Anna Dello Russo advises “Invent Your Job.” How do you do that?

“Invent your job. Anything can be [possible] now.” Anna Dello Russo says on a Friday night at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Peroni USA had sent me over to the London Fashion Week and to kick it off I had the opportunity to listen to a talk with Anna Dello Russo. She is a big favorite of mine, with her outrageous outfits, her fabulous advice on how to dress for a Christmas Party, or what to wear on the Front Row. She is probably the most vocally positive about blogging than anyone else in the Fashion Elite. Bloggers have actually transformed her role from behind the scenes styling for Japan Vogue, to being the subject and muse of the digital world.

One of the things that stuck out aside from her silver bobble fascinator  and leather Fausto Puglisi dress was her approach to life and her career. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, “Faux paux is part of the process.” Keep pushing yourself, “Don't let it [your job] get old.” Which is why at 49, she's probably one of the freshest and most energetic faces in fashion today.


These days while everything seems so uncertain, it's hard to take the leap into figuring out where you want to go with your life. A career coach once advised me, “Don't apply for jobs, make your career.” It was a complete mind shift. What did that mean? How could I earn a living that way? But ever since I personally started following that advice, my life had transformed. Here's why… jobs are created because what you do adds value to the person or company you do them for. Whether it's mowing someone's front lawn or building interactive geolocated magazine iPad apps, or your outfit posts, what happens when you make someone's day easier, or you make someone money there is the possibility you can invent your own job.


I don't know ADR's process on how she invents her own job, but for me, starting out as a graphic designer, and then making the move into blogging, it wasn't a straight route. Back then, not many bloggers were earning a living, but it didn't stop me, and now I've been blogging full time for four years, it's amazing how even now it feels like the inventing is still very much in process. There are a few words of advice I can personally give:


  • Think big: There's an old saying, if you reach for the stars, you get to the top of the trees, if you reach for the top of the trees, you don't get off the ground. That couldn't be more true. When I started blogging, I literally wanted to become the one of the best bloggers in the world. While that didn't really happen, what did happen was I reached a level where we could really build a business. Now, it's still a process, but thinking big helps to get most of my projects off the ground, and more often than not, it always surprises me.
  • Work hard: Anna Dello Russo says she works every day. She loves what she does, but she also works every day. In the Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell, he notes that the truly successful geniuses don't get there by accident, that most everyone works much harder than anyone else. Everyone I know who is really good at what they do, are passionate enough to work hard.
  • It's about providing value: I can work all day, and get nothing valuable done. Yep, I can spend all day on twitter and nothing can come out of it. That doesn't mean you don't have to work hard, it just means there is a difference between working and getting things done. At the end of the day, clients and employers tend to look at the finished product (you wouldn't want to buy a half sewn dress, even if they spent as much time working on it as another dress that's finished). If you focus on how you're providing value, you'll be essential.
  • Have faith in yourself: When Anna Dello Russo started wearing the cherry hats, she said people just looked at her crazy. In response, she kept a positive attitude, giving a thumbs up and saying “That's right.” and a subtle wink. In order to create something special, you might get strange looks, you might make mistakes, but it you're confident and you don't let it get you down, you'll be the one who stands out from the crowd. Have faith in your creative process, have faith in yourself, you never know where it will take you.
  • Everything works out, even the things that don't: Over the years, I've gone through a lot of touch and go times becoming a professional blogger, and through building IFB. Amazing experiences in exotic places, crying in my pajamas at 3pm. Some things work out amazingly, some things don't. But I find that more often than not, the things that don't work out end up being the things that give room for beautiful things to happen. Maybe your current idea is crap, and you suck at it. So what! Everyone experiences that, and you'll hopefully learn something amazing from the experience, and your experience will be essential to finding your true calling. Knowing things will work out usually gives you the calm and the courage to make a new career even when you don't know what it is yet.


I could go on, and really the moral of the story is Anna Dello Russo is not only one of a kind, she gives advice that anyone can follow. You may not be able to wear a cherry hat to work but, “Anything can be now.” And that's something to take to heart.




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25 Responses

  1. Candace

    This was very encouraging. I love ADR. I think we are in such a creative time that anyone should be empowered to do what they want to do. Life is too short to suffer through a boring job. Build a career and take on the philosophy that if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

  2. fashionfoodfeminism

    I really like this article. And I love how Anna dealt with people giving her weird looks, haha. It is harder to figure things out on your own though, but you just have to remember you’ll be happier in the end.

