Jessica McConnell

Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on December 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Since I never expressly said, I ended up not taking the job at Saks Fifth Avenue…I decided, a commission only job was not what I had in mind when I said I’d try and find a “full-time” job. So instead, I’m back to working at my two jobs, thank God they loved me enough to take me back with my same hours and schedule. In the meantime, I’m working with a designer to help get her line of specialty bridal headpieces and veils, as well as trendy headbands, off to a good start. I’m looking forward to fashion shows and trade shows, where hopefully, she sells lots of merchandise!

Anyway, funny thing today…I’m at the consignment store, working of course, and despite the many unusual people who walk in and out, not including the junkies and drunks, I was most appalled today at a mispronunciation that left my jaw permanently glued to the floor. This woman walks in with 2 girls in tow. They perused every rack, the one with the blonde wig and missing tooth making my boss extremely nervous. One of the girls clearly hadn’t showered for days, her stench permeating everything she touched, including my precious designer clothing. As she picked up a pair of Antik denim jeans, I cringed. She later scoffed at the  price. She clearly needed new jeans though, because the ones she was wearing bared so much ass that you would’ve thought she was a celebrity gone bad in a tabloid. Unfortunately, this was no Britney Spears.

Her friend, who smelled much more pleasant, came up to the counter and asked me to see a backpack. So I pulled down the black nylon Prada and handed it to her. She turned to her platinum haired companion and asked, “What’s P-ur-aye-da?” I stopped all thought processes and just stared as the response was, “I think it’s designer, ain’t it?” She says this to me as if this is something normal that everyone asks. All I could manage to say was, “Prada.” I pronounced it properly and attempted to unhinge my jaw from the floor.

My job puts “being fabulous and broke” in true perspective for me and constantly tests my patience. If nothing else, it keeps things interesting and drama infused for sure.


Just a Little Thought…

In Diary, fashion on October 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm


This past year I’ve been interested in Marilyn Monroe: not so much as an actress but the idea of her and what it actually meant to be her.

I remembered a quote tonight from Miss Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel that not only conjured up the image of Marilyn herself, but evoked many other things about our society and how fashion truly makes any girl or woman feel beautiful.

So enjoy it, because I can’t think of any other quote that sums up my views of these two women or how women today should feel. Not just because of fashion but because of themselves….

“A girl should be two things: Classy and Fabulous” – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel holiday--large-msg-123613316757

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on September 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

My quest for a new job literally caused me to have writer’s block. On top of that, I gained a cat…

My days as a shop girl, splitting my time between two different stores, one high end, one consignment, haven’t quite ended yet though. I write to you now, as an officially hired Saks Fifth Avenue girl…based out of shoes and handbags, of course. My search for a full-time position while I continue to finish my degree/decide what I want to be when I grow up has ended in a job that most people my age in the retail sector would kill for. Despite the daunting interview process and criminal background checks, I’m elated. SAKS FIFTH AVENUE!

There is, however, one drawback: Business Attire.

What does that mean? I did not sign on for an office job where cookie cutter black suits and standard computer job pumps were a part of my daily selling routine. So, I suppose I need a new wardrobe. I didn’t sign on for that either…at least not for one that I plan to change out of immediately after my last client leaves.

We’re not required to purchase clothing from Saks, leaving only business-like apparel to be the most appropriate option, I suppose.

Interview outfits, cover letters, resumes and job hunting have pretty much left me exhausted and at a loss for words. A full-time job (that I actually like) with benefits is difficult to come by these days and I was prepared to take what I could get it. I’m so lucky and thankful it was Saks…and to top it off, shoes and handbags. But it got me thinking, I had the resume and experience but with so many people to compete with, is all of the extra stuff necessary?

For each interview, I made absolutely certain that my resume was polished and presented in the most perfect way. My cover letters were thought out but creative, and my outfits were professional. I was in need of a job but in order to set myself apart, I realized I should save the skimping for later.

As I said before, I lucked out. And despite the business attire dress code, I am able to skimp now. A few, essential key pieces are necessary in order to start the job right but with a conservative dress code, I am able to mix and match those particular basics to create a classic look. While I noticed other employee’s frumpy trouser looks, I realized that I can manage the professional look with a few great jackets, white button downs, and an amazing pair of black pants.

I learned that a simple suit is always right and you can never go wrong. Don’t go for trendy, you’ll look over done and employers may only get one shot at finding the right employee. They want to know your creative AND professional. So go with the suit and kill them with an innovative cover letter and interview. It worked for me.

I work at Saks Fifth Avenue, frumpy is not a part of my vocabulary, in fact, I’m scratching it out of my Webster’s as we speak.

(A friend once told me you can never go wrong with a suit. He helped me get through my magazine internship interview, which I got, by the way. I was wearing a suit…he prepared me in every possible way, down to the presentation of my portfolio. I took all his advice and used it to get this job. So here’s to you, Christopher, even though you’re gone you’re still a part of my ‘every day.’)

