In 2014, Lanphear took the fashion industry by surprise when she was appointed editor-in-chief of men’s magazine Maxim. However, it was announced later in 2015 that Lanphear would be stepping down after a little over a year in the role. In a joint statement with Maxim's publisher, Kevin Martinez, Lanphear said she was proud of everything her staff had achieved under her short editorship and of "how far the magazine has come in the past year." In October 2017, it was announced Lanphear would be taking the helm of the American edition of Marie Claire, succeeding Nina Garcia , who replaced Robbie Myers at Elle.
Former style director of Elle and T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Lanphear signalled a serious change of direction for the "lad’s mag." Bringing a new style, sophistication and modern relevance to the magazine, she replaced bikini shots with close up, candid portraits.
“It’s a challenge for any magazine to evolve in turn and stay relevant,” Lanphear told BoF. “With unprecedented access to information and more options than ever before, men are looking for sources they trust to help them navigate the changing landscape, and [one] that will help him curate a myriad of things he’s passionate about.”
Born in the rural, conservative American South, far away from a cosmopolitan New York where she is now based, Lanphear harboured an early interest in fashion and styling through magazines. After earning a degree in journalism, she moved to London. From there, Lanphear relocated to Sydney and eventually landed at Australian Vogue and then Harper’s Bazaar, where she became a "jack of all trades" at the then-fledgling publications.
After moving back to the United States, Lanphear worked at Harper’s Bazaar before becoming senior fashion editor at Elle magazine, which under her direction introduced a moodier, edgier aesthetic. In early 2013, she was named style director of The New York Times’ T magazine.
In 2016, Lanphear lead a Google-run project during New York Fashion Week which allowed users to search trends and buy direct from the runway with participating designers.