  3. Jade

    Great advice – I hope following these points and working more efficiently will help me eventually reach my dream of being a full time blogger 🙂

  4. Jonell

    Hey Jennine, thank you for writing this post. Ever since IFBCon, I really have been taking strides to improve my blog and blogging habits. But ultimately I want to parlay this and other talents into eventually owning a boutique one day. I’ve talked to people even my family and let’s just say support for my future endeavors is coming from within. So when I read this post about inventing my job it gave me courage to continue my journey as a blogger and as a future shop owner. Today, more than ever, you have to create what you want to become. I know this to be true because even with a degree and years of retail management experience, I find myself not growing career wise the way I thought I would as a child. So yes, I will “invent my job.” I’ll keep you posted and will definitely see you at the next IFBCon. Thank you.

  5. Monica4LiliMagazine

    Dear Jennine,

    Thank you for putting into words the idea of inventing my own jog-I realize that is exactly what I am doing! I am creating a career for myself that doesn’t exist in the realm of most people. I am constantly being told to “focus” and “that is not the way it is done”, etc. Feeling alone on the journey is much harder than all the work I am putting in towards realizing my vision.

    Thank you for your words of advice, as I know they come from personal experience


  6. Alyssa

    Jennine, when I heard you speak at the Texas Style Conference last year, you gave us the best blogging I have ever heard, “Don’t stop blogging. Whatever happens, don’t stop.”

    As a newbie blogger, it was what I needed to hear. When you’re brand new at blogging, it’s so easy to get intimidated or get overwhelmed by everything that’s out there, but I’m proud to say that I’m still here!


  7. Anh

    Thanks a lot for this post. I have been following the tweets with all the ADR quotes last weekend already but this article gives it a perfect cut.
    No cut isn’t the right work your post is an inspiring motivation to get up and work even more on big dreams! Thanks. This post is now saved as a bookmark. I will recall it everytime I am in a low mood!

  8. eStyle Chat

    Wonderful article!! I’ve heard you say it before that things won’t work out and your direction might change. For those of us who have been blogging for less than 6 months, it’s great to remember that mistakes happen, growth is slow and you have to work hard!!


  9. Teri Roughen

    So great. I love that she’s 49! I didn’t know this but it shows you fashion is not all about the twenty-somethings. What a great opportunity you had to speak with her. You’re doing a great job Jennine! Teri

  10. Andrea Bremser

    Thank you Jennine for this article (& the great comments as well)! With waves of doubt, uncertainty and hopelessness this is a great pick-me-up article. Things rings true to me especially being it’s been 8 months since I’ve been laid off.

    I appreciate the positive message (this site promotes & this community as well!), knowing that while I think I’m crazy sometimes, settling should never be an option and to keep following your dreams. It’s encouraging to know there are like minded people out there who are passionate, genuine and dedicated, like myself, just trying to do what they can to take them to the next step in their lives and/or careers.

    xoxo, Andrea

    • Donna

      I know how you feel, Andrea. I’ve been out of work for a long time now, so I understand the doubt, uncertainty, and hopelessness. If you ever want to talk to someone who understands, post a comment on my blog. I hope that we both find a way to make a living doing something that we are passionate about.


  11. Monique

    I absolutely love this! Sometimes, all you need is a little nudge (in this case, encouraging words) to push you in the right direction. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  12. Jelena

    Thank u so much for this highly inspirational post! I enjoyed in each line!!!!


  13. Ivana @ Macarons and Pearls

    This was such an amazing and inspiring article, I loved every single word! I´m still figuring out what my future career would be, and whether my blog would be part of it, and this was exactly the thing I needed to read right now. Thanks Jennine and thanks Anna, for being so inspiring!

  14. Grace

    thanks for a great thought-provoking read about re-evaluating my current goals. I’ll be using it as a motivator to really set some plans in action.

  15. Donna

    Great post! I’ve been trying to figure out how to make my own job and it’s so helpful to have some guidelines.
    I have several physical problems that make working a retail job or a 9 – 5 office job impossible, so I’ve been trying to find a way to make money with flexible hours. I’m hoping that blogging will be part of the solution, because I love doing it. Thx for posting this.