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on August 6, 2009 at 10:34 am


If I haven’t told you already, I also work at a women’s consignment store on top of the boutique I work at regularly. I’ve been working there for about a year now and I swear, I’ve had some of the strangest encounters with people there than I’ve had in my real life.

A public transportation stop, aka bus stop, is directly outside our door, making us like a fly stuck on one of those sticky traps. Sometimes when I arrive in the morning, ‘they’ are waiting outside our door. The worst though, is when they tell you they were supposed to be at the grocery store across the street because they have no food but instead, they’re buying some unnecessary piece of jewelry. Hey, it’s not my fault if their 3 kids starve, right? From the wealthy to the welfare, to the crack addicts and wives of Jewish Rabi’s, the consignment store spares no one. And lucky for us- we cater to everyone. Including yesterday, when a collection of clothing we were going through was deemed, “A slut’s wardrobe.”

Covered in rhinestones and glitter, hankerchief tops, low-cut lingerie style tanks, the list goes on. She even had some witty t-shirts about boys. Shocking. I find out that this woman, who only wore slut-gear, married an uber rich man from Fox Chapel. So, because the ladies at the country club would never dare allow her to play golf in an Apple Bottoms halter, she brought them to us. How nice of her…

We sifted through slut clothes, pitching most of them, and realizing that yes, some of these things would sell in a heartbeat. There are others like her, presenting themselves as a hooker in order to snag any rich, idiotic man who only thinks with his eyes.

Note: The clothing described in this story should never be worn, at least not on a real date, and Halloween being the exception.

“Barely Legal”

In Diary, fashion, Uncategorized on July 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

My friend living in Brooklyn sent me a text message today that read: “A 45 year old woman just came into H&M wearing a ‘Barely Legal’ sparkle tee. I thought you would appreciate!…And she was with her two daughters.”

Intrigue. It made me think.

The H&M in Herald Square is unbelievably touristy, not to mention how irritating it must be to have to need a SWAT team of employees to clean up the fitting rooms. Even still, if the woman was a tourist, it doesn’t make it acceptable either way. But t-shirts  adorned with rhinestones and glitter, outlining clever adjectives like, “Spoiled,” “Princess,” or even “Sexy,” say something about one’s self. And not just these, but my friends story of the day made me realize that we all own t-shirts we once purchased for a reason with clever or not-so-clever antecdotes. At one time they were a serious must-have, a prized possession perhaps. Now, however, their lack luster qualities and lame meaning behind their cute sayings sit in your bottom drawer taking up space. A memory from the beach or a trip to Vegas with the girls, (Thank God it was a t-shirt and not one of those matching group tattoos) clearly you’ve literally got a fashion “statement” on your hands and ultimately, your choices do say something about you.

For tees purchased at Rue 21, please put them in garbage bag immediately and don’t look back. Anything else, I suggest doing a double take. If glitter and rhinestones are involved, add them to the bag too. But if we’re talking about a “Team Paris” or Marilyn Monroe quote t-shirt, think about revamping them. Tees like that define your fashion personality and you should wear them for fun under a little blazer or with your boyfriend jeans. Absolutely change the neckline, add some embroidery and layer them up. You don’t have to give away your memories but you can definitely make them better, especially if you don’t remember much of that Vegas trip where you purchased $300 worth of Playboy tees. Ugh.

If you don’t own any of the above, lucky you. And if you feel out of the loop, below are a few places you can get your own and support a good cause. Not only will you look good but you won’t get flashbacks of you and your friends on the bar in Miami when you wear it. Instead, you can show your support for a cause that’s worth filling up a drawer full of t-shirts.

Visit for more information.

Visit for more information.


Visit for more information.

Visit for more information.


Visit and check out the Darfur Store.

Visit and check out the Darfur Store.

My Grandfather’s Advice on Fashion

In Diary, fashion on July 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I recently came home to visit with my grandparents, who I’m extremely close with. While I often turn their world upside down and cause my grandfather to worry uncontrollably, they accept me for who I am and typically keep their opinions to themselves. However, they are proud of me, whether they understand fashion or not.

On our drive back from Cracker Barrel, their favorite place, my grandfather attempted to humor me with fashion related advice as bluegrass played on their crisp white Jetta’s stereo. In order to paint the proper picture, y0u must know that his most notoriously known outfit is a pair of Levi’s with a tucked in Harley Davidson t-shirt.

After asking what I blog ab0utand me answering with “fashion,” he says to me, “Do you talk about those sack dresses and old-fashioned tennis shoes, you know they’re comin’ back in style. I saw em’, they were in the new JC Penney catalog we got in the mail. And those jeweled bands for your hair too.”

Bloody Hell.

It’s times like those that I actually wished he would’ve blasted the blue grass so that I didn’t have to hear my grandmother  chime in from the back seat, “I thought those were called muu-muus!” It was too much to ask I guess, so I shuddered and put my head down. I was living in deplorable fashion conditions where inspiration was being derived from a JC Penney catalog.

Simon Van Booy’s “Raising a Princess Single-Handedly”

In Diary, Uncategorized on June 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm
Photo taken by Ken Browar.

