Jessica Quirk sometimes finds it difficult to explain what she does for a living. Her personal style blog, “What I Wore,” has not only become her full-time job but !a fashion sensation across the blogosphere.
“I take pictures of my outfits and post them on the Internet,” she said almost sheepishly over lunch at FARMbloomington. “There’s usually some level of people not understanding that my job is a viable career and not a hobby.”
Yet “What I Wore” actually began as a hobby. In 2007, while living in New York, Quirk came across a group of women who posted photos of their outfits every day on Flickr. Intrigued, she decided to join in. Then Quirk, who studied apparel merchandising at Indiana University, decided to turn her daily photos into a blog.
Today, “What I Wore” boasts 36,000 followers, has been featured in Lucky Magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, and to top it off, will be turned into a book, “What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Style.”
The book, published by Ballantine Trade Paperbacks (a division of Random House Publishing Group), is scheduled to be released this summer. Quirk wrote and illustrated the book, offering advice on shopping, on day-to-day dressing and on making the most of your wardrobe.
At 28, Quirk has plenty of experience in the fashion industry — from working on the Vera Bradley factory line in college to serving as personal assistant to fashion designer Betsy Johnson. After that, she spent four years as a fashion designer at an apparel company that focuses on private labels for mass retailers.
A native of Fort Wayne, Quirk recently moved to Bloomington with her husband, Adam, who’s originally from Evansville. The recently wed couple met in New York, but Quirk said they prefer life in Bloomington over Brooklyn.
“I love the charm of the Midwest people; they’re sincere, warm — this is really a special part of the world,” Quirk said.
I ponder the contradiction she creates: a fashion blogger suited to a lifestyle of playing Scrabble by the fire (she fancies herself as an above-average player) with her husband, versus schmoozing at industry events at the hottest new bar in Manhattan. But in fact, her New Year’s resolution was to act more like a grandmother.
“They never complain, they care for other people, and their attitude can lift the mood of a room,” she said.
When I asked Quirk what makes her happy, she listed sunny days, her husband, her cat, and finding a great vintage piece such as her favorite leopard coat from the ’60s — which came up multiple times during our conversation.
Quirk is planted firmly in the “look good, feel good” camp. She recognizes that clothing and fashion can be vain pursuits but also defends the value of creating self-esteem through appearance.
“If you can wake up in the morning, get dressed, and feel like a million bucks, you’re going to have a better day,” she said.
What to Wear (Style advice by Jessica Quirk):
- “If you’re going to spend money on investment items, look for a quality winter coat and boots, jeans and a cocktail dress.”
- If you’re on a limited budget, look for inexpensive but colorful pieces. “A new piece can refresh an old closet. I love colored tights for this very reason.”
- What’s hot for spring? Who cares? Quirk thinks your efforts are better spent trying classic things in a new way. “Fashion is cyclical — don’t throw too much away, and keep the things you love.”
- One last word of advice? “Don’t let your clothes walk in the room before you.”