Jenny Greenstein: North Star

Jenny Greenstein and family
Photo by Yumi Matsuo

Jenny Greenstein on motherhood, her career and more!

I first met Jenny at a parenting press event back in my fashion editor days. I was a bit in a withdrawal phase as I was in the throes of therapy for my youngest son, who would later be diagnosed with ASD. I was not in the mood to chat it up.

Yet, I loved Jenny’s vibe immediately. She had an outfit I coveted, and most importantly, she had this energy about her that was friendly and inviting. I found myself wanting first to know what she was wearing and to know about this ‘cool’ mom.

This was three years back; now I know more about Jenny and her beautiful family. While she is undoubtedly one of the most stylish people I know, there is much more to who this human is. Married to her wife Dina for 9 years, they are parents to Viva, age 5, and Bloom, age 1.

While Jenny has an impressive work background, ten plus years working in the corporate fashion industry as a stylist and visual merchandiser, she founded Your Soul Style after a semester working on her master’s in Social Work. This, of course, does not surprise me as there is a deep empathetic quality about Jenny, who gets a mother’s journey and connects with where they are in life. She understands that as women and mothers, we have many layers to us. She isn’t trying to impose her style on you; she shares her wisdom and talent to help you connect with your personal style so that you can feel your best.

She is also a true activist for mothers, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQ rights. And like many parents, she is coming off one crazy year, juggling family life and getting back to work.

The New York Family team recently visited Jenny, her wife Dina, and their beautiful girls. Read more about this ‘cool’ family.

The presidential election weighed heavy on you. You are married to your wife Dina and raising two young daughters. Can you share what was on the line for your family at this time?

When same-sex marriage became federally recognized under the Obama administration in June of 2015, it was a historical moment for our country, but personally a huge moment for our family. On that night while 9 months pregnant with Vida (our first daughter), we went to a celebration rally at Stonewall Inn and me, Dina and my giant belly were bursting with happiness knowing that our child would enter the world, never knowing anything except that her parents’ marriage was considered just as legitimate as anyone else’s. But ever since the 2016 election, I have worried that things could be reversed. And in the four years of the Trump administration, constantly evaluated the “what if”. The 2019 election exacerbated my fears with the supreme court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett and it was at that point that I really understood how vulnerable my relationship was and what could be taken from us. While I feel more at ease now since the election of President Biden, the future is still unclear. Anything can happen. That said, I will continue to stay hopeful, and motivated to raise my kids to be changemakers in a world that could use more love and inclusivity.

Jenny Greenstein and daughter Bloom
Photo by Yumi Matsuo

Being in your home, I instantly felt the unity and a strong partnership between you and Dina. With a vibrant 5-year-old and an active toddler, what lessons did you learn through lockdown that helps you and Dina in parenting your girls?

One thing I learned for sure is how capable and resilient we can be in the face of adversity. This goes for me, Dina and my kids too. For the first 6 months of the pandemic, like many, I felt overwhelmed. How was I to simultaneously manage my 5-year-old with remote school and my (at the time) 8 month old? It seemed impossible and at the end of most days, I couldn’t actually believe I made it through another day. But, as time passed, and as Dina and I were able to strengthen our partnership and create necessary boundaries and structure in our day to day, somehow the system continued to function. Dina and I believe that in parenting we should hold space for all the feelings — every single one of them is valid. And in this crazy time, it’s important to stay mindful and considerate of each ebb and flow. But children need boundaries or else they feel like they are falling without a net. With the uncertainty of the world, what was most important for us was to ensure that our kids felt held — even if that meant just within the four walls of our home. A secure foundation and a strong attachment to family of origin is what I feel will set up our children for success.

In a recent Instagram post, you mention that while personal growth is hard, you grasp that we have to make the needed adjustments within ourselves. Could you share more on this?