Photo taken by Ken Browar.


I have just read Simon Van Booy’s article, “Raising a Princess Single-Handedly.” My eyes were brimming with tears as I finished the last paragraph, not because I was disheartened but because the reminder of  how my own father is the polar opposite  made me echo every memory of my plagued childhood.

Mr. Booy, the author of Love Begins in Winter, is a gifted storyteller and reminds us that however dysfunctional for a moment or time your life may be, from a distance laughter will prevail.

So despite my father’s swift disappearances into bars and facades of fatherhood, I will laugh at the moments in between despair rather than acknowledge what isn’t there.

As a child who once received a baby turkey as an Easter present, only for it to die days later because it was left outside and froze to death, I can appreciate a little laughter years later amidst all the sadness.

Please read Simon Van Booy’s “Raising a Princess Single-Handedly” at under Fashion & Style. And visit for more information on his novels and himself.

Jenesis Magazine

In Diary, Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Obviously I have problems with coffee consumption, tonight is no exception. It’s after 11 p.m. and I’m on my first cup of coffee. Not for the day of course…for the night.

I’m working on brainstorming for an on-line urban oriented magazine called Jenesis, check it out at The owners, creators and team of writers are all based out of Pittsburgh and have thus far done amazing things for their target market. They’re looking to take the on-line publication to a new place and hopefully I can help implement a new ‘lifestyle’ section, obviously adding some fashion in there. I’ve been researching…which takes forever. I need a better feel for men’s wear, I need more ideas for what kind of fashion people want to read about in Pittsburgh. I’ve been listening to hip-hop, trying to get inspired? I love Mos Def…

Tonight is classic ‘me,’ drinking coffee when I shouldn’t be.  Hopefully Jenesis can handle my coffee drinking mantra.

Until then, check out and I’ll update you more on my fashion contributions to the magazine.

Doing Your Laundry is Chic, Trust Me

In Diary, fashion on June 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm

When you live in a studio apartment and are afforded the luxury of a small walk-in closet, even if it doesn’t hold that much, you should never treat it like I do. I covet fashion, and therefore still have three other dressers, plus places for shoes all packed into my tiny hole of a living space. I vow to do my laundry more often but somehow, I end up opening my closet door each morning to a stack of dirty laundry that stands up to my waist. In between doing life things, getting my life together, and dealing with the people who cause drama in my life that it needs putting back together, why would laundry be a priority?

Today, I did the same thing I usually do. I opened up my closet door as linen skirts and boyfriend jeans tumbled onto my feet and I sifted through the massive pile of my spring/summer wardrobe. It’s never really ‘ok’ to wear clothes that smell like old socks to work or anywhere for that matter but I was too desperate.

Because of my lack of laundry doing, I was also forced to wear clothes that I never would have put together out that evening. Ugh. Not doing my laundry does usually cause me to look at other things in my wardrobe, things I thought I hated, were out of season, etc. and honestly, sometimes it’s a nice change of pace.  But in last night’s case, I ended up wanting to look chicer than words and in reality, I ended up looking like I was ‘trying’ to be chic and it failed miserably, ending with me being a drunk mess standing near Heinz Ward at the bar wearing a skirt my grandmother might own.

Moral of the Story: Do your laundry. You never know when NFL players will be standing near you.

Lend Your Closet to a Friend

In Diary, fashion, Uncategorized on June 2, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I recently went home this weekend, ‘home’ as in where my family lives, for a graduation party. I have a small circle of best friends, ones who remind you of Sex and the City, the Women, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, you get the picture and I’m sure most of you can relate. My friend had graduated from Boston University…I came home, not because I needed to be there, but because she’s my best friend, because no matter how far apart we’ve been, when we see each other it’s as if time stood still and held us all in a bubble to preserve our youth while the world rushed by.

I grew up in a small town and I came to the conclusion that no matter how far I go or how many places I see, my mind was more at ease around the camp fire with the people who matter the most in my life. My friends are my family because after years of putting up with one another, there isn’t one single event that could tear us apart…for too long anyway.

Gina is flamboyantly eccentric, an artist at the very least. Sarah rambles beyond reason but does have a point…she’s also smart, although an art history major during a recession wasn’t her most intelligent idea. And Emily, well let’s just say she’s her mom all over again, but it makes perfect sense. She’ll attend grad school soon and get the hell out of that small town we all seem to miss and hate simultaneously.

During a time when most of us have taken a hiatus from spending, whether it be eating out, shopping, or simply cutting back on morning lattes and muffins, the majority of us are still feeling cautious and therefore, have cut back in at least one area of our budget. In times like these, its nice to know that despite everything, you’ll always have that tight knit group of girls you can call on, even if it is to commiserate about not being able to stock your wardrobe this summer. Your girlfriends get ‘you,’  so even if you seem silly or selfish, you know that at the end of the day they’ll let you borrow whatever you need from their closet in order to get you through it.  The recession may tighten our funds and we may miss out on things as they come and go, but our friends are here for the long run and I’m looking forward to making my own fun, even if it means lending out my closet….