An Interview with Jennifer Ostroski, the Designer Behind the Must-Have Intimate Apparel Line Skarlett Blue

Skarlett Blue focuses on pieces ranging from beautifully designed T-shirt bras to super-sexy lingerie. Luxe laces and luscious fabrics create must-have pieces in collections that embody true lingerie. The line was inspired by the modern sexuality of women focusing on super-soft fabrics and comfort in construction while providing the quality and fit every woman deserves. Since the launch in 2014, the line has been selling at top retailers across the U.S. and at Skarlettblue.com.

Jennifer Ostroski, the designer of Skarlett Blue takes us behind the scenes and dishes on what keeps her happy, healthy, and motivated.

Skarlett Blue Designer Jennifer Ostroski

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to go into design?

A: I grew up in a really creative family, and it all came naturally. My dad restores classic cars, sometimes from scratch. If he doesn’t have a part, he’ll create it. It was something I was used to. If I couldn’t find something, I’d figure out how to make it. My dad is a big inspiration. There would be oil stains in his garage and I would play with the colors pretending to create color pallets out of them. My obsession with fashion design all began with my sisters. I always wanted to be like them, stealing their clothes. I always admired them. My sister Tiffany was studying fashion in high school when I got into it. She eventually decided to do something else but I was already hooked. It’s funny because my twin brother is an engineer and builds cars while I build bras!

Skarlett Blue Fall 2016 Product

Q: We hear designing lingerie is very complex in comparison to many other fashion categories. Can you explain why?

A: There are so many different components a consumer doesn’t even think about. Every single detail matters. Every detail contributes to the way the garment will fit on you, the way it will feel. For example, a bra can have 30 different components! A shirt might have 2. But to a customer, maybe you only see lace and a pretty back and that’s all that matters.

Searching for the Perfect Lace
Searching for the Perfect Lace

Q: What was it that inspired you to start Skarlett Blue?

A: We noticed a white space in the marketplace, specifically department stores. We wanted to embrace modern femininity: everyday, wearable sexy bras and panties at a moderate price point. We worked to create really high-quality product with a focus on fit. We want to create a product that you buy once and you come back to again and again—and it fits. Simple, wearable, on trend, and feminine.

Q: What do you feel differentiates Skarlett Blue from your competitors?  

A: Once someone has the garment in their hands they immediately talk about how soft it is and how amazing the price is. It feels more expensive than it is, and that comfort level is there that you wouldn’t expect. That has been one of the challenges we are up against every day. We focus on creating wardrobe solutions with the same Skarlett Blue signature throughout.

Skarlett Blue Socialite Bra in color Scarlet

Q: Where do you pull your design inspiration from?

A: For me, it all starts with the runway, especially the couture collections—Valentino, Marchesa, Ellie Saab. They all have a signature and feminine approach to their style. There’s so much detail: You can pull one thing from it and create an entire collection inspired by that one piece. I also love when we travel abroad—it’s about creating the feeling and the mood of that trend or culture. For example, our Spring collection was a Parisian theme. We took the daytime approach focusing on macaron colors, really soft and whimsical silhouettes. For Fall 2016, we did Paris by night, creating the drama and surprise.

Picnic in Paris

Q: Are there other brands that you pull inspiration from—whether it’s brand marketing/aesthetics or product?

A: J.Crew is one for their modern take and their use of color. We get a lot of inspiration from home décor. We’ll also get a lot of color inspiration from our trips abroad, the home interiors and architecture there is just incredible.

Skarlett Blue Design Team Working on Spring 2017

Q: Tell us a little bit about what we’ll see in the Fall 2016 line.

A: I’m most excited for our Criminelle Collection, mostly the body suit and the cuffs. It’s jaw dropping—both in the style, the look, but also the price. We expanded the Minx collection with a top-trending silhouette: the bralette. It’s a no brainer. We added a match to our favorite Chikini: the Goddess T-Shirt Bra. We promise when you try it, you’ll love it.

Skarlett Blue Body Suit and bras

Q: What has been the best seller to date and why do you think your customers love it?