Of course. I’m a huge advocate of personal growth, even when it hurts like hell and feels completely uncomfortable. I am sharply focused on how I can better myself and become a more conscious human being. This is reflective in my personal and professional work. To me, becoming (and remaining) the most authentic version of yourself isn’t a box to ultimately check and be done with. It’s an ongoing process and takes commitment and dedication to (sometimes painful) introspection. But through this work emerges a deep awareness of how to strengthen the muscles that move us towards living in true alignment with all parts of our physical, emotional and mental being. Humans are so beautifully malleable and transformative. With all of the external influences in the world coming at us each day, we must stay aware and open to making the necessary adjustments so that we remain true to our authentic selves.

You are relaunching your business, Your Soul Style. Can you share with us all that Your Soul Style method encapsulates?

The Your Soul Style method is an integrative approach to style and mindfulness. I don’t believe one can exist without the other because style is a reflection of who we are at our core and an opportunity to authentically self-express. While this has always been my approach, during the pandemic, I completed my core life coach training at Co-Active Institute. My certification begins this Fall which will coincide with the relaunch of YSS, and all of the tools I’ve acquired through my courses, combined with the experience of working with my clients in real time is informing the evolving Your Soul Style methodology. My approach is deeply personal and before we evaluate what my clients will wear, we first need to establish who they are. My clients are prompted with questions like, “What are your core values?”, “What inspires/influences you?”, “Are those influences positive or negative?” or “In what parts of your life do you feel stuck and how does this reflect what you wear?”. These are just a sampling of the questions we explore in our initial sessions, along with specific Your Soul Style exercises I’ve created for the discovery phase. As we move further into the process of Closet Cleansing or Shopping/Styling, we continue to build from the inside out as opposed to the outside in because when all parts of our being are in alignment, empowered personal style can emerge. Based on the feedback from my clients, I know this is transformative and powerful work and I’m very proud to do it. I’m super, super excited for what’s to come. Stay tuned.

What are YSS stories?

A few months ago, I launched a series I had been mulling over for years called Your Soul Style stories. Within this feature on my IG @yoursoustyle, I highlight inspiring women and prompt two introspective questions about their personal style: “If your style had a personality, what would you call it?” and, “Since style is a way of silently communicating to the world who we are, what do you want your style to say about you?” My goal is to develop this series further and highlight the range of sensibilities that exist amongst us. We are all so diverse, dynamic and beautiful and I want to empower women to embrace all that authentically lies within. Style is about so much more than what we wear.

Jenny Greenstein and Dina
Photo by Yumi Matsuo

Drawing from your experience of dressing many body types and women in different phases in life. What are some of the key objectives moms should keep in mind as they start to go from lounge clothes (I am guilty of this) and into real clothes?

First and foremost, we are worthy. It can be difficult to remember after such an intense year of being in (literal) survival mode. Especially mothers who have been significantly impacted by this pandemic. But each of us have been affected in our own ways, and whether it be because we were sick, lost a loved one, experienced weight gain, financial loss, losing a job, relationship or our own minds, this year has been deeply transformative.

So how do we re-emerge? How do we return to ourselves after losing ourselves? My answer: we do the work.

While there’s nothing wrong with athleisure, now would be a good time to elevate while also incorporating what has worked over the past year. We don’t need to dismiss the pieces that have sustained us but why not level up? I recommend moms set aside time and a budget to focus on how they want to embrace this next new normal space. Starting with a vision board is a helpful first step. Use Pinterest, tears from magazines, your IG — whatever it takes, but start to tangibly visualize the direction you want to go. At the same time, I recommend evaluating your closet and doing a detox. On the other side of a transformation, we may look back in our closet, and feel disconnected from the person hanging up in there. Closet Cleanses are part of the initial steps I take with a new client to reset before moving forward. It’s not only necessary and cathartic to release the “older version” of ourselves but vital to create space for the newer one. Once you do both of these steps, it should help you to strategize a plan on what to shop for or the styling direction you want to go. If not though — call me. I’m here to help!

The month of May, as we know, shares Mother’s Day; what does being a mother mean to you?

Being a mother means being a guiding light and a north star to the little humans I am raising. I don’t see my daughters as an extension of me, but rather their own people who I am supporting on their own life path. Being their mother means that I need to simultaneously do the work on myself so I can show up even better for them. And while helping to nurture their own growth, I am also nurturing my own. If your children do better than you, you’ve done your job.