Jill Martin (jillmartin.com) can never be accused of not practicing what she preaches: The New York Knicks sportscaster and Today show contributor became a minimalist two years ago while writing her second book, I Have Nothing to Wear!, on how to edit one’s wardrobe. “I realized that you only wear 25 percent of what’s in your closet—you pick the same things every time,” she says. “If you don’t see it, you’re not going to wear it, so I don’t have anything that’s not on view.” That desire to live her motto spurred her to create the Martin Project, a line of aesthetically pleasing closet-organization products for QVC (qvc.com) that launched this month. Martin’s designs can be found throughout her Gramercy apartment, displaying whatever doesn’t easily fit in her walk-in or front-hall closets. The Emmy Award–winning television personality is also constantly getting rid of stained, ill-fitting or unwanted items—a practice she promotes in her latest tome, The Weekend Makeover, which details how to form healthy behaviors in 48 hours. “Now I love getting dressed in the morning because it’s easy,” she says. “If you wake up and you’re scrambling, that dictates what your day will be like.”
When Martin moved into her rental four years ago, she originally used these built-in shelves for folded sweaters. “It was a mess,” she concedes. She has since repurposed them for housing her impressive footwear collection, largely dominated by Christian Louboutin stilettos (965 Madison Ave between 75th and 76th Sts, 212-396-1884 • 59 Horatio St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts, 212-255-1910 • us.christianlouboutin.com). “You have to form your closet around your lifestyle,” she says. “If you’re a soccer mom, you don’t need to have all of these heels, but I work in TV where you see my shoes and I’m single and run around at night, so it’s appropriate.” Bold heels have also become Martin’s signature accessory. “I like to have my shoes tell the story,” she adds. “On any given day, you’ll know my personality from my shoes.”
Martin won these Alexander McQueen peep-toe pumps (417 W 14th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-645-1797, alexandermcqueen.com) in a bet with a friend. “I forget what it was but I was 100 percent positive—I knew I was winning,” she says. Had she lost, Martin would have had to purchase her pal a pair of Christian Louboutin nude heels. “I love skulls,” she enthuses of her prize. “I’m such a dork, but I feel like they make me edgy.”
“Marlo Thomas once told me nothing is sexier than a black dress with red shoes,” recalls Martin, who received these Christian Louboutin studded pumps from an ex-boyfriend. “I just wore these to the Oz the Great and Powerful premiere because I feel like they are my version of the ruby slippers, with a little edge.”
After covering the Olympics in London for the Today show last summer, Martin traveled all over Europe for a month. She picked up these beaded sandals while in Mykonos, Greece. “I’m always in flip-flops,” she notes. “So much of my stuff is from that trip because I would buy something and then leave something [behind], like leggings that I traveled with. I just had a carry-on; it was freeing to travel like that.”
“People will ask me, ‘What are you wearing?’ and I’ll have no idea what brand I’m in,” admits Martin, who had to check the label inside this bejeweled clutch to discover that it’s from Talbots (2289–2291 Broadway at 82nd St, 212-875-8753 • 525 Madison Ave between 53rd and 54th Sts, 212-838-8811 • 1251–1255 Third Ave at 72nd St, 212-988-8585 • talbots.com). “I just never even look. Some things I wear are $5 while others are $5,000—it’s really all about what I like.”
Before she designed her QVC line, Martin organized her necklaces by hanging them on adhesive hooks from Home Depot (locations throughout the city; visit homedepot.com), stuck to a wall facing her shoe closet.
“Everything is color-coded by theme,” explains Martin, who uses flocked hangers from the Martin Project in different hues to categorize her closet: Teal is reserved for Today-appropriate daytime dresses, pink is for going-out apparel and navy indicates outfits that are suitable for Knicks games. “A lot of people organize their closets by pants, skirts and tops, but I think that’s sort of inefficient,” she says. “This makes getting dressed easy.”
Although both of her main jobs involve being on television, there’s a distinct difference between how Martin dresses for the two. “Morning TV is a lot of fun color, and I’m talking about fashion,” she says, noting that she’d pair this Rachel Roy shift (rachelroy.com) with an equally vibrant necklace from BaubleBar (230 Fifth Ave at 27th St, suite 610; baublebar.com) for the Today show. “With the Knicks games, I try to err on the conservative side, since they’re at night and I’m reporting at a sporting event.” This Adrianna Papell frock (adriannapapell.com) is an example of a more professional look she’d don to Madison Square Garden.
When Martin was 22 years old, she scored this Donna Karan New York sequined cashmere off-the-shoulder sweater—marked down from $1,200 to a mere $25—at Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth (off5th.com). “Every time I feel bad or I don’t know what to wear because I’m in a rush, I put this on,” she says. “I call it ‘the beautiful shirt.’”
