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Keep Calm and Style On

Jess | Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On a quiet Sunday afternoon with the muted hue of an overcast sky spilling in through my dorm room window, I sat with my roommate watching TV when I heard a knock on the door.

I opened it up to reveal an effortlessly radiant Jade Barber, who, with a subtle smile, stood patiently awaiting an invitation to come inside and a breakdown of the game plan for the day.

My plan was conceptually very simple. I wanted to channel the intensity present within the fiercest of athletes into a style concept that demonstrated that same level of elegance and power.

Barber, a sophomore on the Irish track and field team, was undoubtedly the perfect person to help fulfill this vision. A dominating force in the sprints and hurdles, she helped to propel the Irish to a Big East conference title with her first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, second-place finish in the 200-meter dash and leadoff leg on the winning 4×400-meter relay team. Though her accomplishments at the conference championship earned her Big East Female Athlete of the Meet, Barber didn’t stop there. Just two weeks later in the Alex Wilson Track and Field Invitational this past weekend, she picked up yet another season best in the 60-meter hurdles.  Her time of 8.13 seconds broke her own school record, the meet record and earned her a fourth-place spot in the coveted sweet sixteen of ladies competing for the national title in the event.

When asked about what factors contributed to her wild success on the track, Barber had this to say:

“Good coaching is necessary to improve form and technique. When I got to Notre Dame, both my running and hurdling forms were terrible. My coach got on my case because he believed that I had the ability to be good. He dedicated extra time to me because he cared and believed that I wanted success badly enough to put in the hard work.

     My teammates were also extremely important for my track success. All of the ladies that I train with are very talented, and running with such experienced women everyday prepares me for the high level of competition that [Division 1] athletics have to offer. More importantly, my teammates motivate me to perform well. Before my races one of my teammates always comes up to me and holds me accountable for my performance. She reminds me that when I’m running, I’m not running for myself and that I’m running for my team. When I wear my uniform, I’m expected to bring pride and glory to the Notre Dame track family.

     My family is the last essential factor for my current track accomplishments. If it weren’t for my family I never would have started running track. I ran track because of my brother. He ran and I wanted to be just like him. When my twin sister Kaila and I showed some potential, my family began to push for us to pursue track and she and I both ended up running at Notre Dame. She is my support line as well as my best friend. My grandma unexpectedly made the trip to the Big East Indoor Championship this year and I cried. I cried while in the starting blocks for the 60-meter hurdle finals because I was so happy that my family was there.”

Barber’s support system has helped to shape the powerhouse of an athlete that she has become in a number of ways. First and foremost, she emits an undeniable aura of confidence when she steps onto the track. She also possesses the impressive ability to remain consistently strong from meet to meet. Finally, on top of all of that, she remains admirably humble, never forgoing the opportunity to accept a congratulatory hug or offer words of wisdom to a frustrated friend.

To capture the fierceness that Jade possesses on the track in her style outside of the athletic arena, incorporating her story into her looks was key.


Jade’s eyes are framed by a striking mixture of gold, silver and natural metallic hues to add warmth and intensity to her gaze. For a pop of color and fun to match her bright personality, a dab of pink eye shadow was added at the corner of each eye. To finish off the look, she sports a strong cat-eye courtesy of a black liquid eyeliner, thick and flirty lashes courtesy of a true black mascara and a rich brown pencil eyeliner to line her water line. The result is a set of eyes as powerful as the woman to which they belong.


Animalistic pieces add a level of edginess to Jade’s look and simultaneously channel the superstar’s fierce competitive drive on the track.


To represent Jade’s “no pain, no gain” attitude, she sports a pair of Timberland boots and a button-down jean shirt. The kicks, which have traditionally been marketed as men’s work boots, look powerful and feminine on their wearer. The jean top also supports that “tough girl” look that Jade pulls off so well.


Although Jade is both fierce and powerful on the track, she manages to stay strikingly poised as she floats over hurdles and around the track. A simple black dress and beige strap channel her seemingly effortless grace in competition.


To top off Jade’s look, she sports the student-athlete monogram jacket, awarded to Notre Dame varsity athletes who have performed exceptionally well in their respective sports. The jacket is just one testament to the great athletic accomplishments that Jade has made at the University thus far, and is a reminder to all that her allegiance both on and off of the track lies with the Fighting Irish.