Interview with a Fashionista: Jessica Quirk

My personal fashion journey, if we can call it that, continues as I learn how to choose the right clothes for me and to dress for success (read: feel comfortable) whether or not I leave my cave every day.

Recently I had a chance to interview Jessica Quirk, fashion blogger from What I Wore as well as author of the book, What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style. I’ve been following the younger, more fashionable Jessica’s blog since my closet and I had that, ahem, discussion.

I’m guessing that I’m a good 15 years older than Jessica, but she graciously agreed to give this old fogey Jessica some great tips that I get to share with you today.

Me: Jessica, thanks so much for taking time to talk with us at Life as MOM! While you’re not yet a mom, you do know what it is to live a busy life and to dress with beauty and comfort in mind.

You’ve written a book about your adventures in everyday fashion. The subtitle reads: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style. Some of us might think that this must be a really BIG closet. Is this true? Do we need a lot of clothes to have variety and fun in what we wear?

JQ: I actually like to keep each season’s closet well edited and relatively small. Things that don’t fit or feel like they reflect my personal taste at the moment are either in storage or donated to a local charity. With your closet, it’s not about how many pieces you have, it’s about how they work together. In the book I describe working with color palettes that interchange well to get the most possible use out of everything you have!

Me: Many moms, particularly those who work/stay at home, find themselves in the fashion doldrums. What do you recommend for putting the wind back in one’s sails? Are there certain things that we can do to jumpstart our wardrobes?

JQ: Although I work from a studio space – I can absolutely relate. When you don’t have a face to face meeting or date planned it feels like why bother? I think it’s important for women who work/play mostly at home to remember that you can be both comfortable and stylish at the same time. Sure, you’re not going to be in 4″ heels chasing after a toddler or on a video conference call, but pulling together an outfit can really change your state of mind.

We all deserve to look and feel our best and I love the transformative power of clothing. A quick and inexpensive way to jump start your closet is to inject a little color. Red denim is hot this season and looks so sharp with stripes, navy, black, animal prints – you name it! I also like to put on some red or pink lipstick when I feel like an outfit could use a little kick. Or a fun tee shirt in a trend forward color layered under your favorite cardigan or jacket works well too!

Me: Do you have any recommendations for some basic pieces to build a core wardrobe from?

JQ: It’s going to vary from woman to woman, and job to job, but I like to start with a great skirt, pair of pants and jacket in a core color like black, gray, brown or navy. If you’re spending your day at home, it might be a pair of dark denim, an olive cargo jacket and a fab tote bag for errands.

Not all of us can afford expensive clothing. You yourself know the Target racks well. What are your recommendations for building a beautiful wardrobe on a limited budget?

There’s nothing more satisfying to me than finding something that’s value priced but looks expensive. Speaking of Target – I love their designer collaborations for a high end look. I also really love off price shopping, at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They will often carry the same pieces as the department store, but negotiate lower prices.

Me: I remember years ago hearing about finding one’s colors and following a certain color palette. Does this hold weight for you? Is it true that I really shouldn’t wear black? (It makes me look skinnier!)

JQ: I’ve read about that too!! I think you should wear what looks great against your skin tone. Some colors do work better on certain hair/skin combinations than others. If you look fresher and brighter when you try something on, it’s working!! If it makes you look tired or sick, skip it!

I loved hearing Jessica’s answers to my questions. Not only do they confirm a lot of things that I already knew, but they also give me some confidence to go try something new and different. I haven’t read Jessica’s book — yet — but it’s on my list of books to check out.

Where are you in the whole fashion journey?

Are you comfortable with the clothes you own or are you looking to build a better wardrobe?

All photos are credited to What I Wore.

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Comments

  1. This came at an auspicious time; just last night, I started to look for some clothes to replace my worn out wardrobe. As a plus size person, I have emphasized black because of the slimming effect. However, to be honest, black makes me look very washed out as I am extremely pale, with brown hair and eyes. I think my new core color will be navy, which is less harsh. Brown would work also, but navy is seasonless, so a more frugal choice.

    • But try the brown too–if it makes you look fabulous, I don’t think it would matter what season it was! I’ve got brown hair and eyes and fair skin too, and I used to like navy because it wasn’t attention-getting. But brown goes so much better with my hair and eyes–my skin doesn’t look quite so pale. Just a thought!

  2. I have started a fashion journey too but still don’t really have any idea where to start. I did get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t look good on me or didn’t fit right but that leaves me with my running clothes and a couple of pairs of jeans it seems. I need to start finding things that are timeless and work well!

  3. I’m not sure where I am on my fashion journey.

    Part of me wants to be woman dressed in medium dressy classic clothes on a daily basis (like Rachel at http://smallnotebook.org/) but I’m not sure that’s me right now. Or ever. The other part of me wants to live in jeans, sweaters, and boots all the time and call it a day. :) I also used to fantasize about having a small perfect wardrobe of high quality (expensive, if necessary) clothes. But that’s not me either. While I will spend up for certain items I’m a Kohl’s girl. I’m very fickle with my clothes and buying different items isn’t going to change that. It’s a self consciousness thing I’m not sure will ever go away.

    So today I’m wearing jeans, an ON sweater and rain shoes. :)

  4. This is inspiring me to hit Target and TJ Maxx soon! And maybe if I’m feeling really fancy, the Gap. ;)

    xo
    cortnie

  5. I use thrift and consignment stores supplemented by an occasional piece from the department store or discount stores like TJMaxx. This year I’m rocking 2 long sweater skirts that I pair with a ruffled cardigan as well as a black sweater dress and a teal sweater dress that I pair with leggings and I can layer my cardigan if I get cold. With all due respect to Target I’ve found their clothing is not made very well and I prefer my clothing to last more than one season.

    I’m not a totally trendy shopper though. I tend to have my own bohemian style. I could really use help with accessorizing though. After years of not wearing earrings and necklaces because of toddlers I’m ready to put those grown up details back into my wardrobe. Unfortunately since I haven’t worn them for so long and because my body has changed after 5 kids it feels awkward to wear what I used to wear.

  6. Very nice post! In my opinion, cuts that enhance one’s physique work the best, they might not always be the latest trends though. Simple, elegant, comfortable, classic cuts are my style. One thing that most people don’t give importance to is exercise. Exercise makes one look many many years younger, boosts confidence, adds a glow to the face and a great body is what makes the clothes shine. You might be wearing a $2 Target tank, but you will get compliments. This is all my experience. By a great body, I mean a confident, glowing and fit personality. That way, even kitten heels look better than stilettoes, no kidding. I exercise everyday and eat well, take multivitamin supplements and fish oil. I give 15 mins a day to meditate to increase mental calm. And lastly, how you carry what you wear is what makes all the difference.

  7. I’m glad you’ve added fashion/clothing to your list of blogging items – mostly because there are times when I feel totally out of it when I read various fashion blogs. I might like the looks that I see, but the reality is that it’s never going to be me. I’m trying to find a nice balance between not looking like a frump who hasn’t purchased pants in 15 years, staying warm (now that winter has arrived), and yet feeling like I can hold my own when I go out. I want to be comfortable and classic, able to do what needs to be done without feeling like frump girl while I’m doing it. When I find that magic balance, I’ll let you know. {sigh}

  8. Oh, how fun to see Jessica here today! As a half-time stay-at-home mom who wears too much black (chic, easy, slimming) I have enjoyed Jessica’s fresh perspective ever since I first discovered her blog this year.

    It’s just delightful to see two of my favorite bloggers in the same place–the same POST, even!

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