Tommy Dorfman Believes In the Power of Jewelry

The actress, who costars in a new Mejuri campaign for the brand’s collaboration with Jenna Lyons in honor of International Women’s Day, treasures her family heirlooms.

Tommy Dorfman and Jenna Lyons.
Photo by Cass Bird/Courtesy of Mejuri

Tommy Dorfman’s been a busy lady lately. In February, she starred in Collina Strada’s fashion week film as a sort of Lower East Side answer to The Hills’ Lauren Conrad, attended her close friend Julia Fox’s now near-legendary birthday party at Lucien (during which Kanye West gifted some guests free Birkins), and generally had to learn how to redress for the cold winter months after relocating back to New York City from Los Angeles. Despite her packed schedule, when was asked to costar in the campaign for Mejuri’s collaboration with Jenna Lyons in honor of International Women’s Day, it was an easy “yes.”

Inspired by the jewelry worn and passed down by the men in her family, Lyons has reclaimed the pinky signet ring for everyone. Her version, done in 14 karat gold vermeil, features either a beveled edge onyx stone or a gold face, perfect for engraving an initial. A portion of the sale from the collection goes toward the Mejuri Empowerment Fund in support of women and non-binary people. Naturally, Lyons called in a selection of trailblazing women, including Dorfman, activist Noor Tagouri, and Olympian Allyson Felix to model the collection alongside her, shot by the photographer Cass Bird.

Here, Dorfman talks about taking part in the campaign, the power of Natasha Lyonne’s Out magazine cover, and the one red carpet she still can’t live down.

Photo by Cass Bird/Courtesy of Mejuri

How did your involvement in this campaign come about?

I had been working with Mejuri informally for a few years, wearing their jewelry and as a customer for a long time. When they reached out to do something for International Women’s Day and told me that Jenna was involved, Cass was shooting, and Noor was gonna be in it, I jumped at the opportunity.

Jewelry can be such a powerful thing when it comes to self-expression. How has your relationship with jewelry evolved over time?

In my day-to-day, I wear pieces that are either hand-me-downs or inherited items from family, or pieces that can blend in with whatever I’m choosing to wear. Obviously I love having fun on red carpets with statement pieces, but Monday through Friday when I’m just living my life, I want things that are durable and wearable and so refined and chic without overcompensating in any way.

Do you have any favorite pieces of jewelry?

I have a bracelet that my mom gave me when I was 13 that I wear every single day. I’ve barely taken it off over the last 16 years. It’s made appearances on almost every red carpet and most TV shows I’ve done. It’s a through-line through most of my characters. It’s a piece that makes me feel grounded and reminds me of the love I have for my mom.

Photo by Cass Bird/Courtesy of Mejuri

Has recently moving back to New York changed the way you’ve dressed?

Having all four seasons again has shifted the way I’m dressing and moving through the city, and I’m making sure I’m getting back in a rhythm of dressing for the whole day and sometimes from day to night.

Right now, aside from the weird Global Warming days we’ve been having the city, that looks like many, many, many layers. What I’m trying to understand, and my friend Florence has been helping me, is wearing spring dresses that I love in the winter. Ultimately the key to that is really good undergarments, really warm tights, and really warm bodysuits, and then I can still feel cute throughout the day.

Who is your ultimate style icon?

I love Edie Sedgwick and Amanda Lear.

Do you have a favorite style moment from pop culture?

I love Molly Ringwald in the John Hughes era. It’s so cozy to me. I’m deeply enmeshed with Jawbreaker as a film and as an aesthetic. I’m doing a lot of research for certain projects, and that has been coming up a lot.

There’s an Out magazine cover with Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall: one of the most insane editorials of all time. Also, Clea DuVall’s hair from that time period is deeply inspirational to me.

I’m also honestly living for the performance artist known as Julia Fox, my longtime sister, and friend, and collaborator—just watching her step into the light in all of the ways right now in a post-Ye world and reclaiming her throne as an “It” girl forever.

What’s the most prized possession in your closet?

I have a blue fleece flannel button-down that belonged to my grandfather—that is my most cherished item in my closet. As far as more fashion-y things go, I have a custom Thom Browne beaded skirt suit that will forever remain in the archive.

Are there any items on your shopping list that you’re currently on the hunt for?

Well, I didn’t get my Birkin. So that’s a bummer. [Laughs]. No, I want for so few things. I do have my eyes on this massive, pink Raf Simons knit that’s basically a floor-length sweater. I’ve basically been living in a Dries Van Noten coat that I got at Dover Street Market in London.

Are you more of a “You see a piece, you buy it” kind of shopper?

Yeah. Once or twice a year, I do sort of a “top to bottom” shop at Dover Street or, if I’m in a different city, another store I haven’t been in for a long time. But then, yesterday, it was freezing, my girlfriend and I were walking down the street, I needed a sweater, so I popped into Marni, which is my all-time go-to favorite knit, and I bought a men’s cow-hair blend, asymmetric sweater that I’m wearing right now and will probably live in for the next few weeks.

Do you remember your first big fashion purchase?

A Versace button-down when I was 14. I also bought a pair of Raf Simons shorts when I was 15, and a Thom Browne knit when I was 15 or 16 at Barneys Co-Op in Atlanta, Georgia.

What’s your biggest style regret?

Oh my god, okay, MTV VMAs, 2017. That couldn’t be more clear to me.

I would say my other style regret is this Isa Boulder [piece] I’m obsessed with, and looked so good before I left the house. But then, in the photos from this after-Met party at Boom Boom Room, I look insane. I can’t believe anyone let me wear it out of the house.