Tilit’s Sleek New Jumpsuit Was Designed For Chefs, By Chefs (Lilia’s Missy Robbins, To Be Exact)

“I don’t wear clothes other than jumpsuits,” says chef Missy Robbins, who helms two of NYC’s most white-hot temples of carbohydrate worship, three-year-old Lilia and new-ish-ly opened sister restaurant Misi. “I have probably twelve,” she continues, “two different grays, two blues, lots of black — I wear mostly black.” The bulk of this chef’s dozen wardrobe was designed by Tilit, a workwear brand headquartered on the Lower East Side of New York, owned and operated by Jenny Goodman and Alex McCrery, a husband-and-wife team who started their hospitality-focused brand in 2012 after shared decades of working in the restaurant industry.
Prior to Tilit’s launch, traditional chef-wear hadn’t changed since the mid-1800s, with the standard white double-breasted jacket cut without much consideration for body type. (“Women’s [whites] were basically just smaller versions of a men’s coat,” explains Goodman.) “I certainly felt comfortable in my chef’s clothes,” adds Robbins, who had worn the standard garb for most of her 27-year career in fine dining, “but I never felt particularly great.” Tilit set out to create a fashion brand that was also kitchen-friendly, offering chefs workhorse garments that were rugged enough to survive a busy Saturday night, rendered in silhouettes and colors that could be worn into the dining room or even on the street. Explains Missy: “What Jenny and Alex have done is say, ‘Why can’t [chefs] dress in a way that’s more fashion forward?’”
After the group met on a consulting project in 2014, Robbins — a self-described “crazy creature of habit” — was persuaded by her girlfriend to try one of the brand’s existing jumpsuits. (“At first I was like, ‘No, I’m going to stick with what I’ve been wearing for 20 years,’ but one day I snuck it on, and I was like, ‘Oh, this feels good.’”) Last year, the three decided it was time to collaborate, so they re-worked one of Tilit’s existing styles to Missy’s specifications, adding long sleeves (“I started complaining that I was cold,” she says) and a front zipper in lieu of buttons. “It’s easy on, easy off — very important for hustling,” adds Jenny. The result landed on Tilit’s site this past Thursday: a heavy-duty one-and-done outfit that can go from kitchen to dining room with ease. Missy sums it up: “They’ve [enabled] chefs — men, women, everybody — to break the mold of wearing a traditional uniform, and feel great about themselves while they’re working, like everyone else in the world gets to do.”
Click through to shop Missy Robbins’ limited-edition jumpsuit, along with a few of our other favorites from Tilit’s lineup.
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