Another item that has survived Martin’s continuous purges is this ragged sweatshirt, which belonged to her father in college. “He painted his room [at City College of New York] in it,” she explains. “I always say to get rid of this kind of stuff but I wear it all the time. I love how it looks on me too, although I wouldn’t wear it out and about.”
“I love the idea of wearing a sweatshirt with slacks and beautiful shoes,” says Martin, who plans on doing exactly that with this embellished version from Haute Hippie (9 Prince St between Bowery and Elizabeth St, 212-431-0101 • 1070 Madison Ave at 81st St, 212-535-0193 • hautehippie.com). “I like combining comfy and dressy [items]—I think there’s nothing sexier.”
This Lotus London (lotuslondon.com) sequined frock is another travel souvenir Martin purchased while in St. Barth six years ago. “Just FYI to the 25-year-old women who are reading this: Your body changes,” she cautions. “I’m not saying you gain weight but the shape of your body changes. This was a dress I would wear with a bathing suit as a cover-up and now it’s a shirt I pair with flats.”
Perhaps the only item in Martin’s closet that she doesn’t actually wear, these cropped pants from Tory Burch (38–40 Little West 12th St between Ninth Ave and Washington St, 212-929-0125 • 797 Madison Ave at 67th St, 212-510-8371 • 257 Elizabeth St between E Houston and Prince Sts, 212-334-3000 • toryburch.com) still serve a purpose. “Since I’ve gotten older, I can easily fluctuate five or six pounds in a week,” she admits. “These are my did-I-gain-weight pants. I don’t weigh myself because I think people go nuts over that, so this is my scale. If they fit, I’m good, and if they don’t, I know I gained weight.”
“I don’t pack a lot when I go on vacation because I love coming home with the flavor of wherever I was,” says Martin, who purchased this sheer embroidered caftan for $25 while in Positano, Italy, with her family.
A pair of framed push boards and two mannequins from Martin’s QVC line keep her necklaces tangle-free while functioning as decor. “I think it’s pretty,” she says. “It makes me happy to look at everything.” She displays everything over a sleek Formica desk from West Elm (1870 Broadway between 61st and 62nd Sts, 212-247-8077 • 112 W 18th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 212-929-4464 • 75 Front St at Main St, Dumbo, Brooklyn, 718-875-7757 • westelm.com).
Chain necklaces are protected inside an acrylic storage unit from the Container Store (629 Sixth Ave at 19th St • 725 Lexington Ave at 58th St • 212-366-4200, containerstore.com), while chunkier costume pieces are strewn around a Martin Project leopard-print mannequin. “I want to be able to wake up and have a vibe, so they change all the time,” notes Martin of her current baubles on display. “I’m in my turquoise, happy spring mode but come summer it will probably move to more delicate things.”
“I love the Carrie Bradshaw nameplate necklace,” says Martin, who had her diamond-encrusted version custom-made by Jennifer Miller Jewelry. “I’m stuck in the ’80s, so I’m all about it.”
Martin strung a trio of Jennifer Miller Jewelry gold-plated lapis, turquoise and moonstone pendants through a piece of rope for a relaxed yet polished look. “I think you should dress up on the beach,” she says. “I’m single so I always think, You never know who you’re going to meet. But I also like the way bathing suits look accessorized.” She wore it throughout her European vacation last summer.
This diamond heart necklace belonged to Martin’s paternal grandmother. “Each of [the granddaughters] got a different piece, so this is very special,” she says.
Whimsical costume pieces, such as this dual-sided angel/devil necklace from Lester’s (1534 Second Ave at 80th St, 212-734-9292 • 1102–1120 Ave U at Coney Island Ave, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; 718-375-7337 • lesters.com), are mixed in with Martin’s fine jewelry. “It’s for kids but I felt like, I can wear that; it’s appropriate,” she jokes.
Cuffs are contained in a nine-section tray that originally served as a divider inside the flea-market box it now rests atop. “I feel like I won’t lift the lid up to look—I’m that specific,” says Martin of her dedication to keeping items out in the open.
All four of these rings hail from various family members: Martin’s 94-year-old aunt made her the beaded style, while her paternal grandfather passed down his jade version. Martin inherited the middle two from her maternal grandma, and replaced a diamond in her wedding ring with a ruby (the loosened stone was then matched and transformed into a pair of earrings). “Things have to have some sort of meaning for you to be able to hold onto them,” she advises.
A trio of LBD-shaped jewelry organizers from the Martin Project is suspended on a sculptural hat rack from Target (locations throughout the city; visit target.com). The two-faced creations feature Velcro loops from which to hang bracelets on one side, and zippered pockets for securing earrings and other loose items on the other. “I don’t lose partners—everything is protected here,” boasts Martin. Every other week, she swaps in two different scarves as a reminder to wear them. Styles from 25 Park (805 Washington St between Gansevoort and Horatio Sts, 212-734-2525 • 1296 Third Ave between 74th and 75th Sts, 212-585-2525 • 25park.com) and London’s Portobello Market (portobellomarket.org) currently dangle above a yet-to-be-placed mirror from MacKenzie-Childs (20 W 57th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-570-6050, mackenzie-childs.com).
