Jennifer Shoop
Founder and Author, The Fashion Magpie

How did you start the Fashion Magpie? What drew you to sharing both thoughts on literature AND fashion together?

I started Magpie as a creative outlet while working as an editor and then a non-profit executive. It exercised completely different muscles than my 9-5. It has evolved over time to represent my whole self, including my interests in literature, fashion, parenting, the natural world, recipes. I often say that “a woman contains multitudes,” and the diversity of content on Magpie reflects that range.

Have You always considered yourself a fashion-oriented person?

Yes! Getting dressed feels like a gesture of respect and a mode of self-expression. It always makes me feel better equipped to tackle the day. In a different life, I had to give a lot of presentations and I had a speech coach who told me that when I was hitting the dais, I should wear “whatever I feel the most empowered in.” That stuck with me because I think that a great dress, or a great pair of shoes, can totally change my posture and outlook.

What felt important about sharing your favorite literature picks with your audience? Were you already sharing this information with friends and your network in another channel before the Fashion Magpie was born?

I have an advanced degree in literature and intended to pursue a career in academia, so I come by the practice earnestly: I am trained to talk books! I learned over time that I derived a lot of joy out of participating in casual book clubs with girlfriends, and sharing my readings in that more conversational way with my Magpie readers came naturally. By the way, my Magpie readers are the best-read women on the planet. If you need a book recommendation, check out their comments on my book posts!

What feedback and/or dialogue are you most surprised by or do you most enjoy when you share with your readers/audience?

Oh my gosh - my readers leave the most insightful, inquisitive comments on the entire internet. Of the many lessons I have learned in conversation with them, I have principally taken this away, in various permutations: Be compassionate with yourself.

Does the blog serve as a form of catharsis for you?

Oh yes. I write to know what I think. There have been many posts borne of vague sentiments or observations that crescendo into major breakthroughs for me – sometimes in the process of writing them and other times in the process of reading through responses to them.

Do you think people enjoy the longform content of your blog more than the shop-now kind of short-form posts that instagram and other social media formats have?

There is a space for everything, but a lot of my readers and I share a desire to slow down and enjoy a rich, reflective life. Longer form essays are a part of that quest.

What have been the topics you’ve been most passionate about speaking to of late on the blog?

Parenting is a big one – specifically the emotional whiplash of motherhood. It is so intense and you can go from wanting to weep with frustration to wanting to weep with happiness in about 1 second flat. I don’t have any great takeaways or advice on that one, but writing about it helps me remember to just let it all happen. Let it all wash over me. Feel everything.

How has motherhood intersected with these musings on your blog and on IG?

I’ve written more and more on motherhood as I’ve matured as a mother. It’s funny the way Magpie has evolved as my life has changed – the ballast of my writing has definitely shifted from year to year.

How do you try to advance candor in your writing; where do you think more candor is needed among women and parents?

I try to write as truthfully as I can. I think this is not only ethical but it makes for good reading from a mechanical and experiential standpoint. (Hemingway advised, “Write one true sentence.”) With parenthood, I think a big learning for me is that you do not need to have an “either/or” mentality but an “and and and” mentality in the sense that: “I can love being a mom AND I can be totally exhausted by it.” It’s not either/or – it’s and. I gravitate towards women and conversations that accept those inconsistencies and just let them hang out, awkwardly, together. Because that is the truth. Nothing in parenting is all the way bad or all the way good – there is hard stuff mixed in with the beautiful stuff and vice versa.

What have been some of motherhood’s greatest joys, as it pertains to self-discovery?

Sometimes I look at my children and it’s like holding a mirror to myself.  They parrot everything I do, and so seeing myself in their gestures is a mode of self-discovery of both the humbling and empowering sorts.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt prouder than when I watch my daughter nurture my son, crooning her voice and waiting patiently on him, because I know she is reflecting the care I’ve afforded her.  It’s beautiful to see that love paid forward.

Shop Jennifer's Look: Smocked Cotton Dress