A: Minx Balconette is one of the best selling styles and looks so simple, but the fit of the cup is crucial to that working. We took into account lining it with rigid tulle to keep the lightness but still give you the structure you need in a feminine way. The darted cups are tailored to fit your shape—there is an extended platform to frame your décolleté, the back is two-ply so it’s smooth against your skin, no elastic touching your skin. Every single detail is thought through from a comfort standpoint. We’re still very critical with our replenishments, always checking to see if we can improve further based on feedback from our customers. We are perfectionists at heart. Also, the Goddess Chikini is a best seller. It’s so comfortable and flattering, absolutely no-dig anywhere.

Piroutte Collection Holiday 2016 Coming Soon

Q: What is your personal favorite?

A: The soiree underwire—hitting now—the lace is gorgeous! And the Goddess Chikini

Q: I know Skarlett Blue is very focused on the importance of proper fit. How can customers find their right size and why is it so important?

A: This brings me back to evening wear. You don’t want a dress that has a bubble or a gap, falling down, straps shifting around… You don’t want it to be too loose, or fall out of it. It’s the same with your undergarments—no digging, no bulging. You want it to feel like your second skin creating the foundation and confidence to add that next layer. Clothes look so much better when your bra fits. We also try the bras on ourselves to make sure it fits every single body type—we want to make sure the fit is forgiving but still want to have some sort of standard to the sizing. Something we’re proud of is owning our fit corrections. We do the actual pattern corrections and explain every detail to the factory. We provide our grade and make sure the relation of the B to do the DD makes sense. When we are developing new designs we have the design sketch, but we work out those spec measurements to follow perfectly to ensure it’s to scale verses hoping for the best. Every correction affects another moving part: it can be a hamster wheel if we don’t do it carefully.

Q: On your busiest days, how would you describe your beauty routine?

A: Mascara, rosebud salve lip balm ,and Jergens glow. I have to have it. It keeps me glowing!

Q: What’s your go-to work out? How do you de-stress?

A: I de-stress by trying to never miss a workout! Having just moved back to Hoboken, New Jersey, I love to run along the water there—the views of the city are so inspiring to step back and remember where you are. That helps me clear my mind. I also love weight lifting. I love making myself feel stronger by pushing my limits. I find a lot of inspiration from @buffbunny and @Jessicaaveralo. They are gorgeous but very strong girls, both their strength and motivation is very natural and real. They seem very authentic admitting to both good days and bad days…

Q: You’re based in NYC—what is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t busy in the office?

A: I love taking cooking classes! Last week I went to Hudson Table [in Hoboken] and we made a whole meal with several courses (highlight: raw cookie dough) It was very fun and entertaining, met a lot of people. It was bring your own wine, but we ended up ordering more to share with everyone while we were eating and getting to know each other. I also love playing with my dog. He’s actually way cooler than me and has many more friends than my husband and I!

Q: Do you ever design during your free time?

A: Yes, I really love wedding and bridal design. I designed and made my own wedding dress! I felt like I owed it to myself to at least try. My husband’s best friend offered to film the making of it so I have all that footage. Those moments where I felt defeated and didn’t think I could do it, I overcame it, took the challenge and I’ll cherish that forever. That’s something no one can take away from me. I’m also really into home décor and furniture design. Most of my furniture in my apartment was either built with my dad and brother or refinished in some way.

Jennifer Ostroski’s Beautiful Gown
Jennifer Ostroski’s Beautiful Gown

Q: Wow. That is pretty inspiring! What do you think is most rewarding about your work?

A: When I first started out, I would see my work in stores and it was so exciting to see it but I had only worked on a piece of it. I didn’t create it. Working on Skarlett Blue and seeing the product in real life and in stores I think, Oh my god, I created that. I remember thinking of a need and finding that solution by creating it from beginning to end. I also love to surprise my girlfriends with mini packages gifting my designs. They’ve been so supportive! That makes me happy to share with them, it’s surreal.

Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out taking a chance to follow their dreams?

A: It can be very intimidating. So many times I wanted to quit because it was so hard. So much to learn and every bra fits differently. Over time I learned you can’t let one mistake or scar intimidate you in the future. My mentor—actually friend—taught me that learning how to fit the bra first before you learn how to create it is crucial. That is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given. You never want someone to tell you it can’t be done. Believe in yourself.