In order to gain even more real estate for stashing her hats, Martin hooks a fabric accessory strip from her line onto a coatrack from Bed Bath & Beyond (locations throughout the city; visit bedbathandbeyond.com). “I wear baseball caps all the time,” says Martin, whose collection includes styles from the Today show, the Knicks and her alma mater, the University of Michigan.
The front-hall closet is sparsely populated with jackets and seasonal accessories, such as scarves, gloves, umbrellas and rain boots. Martin is an avid fan of SoulCycle (locations throughout the city; visit soul-cycle.com), and she keeps her cycling cleats tucked away in a side pocket of the rotating hanging organizer she designed.
An ex-boyfriend purchased these monogrammed Hunter boots for Martin from SwagStamp (swagstamp.com). “We broke up and he still gave me the shoes,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Thanks, you’re such a nice guy.’” In addition to these personalized Converse sneakers, she also has a pair of Havaianas flip-flops bearing her initials.
Martin adores the scarves from Theodora & Callum (theodoraandcallum.com), which was cofounded by her close friend Stefani Greenfield. “Each tells a story and takes inspiration from a different place,” she explains. “[Greenfield’s] daughter is Theo and I faint over her—she is the cutest thing. When I put this on, I think about Theo. We’re close.”
Almost all of Martin’s winter clothing is packed away in these fuzzy poufs from the Martin Project, which were designed to match the shabby-chic decor of her apartment. “It comes flat so you can stuff it with things,” she points out. “I had things under the bed but they got dusty, so this is a great storage solution.” She keeps another one in her bedroom for stashing her comforter and pillows.
The Martin Project flocked cascading hangers, 50 for $33, at qvc.com
The Martin Project garment bag with little-black-dress design, $19, at qvc.com
The Martin Project set of six printed drawstring shoe bags, $33, at qvc.com
The Martin Project Red Carpet leopard tote with clutch, $45, at qvc.com
Hot on the heels of her third book, The Weekend Makeover, and the debut of the Martin Project, a line of closet-organization products for QVC, Today show contributor and Knicks sportscaster Jill Martin let us peek inside her pared-down wardrobe. She keeps everything on view, including shoes from Christian Louboutin, dresses from H&M and tops from Haute Hippie. Instead of buying new footwear, she gets existing pairs resoled at Leather Spa and Eddie’s Shoe Repair.
Her NYC style resources
BCBG Max Azria Locations throughout the city; visit bcbg.com
Martin is a newfound fan of this contemporary label’s basic white tees. “It also has great dressy tanks,” she enthuses. “I love matching a really fancy skirt with a just a plain tank. Sharon Stone did it at the Oscars, but I just think it’s a really fresh, I-didn’t-try-too-hard look.”
Donna Karan New York 819 Madison Ave between 68th and 69th Sts (212-861-1001, donnakaran.com)
“I only have a few brands that really fit me perfectly,” says Martin, who cites this high-end clothing label as one of them. “I think you should always be comfortable, and that’s why I love Donna Karan. Her motto is, ‘If you can’t sleep in it, you shouldn’t wear it.’ I agree because you can tell when a woman is uncomfortable.”
Eddie’s Shoe Repair 30 Rockefeller Plaza between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-581-3463)
Before heading to work, Martin drops off shoes in need of mending at this cobbler. “A lot of people think you need to [constantly] buy new shoes but oftentimes you should just get them fixed up,” she says. “You’re just going to step in the grass again—don’t waste the money.”
Jennifer Miller Jewelry 972 Lexington Ave between 70th and 71st Sts (212-734-8199, jennifermillerjewelry.com)
This Hamptons jewelry designer is Martin’s go-to resource for both real and faux baubles. “The store is set up beautifully,” she says. “What’s great about it is that in a cabinet, there will be everything from a $4,000 necklace to a $90 bracelet and you can’t tell the difference [between the two].”
Leather Spa 10 W 55th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-262-4823, leatherspa.com)
“I’ll never send [my heels] back to Christian Louboutin to get fixed—to me, that’s like a black hole,” declares Martin. “You want your shoes back so you can wear them.” As an alternative, she brings her timeworn pairs to this upscale repair shop, which is capable of resoling them with the brand’s signature red soles.
Saks Fifth Avenue 611 Fifth Ave at 50th St (212-753-4000, saksfifthavenue.com)
Martin does the majority of her seasonal shopping at this upscale department store. “It’s right near work and it has everything,” she says. “I’m really basic—I have every white T-shirt you can possibly envision and jeans—so Saks will call me and say, ‘We got in a new white T-shirt.’ I’m so into them.” Her current favorite brands for solid tees are Michael Stars (michaelstars.com) and Splendid (splendid.com).
Follow Cristina Velocci on Twitter: @cvelocci