While I am enthusiastic and love every interview that I do, I freaked out when I had the opportunity to interview the one and only Jessica Quirk of the blog What I Wore. While there are several blogs that I’ve been following for a long time, Jessica’s is the very first blog that I ever read. I’ve found that most of what compels me to continue the adventures of What I Wore after all of these years is that not only do I admire Jessica’s sense of style, but I also find her extremely relatable and easy to get to know. She’s always working on something new and in honor of her new book and the launch of my new site, I bring you this lovely interview.
1. As a college student at Indiana University, studying Apparel Merchandising, Marketing, and Costume Construction Technology, did you ever envision the empire that you have created? What was your original idea for WIW and how has it stayed the same or morphed over the years? When did it hit you that you were a “professional blogger”?
Ha! I don’t know if I would call What I Wore an empire, but I do consider myself extremely lucky to have such a fun job! The concept of taking a daily style photo was something I did as a part of the flickr group “wardrobe_remix.” It should be noted that I’m absolutely NOT the first woman (or man!) who’s had the idea to document an outfit a day. After being a part of the diverse and positive group for about a year (and having my own personal blog at the time) I decided that my outfit photos should have their own home and that’s how the WIW blog was started. In many ways, it’s remained the same. I still use the same format for my posts (when, what, where and why) and I still attempt to post 5 days a week. What will always change, however, is me! I was a 24 year old single girl when I started the blog and my budget, taste and lifestyle have changed so much since then! I still have many of my favorite pieces of clothing in my closet, I’m just wearing them in different ways.
2. How would you define your personal style? Where do you find inspiration (both in fashion and in life)?
I like to tell people that I’m equal parts a jeans-and-tee loving gal as I am a ladylike woman who wears vintage dresses. I’m usually inspired by an era of the past. This season, I’m very much into the 1970s. Film from that time period is a big influence – movies like Annie Hall, Network and Bonnie and Clyde have such amazing styling.
3. What are some of your all-time favorite outfits, as seen on What I Wore? What are some of your go-to outfits? What makes you feel great?
I can’t pick just one! What makes a favorite for me is when I push myself a little, when I love the outfit and when my readers support it too. A little compliment goes a long way! As far as go-to outfits, it all depends on what time of year and what occasion. For a fall weekend, I’d probably go for a great pair of high-waisted jeans and a cotton gingham blouse (tucked in) with boots, a belt and great bag. I love an olive colored jacket for a casual look. I probably have a dozen variations of that look, which I love. It’s not always photo worthy, but I always feel put together and comfortable in that type of outfit.
4. How would you say your style has evolved/morphed since you started WIW? Do you feel that your environment (living in Indiana, Brooklyn and then in Indiana) and/or single/married has had any effect on how you dress?
Absolutely! As you’ve noted, so many things have changed in my life over the past four and a half years (I count when I started taking daily photos). I’m definitely don’t feel old, nor do I feel that I dress old, but I am indeed an older woman. I feel like I’m finally honing in on what I love, what investments I can afford and what makes me feel best about myself. When I was younger I’d buy any cheap polyester dress I could get my hands on, the brighter the better. These days I’m just more relaxed.
5. What are some of your least favorite trends, and what are some of your favorite trends?
One thing I hate is when something that I consider a classic becomes trendy and subsequently becomes “out”. Classics are never out!! As far as actual trends, I could never see myself wearing harem pants. I like leg lengthening looks and a dropped crotch doesn’t get you there! Ick!
6. Which fashion-related items are on your dream list?
I’ve been able to check off a lot of “must haves” in my closet, but I still have classics I hope I can afford one day… a black Donna Karan cashmere turtleneck has always been on my list, for example.
7. I love your catchy blog post names! How do you come up with them? What is your process for writing a post?
It’s really all off the top of my head. I think the more I can relate that I’m a real girl and the more I can share about my life, the better. I like to think that What I Wore isn’t the most trendy, off the runway blog, but something that women can read and get inspired by.
8. What have been some of your biggest challenges and successes with What I Wore? What have been your favorite aspects of working on WIW?
I think my biggest success was the opportunity to write and publish a book that I really believe in. The positive feedback I’ve received is so validating and heartwarming. It’s really all about how I can connect with other like minded women and share the look good, feel good attitude. I love that! I have the same challenges with my job that anyone might have – looming deadlines, dealing with clients, and staying on top of all my work! My favorite part of What I Wore is getting dressed each day and editing my photos. I’m so lucky to have such a great husband who puts up with taking my pictures (and he IS a pretty great photographer too!)
9. You use this fabulous quote from your blog, “When it comes down to it, what you think about yourself and how you feel about yourself – well, that’s the most important thing. When you fill yourself up and are at your best, you’re able to be better with your work, with the way you treat others, with everything!” You seem like a very positive and vibrant person, how do you do it?
Being positive everyday is something you have to work on! I know how I feel when the glass is half full and it’s just a better way to go through life. It also helps to surround yourself with uplifting and goal oriented people. Like attracts like!
10. When you’re not working on one of your many projects, what do you enjoy doing?
Almost everything I enjoy ties back to the blog one way or another, like sketching, sewing or crocheting. On the flip side – I love being outdoors. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon.
11. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I’m so curious, what were you like as a teenager?
I’ve always been a clothes horse. My dad jokes that I would change before dinner when I was a young girl and when I was in high school I wrote down what I wore everyday for my junior and senior years. I also loved school and loved being active. I was a varsity cross country and track runner for all 4 years of high school and was really involved in DECA (which is a national marketing club)… not to mention about 10 other clubs. I think I was listed in my senior yearbook on 21 different pages.
12. After having left Brooklyn, what do you miss most?
I miss the food, the architecture and most of all – my friends.
13. Is there such a thing as a “typical” day for you? If so, what is a day in the life of Jessica Quirk like?
I like a little routine in life! My goal day is something like this – dressed and out the door by 9, outfit photos by 9:30, writing and editing a post by 11, lunch break from 12-1 and then the rest of the afternoon catching up on everything else. I do think I have a pretty good home/work balance and try to shut down my computer by 6pm.
14. How did the WIW book come to be? What was the process like for you? And what have you found most rewarding/challenging/exciting about the experience?
Writing a book has always been on my list of goals and how it all came to be was a series of serendipitous events and a lot of hard work!
15. What other projects do you envision in your future (either relate to WIW or otherwise)?
I’m really not sure! As much as I love running What I Wore, I’m definitely looking for new and bigger challenges in the future.