It's hard to know that you love something (like, really love it) and reconcile the fact that your day job isn't directly or even indirectly related to that very special something. There's a lot of pressure to abandon a more predictable professional trajectory in pursuit of a career that reflects your individuality. (If you're a millennial, go ahead and multiply that pressure 25 fold). Despite popular opinion,
monetizing your gifts is not a requisite for honoring them. Your job doesn't have to be the main source of your personal fulfillment -- it's really not for a lot of people.
A great career empowers you to create opportunities to truly enjoy the people, interests, travels and creative pursuits that make you happy. Sometimes that looks like a more conventional job where you're not necessarily 'inspired' every second.
Each Saturday, I'll invite people to share how they exercise their creativity in a way that works with their lifestyle. I'm so excited to introduce Jessica Quirk as this week's Saturday Creative.
This former Fort Greene girl is the creator of "What I Wore," an internationally known fashion and style blog designed to showcase individuality through personal style. Before starting her blog, Jessica worked in the fashion industry for many years and obtained a degree in Apparel Merchandising. She didn't start publishing photos of her daily outfits until 2007, and slowly built her business and brand to what it is now.
I ask every contributor for The Saturday Creative how they find time to be creative:
Do what you love. Do what you love. Do what you love. Even if it's for three minutes of the day, do what you love!
Jessica also took the time to answer some questions about the power of person style, a power she works hard to harnesses every day in order to live her best life. These questions and answers are particularly important because, with everything going on in the world, it's incredibly easy to minimize something like an outfit choice. But as Brene Brown says so succinctly and beautifully, "No one can define what's meaningful for us."
What matters to you might seem superficial or unimportant to others, and that has absolutely nothing to do with how meaningful it is. Turning the volume up on who we are, and letting our unique selves show through our tone of voice, facial expressions, clothing selection, etc. is a wonderful path to authenticity, not superficiality. When we are our authentic selves, we effortless contribute more to the world, never less.
I love it when people take care in a distinct aspect of their external identity, and as the saying goes, fashion is instant language. I admire those women and men who are particularly fluent in translating their mood and individuality so immediately through their appearance - it's a beautiful art that you can't quite teach.
That didn't stop me from trying to learn a few things from the lovely Mrs. Quirk:
1. We'd all agree that when we look our best, we feel our best, but why do you think that is---what does dressing like 'ourselves' help us to discover?
It boils down to three main elements: comfort, preparation and good luck.
First, when we dress to please ourselves, to enhance our features and express our personalities, we feel more comfortable in our own skin. As much as clothing can elevate us, it can also be distracting when it doesn't make us feel great. I'm sure most women remember a time when they wore something either too big or too small, too long or two short. Comfort in this sense isn't just about the ease of a garment, it's about how it allows us to let our true personalities and talents shine.
Secondly, dressing well is about preparation. You wouldn't attempt to run a marathon in flip flops or ask for a loan at the bank in gym shorts. By preparing for the event at hand (like a job interview, a date, a family event), you're more able to focus on what you came to do in the first place.
Dressing well can also serve as a talisman - a good luck charm! When you associate a piece of clothing with a good memory, it can further your sense of confidence. For some people it might be a lucky tie, pair of socks, necklace or a pair of heels. No matter what the item is, when it brings you to a positive place in your mind, you're more likely to be your best self!
2. What is the one absolute staple for every woman's/man's closet?
Whatever you can wear for 75% or more of your daily activities. For some people, it might be a handbag or briefcase. For others, it's a pair of well fitting jeans. It's hard to find a one-size-fits-all item, because we all have such different daily lives! If it makes you feel comfortable, prepared and brings you good luck, then it's a staple for sure!
3. If you had to wear the same uniform for a month, something that someone else chose, what kind of impact would that have on your mood?
Personally, I might get a little sad towards the end of the month! I like to change things up in my personal wardrobe, but I also understand the benefit of having a go-to outfit when life is too busy to think about clothes. Getting dressed should be fun, not a chore, so if it's helpful to wear a similar look day after day - I say go for it.
4. Dressing well/like yourself is actually a pretty powerful thing, but what are the limits of dressing well---what is it that, no matter how good your outfit is, you're not going to be able to do?
I think this is kind of simple. There's no amount of beautiful clothes or money that can replace loving yourself for who you are, right now, in this moment. Being well dressed doesn't make you a better person, but if it makes you feel better about yourself and your self worth, it can be one (of many) steps in the right direction. Fashion shouldn't feel elitist and limited to the wealthy. Everyone deserves to get dressed in a way that makes him or herself feel their best.
Thank you so much to Jessica for sharing her inspiring work!
There are few things I love more than seeing the way people channel their own unique creativity -- do you have a creative way of cooking something, styling something, writing, painting, getting your kids to brush their teeth?...There are endless ways to be creative, and the world is unequivocally a better place when those gifts are shared. If you'd like to contribute to The Saturday Creative, I would be so so happy! AND you'd be making the world a better place (no pressure).