Occupation: Full-time Personal Style and Fashion Blogger
Job She Quit: Fashion Designer
Jessica Quirk started her influential personal style blog “What I Wore” back in 2008 and soon after helped turn the full-time fashion blogger dream job into a reality when she quit her designer job in 2009 to go pro. Since then, Jessica has partnered with numerous brands including Seventh Generation, Old Navy and Rockport as her media empire has expanded its scope to tackle motherhood, health and other issues far beyond daily style advice.
Trendy Toddler: “My parents say I used to have to change into a new dress for dinner when I was a toddler. I was really interested in getting dressed and watching what my mom was wearing. I thought my mom was glamorous, but she was just a stay-at-home mom. So I would try and copy what she was doing. And she learned to sew from her grandmother, and so I’ve been sewing for about 25 years, since I was eight years old.”
What I Wore: “I studied fashion design and costume design at Indiana University and I graduated in 2005. I moved to New York City and I had a job in the fashion industry. I travelled a lot overseas to our office in Hong Kong so when we had breaks, it’d be in the middle of the night in the US. I got into this Flickr group called ‘Wardrobe Remix,’ who were a lot of people posting their daily outfits. So I posted a picture and I was like, ‘This is fun.’ Then I kept posting more. And my gallery of things was growing, and so I called my Flickr set, ‘What I Wore.’”
Street Selfie-Style: “I would take my little digital camera and set it on a park bench or a street light and I would put on my timer, and I would run out in front of it and pose, do 10 pictures, and then go back and do 10 more. And I would take maybe 80 pictures. And I could edit them so fast -- this was also before people would do a blog post of 15 pictures. It wasn’t high-quality photography by any means, but I was doing it all by myself.”
The Quit Decision: “There wasn’t so much of a thing as fashion bloggers. There were some people doing it, but it was all pretty much a hobby back then. So I reached out to a company where I had bought clothes from them. I suggested that they pay me X amount and I would spend Y. I’d be wearing their stuff and then I would link back to them. And they said, sure, let’s try it out. And it went really, really well. I hadn’t done it that long when I was like, ‘Shit, I’m making enough to pay my rent, and I’ve got all my clothes.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t even like my job anymore.’ And so I quit.”
The Day After: “I wore a black skirt and a tapestry jacket, and my husband shot my photos in front of my house in Fort Greene. And I was just really free. I felt so liberated to be making money and doing this. I’m not going to be one of those people telling you I make $100,000 a year because I don’t. It’s not close, nowhere near close. But I’m comfortable and I’m happy. And the balance of work and life, for me, is probably one of the greatest benefits.”
Back To Indiana: “People ask me all the time if I miss New York. And I miss my friends, and I miss the creative energy that is oozing out of every sidewalk and subway car. I mean, it’s just so vibrant in New York, but it’s also a college town here. So there are things happening, not at the same rate or scale, but there are a lot of cool, creative things happening here.”
Ditch The Comments: “Ever since I got rid of comments, I’m just so much happier. And I think I’m also getting to the point where I’m able to realize it’s not about me at all. And I think it takes a lot of time and personal ground to get there. And I’m still not a 100 percent there. And it’s not that I don’t care what people think because I’m a pleaser and I want people to like me, but I’m not going to go to the ends of the earth to make everyone happy.”
Squad Goals: “I don’t really want a TV show, I don’t want to be famous in the sense that I like my little life. I don’t want to change it that much. I’m happy that I can pay my bills and I have money to go on vacation. And I’m pretty much a stay-at-home mom. I mean, I hire a babysitter for 10 hours a week so I can edit my photos. But for the most part, I get to be at home with my son, which I think is the most amazing job.”
In This Together: “I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people. People I know, like my parents and my in-laws and my husband and friends. But I’ve also had a lot of support from people I don’t know, people who in the beginning would leave comments here and there, and then start emailing me. And I’ve made some of my greatest friends from reading their blogs or them reading mine.”
That’s Life: “I think life is much more rich than just your closet and what you put on. And it’s also in a lot of ways much more challenging than just all that stuff on the surface. So I feel like it’s a positive thing to talk about the messy parts of life and how I’m dealing with them. I don’t think people read my blog necessarily because they just want to see what I’m wearing. I think they read it because for the years that I’ve written, they’ve kind of established sort of a friendship or a relationship; they’re interested in life -- in my life. To be really honest, if no one read it, I probably wouldn’t be as interested in doing it. So knowing that people find a benefit in it or get some ideas or whatever it is, that also makes it worth doing."