLE INFLUENCES

Practicality and comfort are most important to me. I don’t like being hot or constricted, so I wear lots of layers, which allows me to remove clothing as needed when I work. Ultimately, the jeans and t-shirt combination has served me well. I got used to wearing clogs in the kitchen and I’m very excited that they’re having a fashion renaissance. I’ve invested in a few pairs and now wear them everywhere.  It’s not a specific individual who has influenced my style, so much as the cities in which I’ve lived. I lived in Paris for a year during culinary school and the effortlessness with which Parisians put themselves together left a big impression. New York is also such a street style capital and I am inspired just walking down the street everyday. People put on a good show. 

I’ve always been a fan of easy dressing, so having this sort of uniform really appealed to me.

ON APRONS

I always wear an apron at home when I’m recipe testing from my kitchen. With baking there’s a lot of flour and butter flying around and I’m used to having the protection of an apron, as well as a place to tuck a towel and hold a pen. An apron is a form of protection; it’s like a piece of armor. I want to protect my clothing underneath, but I also want my apron to look good and be comfortable. There’s always been a need for a stylish apron, but especially now that I’m in front of the camera more frequently. 

 

ON THE DESIGN WE CREATED FOR HER 

I love the fabric’s subtle herringbone pattern and that it’s heavy enough to be protective but light enough to move with you and breathe. I also love how the silhouette is streamlined and flattering on everyone—it’s truly unisex! The Washed Black and Golden Khaki are neutrals, but still register as colors. This apron is eminently functional and strikes a great balance of practicality and style. 

 

3 THINGS WITH CLAIRE SAFFITZ

Three careers you’d pursue if not for your current profession:

I’d be an artist or a sculptor. Working with my hands is so important to me, and that’s something that working in food has made me realize.

I’d be a graphic designer. I’m a very visual person and love design, although I haven’t formally studied it and don’t know much about it as a discipline. I’m very drawn to design -- my brain loves spatial relations!

I’d become an academic. I love the idea of being a student forever and having your job to be to learn, research, explore, analyze, and come up with original arguments.

 

Three things on your holiday wishlist:

A Stand Studio faux fur coat. I love that faux fur now has gotten so luxurious.

A pair of Belgian loafers. I like comfortable slip-on shoes that I can wear with jeans, and these are so classic!

The Night Pillow. I don’t get enough sleep, so anything that improves the sleep I do get is very welcome.

 

Three dishes the novice host should try this holiday season:

A super simple apple tart. It’s a great opportunity to master buttery pie dough and turn it into a tart or pie with just a few apples and some brown sugar.

Pâte à choux. People think it’s complicated, but the dough is actually pretty simple. You can turn it into cream puffs, profiteroles, or gougeres, so it’s very versatile for the holidays. And you can freeze them portioned out on a sheet tray and just throw them into the oven anytime you need it.

Bolognese. It’s a stick-to-your-bones cold weather staple. You can make lasagna, a quick pasta dish, or spoon it over polenta, so there are many possibilities. The best part of making a big batch is packing leftovers in quarts and keeping them in the freezer to pull out whenever you need. 

 

Claire was photographed by Bryan Derballa in New York City at the Union Square Greenmarket and SOS Chefs.

Futher Reading