This post is part of an occasional series of interviews with fashion bloggers, vintage sellers and other creative people. Today, I'm chatting with Jen P of the lifestyle blog Fashionably Employed. Jen is a stylish professional, mom to two boys and coordinator of the Sophisticated Style group on Pinterest, showcasing inspired, work-appropriate fashions. She also shares recipe ideas, DIY projects, inspiration for personal and professional development — she's got it all! Read on to see what's inspiring Jen these days, which blogs she loves to read, and what advice she has for aspiring style bloggers.
What's inspiring you, style-wise, at the moment?
Lately, I’ve really been lusting over menswear-inspired attire. Loafers and oxfords, suit pants and minimalist color schemes are my jam. Maybe it’s the gray of winter influencing my black and gray monochromatic style preferences. I typically wear a lot of color, so this is a bit out of my wheelhouse.
In general, how do you pick out/plan your outfits? How much of it is spontaneous, and how much of it is planned in advance?
I plan nearly all of my work outfits in advance, at least the night before if not at the beginning of the week. With two little boys under three, we’ve got enough going on the morning that I just don’t have time to ponder my closet. Thus, the planning has become more of a necessity. These are also the outfits I share on my blog so I take more care in ensuring they meet my standards for sharing with my audience. Before kids and before my blog, I definitely picked out my outfit each morning in a more spontaneous manner.
With respect to casual clothes, I’m far more spontaneous. I rarely plan anything before I actually put it on to head out the door.
Any great style tips you want to share?
Stay comfortable. Whether it be the physical comfort of the clothes or the emotional comfort of feeling like yourself in your clothes, it’s obvious (and sometimes silly-looking) when style is forced.
What are your must-read style blogs at the moment?
I have loved Merrick’s Art for a while now. She’s totally cute and has great everyday style that’s real and relatable. I also love reading Vanessa Jackman’s blog. She’s a photographer who shoots models in their everyday attire around fashion week shows. I don’t wear the high-end brands and my personal style is far less “of the momemt” than many of her subjects. But I’ve found it to be a wonderful way to be aware of the current trends and look for ways to incorporate them into my personal style in a more everyday fashion.
How has your blog evolved from when you first started?
Oh man. So much has changed. When I first started my blog, it had a different name and a much more general focus. I hadn’t entirely decided the focus on my blog, but I knew I just wanted to start writing and learn the landscape. My current name, Fashionably Employed, is the third name I’ve used and one I finally love. Third time’s the charm I guess!
I’ve also spent considerable time studying the industry and learning how to better run the blog. I’m far from an expert but I’m worlds ahead of where I was on day one. I’ve done everything on my blog myself, so I’ve had to learn a bit of coding along the way to make things work the way I want them too. Building my blog has definitely been an exercise in learning that you can teach yourself anything on Google!
Do you view your blog as a business, a hobby, or somewhere between the two?
It’s a bit of both, I guess. I operate it and make decisions about content, direction, sponsorship and collaborations, etc.. like a business. I hope to continue to grow it and make it a fun, side hustle as it flourishes. However, my family and my career take precedence so it’s more of a hobby with respect to how I spend time working on it. I squeeze it in between my other “real” responsibilities and keep at it more for personal fulfillment than financial benefits.
What has surprised you about being a blogger? (Pleasant or otherwise!)
Good question! And so much! Blogging has exposed me to so many new things and given me new perspectives on nearly everything in life (as cliché as that might sound). Learning the industry and exploring other blogs or getting to know bloggers through the content that they share has really opened up my eyes to all the different types of people in the world. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always known not everyone was like me. But for most of us, we spend the majority of our lives being exposed to those who lead lives in or around our circles and environments. Consequently, many of those people have lives that look a lot like our own.
As I continue to find new areas of the blogosphere, I’ve seen so many people who lead lives amazingly different from my own. From being strongly devoted to a particular set of religious beliefs, living in places so different my home that it demands a different style of living (like bloggers who live in very rural areas relative to the downtown hustle and bustle or suburban white picket fence neighborhoods in which I’ve lived), and genuine Creatives and artists who make a living off of their creative genius (a far from cry from the likes of corporate suits, teachers, and other much more traditionally or formally employed people that surrounded me growing up).
I’ve also learned how much you really have control over your path and how many walks of life there are!
What are your goals for your blog looking forward?
I’d like to see continued growth of my audience and provide interesting, relevant content that keeps them loving the space. Honestly, though, I try not to set too many tangible or concrete goals. I set goals in other aspects of my life, but I’ve intentionally not set goals with respect to my blog because it takes a backseat to my family and career. I have never wanted to create goals, and consequently the feeling of obligation, around the blog that could be at the expense of my commitment to my family and work. The blog fits in when I make time for it from day to day. But I don’t want to create pressure for myself to attain predetermined milestones.
What advice would you give an aspiring style blogger based on your experiences?
Stay true to your personal style and your budget! Also, have a plan about what you’ll provide readers that is different than the gazillions of other style bloggers in cyberspace. What will be your unique angle that will attract readers to you over all the other options?
Even the most fiscally responsible style blogger can get caught up in the rush and desire to keep up with all the other style bloggers sporting new and expensive pieces day in and day out. There’s pressure for style bloggers to share new, unique outfits every day. Many bloggers achieve this standard by just buying something new to wear all the time. Although I can’t say for certain, I can only imagine what that does to their credit card debt or bank account. Without a plan to differentiate oneself, one will almost certainly fall victim to this trap.
Thanks so much to Jen for taking the time to share these thoughts and insights! I hope you will check out her blog and join in her linkups as well. You can read more of my interviews with fashion bloggers here:
Kristian Satterlee of Never Fully Dressed ...
Priya of Perfectly Priya
Joanna Go of CutAndChic Vintage
Elycia of Love Elycia