True Stories: Heidi Cornell McKenna of Young, Fabulous & Broke

With spring in the air, we're revamping our wardrobes with California-style sunshine inspiring us. We spoke with Heidi Cornell McKenna, CEO of Young, Fabulous & Broke, the quintessential Los Angeles fashion brand beloved by Megan Fox, Sienna Miller, Blake Lively, Sophia Bush and Alessandra Ambrosio, to name a few.  

How did you get started in the fashion business and how has the industry changed since?

When I was younger, I loved fashion and shopping and started modeling right out of high school, which led to a job as a sales rep with Calvin Klein.  After almost a decade of working as a sales rep for various lines, I decided to start my own line in 2001, H. Starlet.  As H. Starlet, the line included jersey wide leg pants and a jersey hoodie to match, which eventually became the foundation for YFB.  We saw some success, but after about 3 years, I was considering shutting the business since the line had not really taken off.  To take my mind off of my business woes, I went out with some friends and one of the girls in the group told me I reminded her of, “one of those young, fabulous, broke girls”.  The following Monday, I changed the name of H. Starlet to Young Fabulous & Broke; almost immediately the line gained recognition.

What makes for a perfect fit? Which items in your closet do you turn to again and again?

Anything that is clean (…Just kidding)! The perfect fit is the one thing in your closet you want to wear all the time.  Right now, I find myself wearing jeans a lot with my favorite sneakers and a simple jersey top layered with my denim jacket or very broken in leather bomber. 

"If you feel good in what you are wearing, it shows."

- Heidi Cornell McKenna, CEO of Young, Fabulous & Broke


How would you describe your style? What inspires you to do the work you do? 

As a mom of 3 kids younger than 10, I love to be stylish without sacrificing comfort.  I tend to gravitate towards pieces made of soft jersey fabrics, cashmere blends or fleece, which is the foundation for Young Fabulous & Broke styles.  My love for clothes and making something that other women like me (mom, wife, business owner) would wear is what inspires me to do this.

What some of the mistakes people make when shopping for clothes? 

I think one major mistake people/women often make is they do not know how to define their own style and try too many trends at once.  Trends are okay to adopt, but when there are too many trends blended in one outfit, it can really work against you. 

What’s your style mantra this season? Which pieces/silhouettes are your must-haves right now? 

Not sure if I have a style mantra; I just like to wear what makes me feel good.  If you feel good in what you are wearing, it shows.