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The Origin Story of Jan Showers, One of the Most In-Demand Interior Designers in Dallas and Beyond

It's Been, In Her Words, a "Knock-On-Wood Life"

BY // 09.16.20

I hope you enjoy an origin story as much as I do. This might not be in the same vein as, say, The Rise of Skywalker, but in the case of this month’s Bomb girl, Jan Showers, I would call it equally epic. Most people know Jan as one of the most in-demand interior designers in Dallas and around the country. Others know her because of her devotion to Dallas charities and her presence at the most glittering events in town.

What no one knows is that Jan was the original “Bomb girl.” I saw this small shot of her in a bathing suit in the September 2016 issue of PaperCity and was fascinated. It was effortlessly glamorous, yet also a candid, tender moment between a mother and her daughter. I desperately wanted to know the story behind the picture. And it made me realize that many women in our pages have vintage photographs with fascinating stories behind them. Voilà, “She’s The Bomb” was born.

Jan grew up in Hillsboro, just south of Dallas-Fort Worth, with a soigné mother and a brilliant father who was one of the few doctors in town. She credits that small-town upbringing to her “very low threshold for BS — inordinately low,” she says. I think I fell a little more in love with Jan when she said that. No BS.

She began dating her husband, Jim — now a prominent attorney and partner in the firm Martin, Showers, Smith & McDonald — when they were both at Texas Christian University. She was the pretty blonde who showed up at school in a white convertible, which “attracted a ton of boys.” She says this with a natural, self-deprecating charm that makes me think of Cybill Shepherd’s gorgeous character Jacy from Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show. If there were a Jan biopic, what might it be called? Without skipping a beat, she says, “A Knock-on-Wood Life.

Interior Designer Jan Showers

Jan fell into designing by happenstance (she actually majored in business). Her first project was the Hillsboro home she and Jim moved into as newlyweds. It was the three-story Colonial she had always dreamed of living in one day. After the interiors were completed, she wanted new challenges. Soon, her timeless taste was noticed around Hillsboro and up in Dallas, and a career was launched. Today, her magazine credits alone place her on the Mount Olympus of designers: Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Veranda, House Beautiful, and more. Her books — Glamorous Rooms, Glamorous Retreats and, coming this fall, Glamorous Living — turn up on the most ellegant coffee tables. And, she has been named to Architectural Digest’s coveted AD100. It’s all so glam, yes, but like this photo, every Jan project also has a certain humanity and reflects her client’s personalities and lifestyle.

Add to all of this some major news: Jan Showers is the chairman of the first Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Dallas. This is a coup, as the only two other show houses take place in New York City and Palm Beach. The Dallas show house opening night is Thursday, September 24 (the show house is open for a month), and benefits Dwell with Dignity and The Crystal Charity Ball.

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Jan and Jim have two daughters, Elizabeth and Susanna (the one in the photo above). And three grandchildren. On the recent occasion of Jan’s 65th birthday, her daughters wrote out a list of the 65 reasons why they love their mother so much. Some are fun, such as No. 12: “You have the most amazing sense of style, and we get great perks from it!” I’m assuming that refers to the fabulous items they’ve acquired from Jan’s sprawling and inspiring wardrobe. However, the one that best summarizes Jan to me is No. 62: “You are grateful for your life and what you have.”

Approximate date of this photo.
Summer of 1974. I remember because Nixon resigned while we were watching television in our hotel.

The occasion.
We were in Maui, off the coast of Hana.

What were you wearing.
A swimsuit, but I have no idea who the designer was. I also have on a pukka shell necklace, which at that time was quite chic. Not so much by the late ’70s.

What price fashion.
During those years, I was into Halston and thought it was quite expensive. I loved his wonderful jersey dresses and their simplicity. He was quite proficient with draping and making a woman look chic and sexy.

Why is this a Bomb.com picture of you.
Well, it was the inspiration for “She’s The Bomb”! But also because it was a special time with my husband and daughter. And, of course, because Nixon resigned about two minutes after I toweled off.

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