Joey Jones is a weather girl. Not the predicting-weather variety. She is, for lack of a better phrase, a “daily weather artist,” who expresses herself through an unlikely medium—fashion. This medium is especially unlikely given that Joey and her family live on a few shady acres in Northern California surrounded by horse farms and the haunting cries of peacocks. The climate is mild, often sunny; during the summers, fog hangs on the ridge above their house.
Despite her quasi-rural upbringing, Joey exhibits a preternaturally sophisticated sense of style, of color, of shape (she is seven years old). “From a tiny age, Joey has been accessorizing, with that kind of flair that makes a whole bunch of disconnected items come together,” says her mother, Kirsten. She and her husband Sam were delighted yet puzzled by Joey’s fashion ambitions, given that they rarely aspire to much beyond jeans and flip-flops. “We went through a brief period of panic thinking that maybe, at age two, she had been exposed to those nasty magazines, which would eventually send her hurtling into a dark maze of teenage girl self-loathing and objectification,” Kirsten recalls. Unfortunately—because it makes people assume Joey wants to become a model, rather than choose a career more suited to her creative talents—Joey is beautiful, but in the extra-alluring way that intelligent, thoughtful, discerning children are fascinating to watch. She exudes a giddy certainty as she describes one memorable outfit—a batik skirt and top, a colorful umbrella, her movie-star sunglasses—that she wore in Hawaii (she thinks it was for a wedding). “We were on a big hill,” she says, “and we slid down this green, green hill on mats. The sun was going down, and the clouds were all pink and purple.” Joey never actually describes her skirt or top: Her outfit is conveyed through what she remembers of the sky and the grass and the feeling of sliding down a hill in the sunset.
Every night before going to bed, Joey arranges her clothes for the next morning—from her shirt and belt to her socks and shoes. When asked about the outfit she’s wearing today—a pair of appliquéd heart jeans, striped socks, Mary Jane shoes—Joey says, “I spent a half hour looking for my plain jeans,” indicating the appliquéd jeans (a bit busy, apparently) were her second choice. She lays out “hot clothes” or “cold clothes.” Sometimes, however, even Joey misfires. The outfit she’s planned isn’t expressive of the day she wakes up to. “Sometimes I’m not in the mood,” she says. “Or my dad looks at the weather, and I realize I’ll be so, so cold or so, so hot.” She prefers hot days, because then she can visit her best friend Isabelle, who has “an upstairs and a pool,” and she can go swimming. Despite her instinctive fashion knack, Joey claims that she and Isabelle and Isabelle’s twin sister Alex are all going to “sign up together” to be actors. Toward that end, she has chosen a stage name and started watching a lot of theater performances at her school. “I’m learning you have to remember stuff. It makes me nervous, there are so many words you have to remember.” Though she concedes to the occasional anxiety, Joey radiates a slow burn of calm directedness. When asked what she’ll wear to be photographed for this article, she stares upward at nothing for about twenty seconds, brain whirring. “Jeans and my pink, sparkly belt,” she answers. “And a really light pink T-shirt, with a small flower up top, and my sparkly blue jacket.” This assuredness translates, occasionally, into a mild ruthlessness toward Kirsten’s wardrobe choices (“Are you really wearing that, Mom?”). But Kirsten frequently solicits Joey’s advice when she’s dressing up for an event. “Bottom line,” Kirsten says, “she has a great eye.” Sam, however, is a slightly tougher critic. “She doesn’t necessarily have ‘good’ fashion sense. That remains to be seen, and of course is forever subjective. Many mornings she walks out of her room looking ridiculous, but simultaneously—and this is the key—proud.”