Overdressed
at Work:
Christine 
Morrison

an interview

Christine Morrison.jpeg

           hristine Morrison is a seasoned freelance writer, whose work centers around her achievements and passions, often as seen through the lens of aging: the business of fashion, beauty expertise and a devotion to wellness and fitness.

C

She is a former fashion executive and beauty marketer. Her writing has appeared in a variety of print (The Washington PostThe Boston Globe, Elysian 
Magazine
) and online (The Quality Edit, The Fine Line MagazineKDHamptons) vehicles. She has also lent her copywriting expertise to fashion and beauty brands including Calvin Klein, Juicy Couture, French Connection, 
Lumity and Alastin skincare. 

Christine Morrison has made guest appearances on podcasts and in newsletters. She is currently writing a fashion memoir, a collection of essays reflecting the meaning behind, and the humor in, what she wore while forming her identity, navigating her way to true love, and discovering her authentic self.
 

Overdressed: Welcome, Christine! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our readers’ questions today. We are so happy to have you! First off, the question we always are particularly curious about: how did you first find out about Overdressed?

Christine: I found Overdressed through other Instagram brands (@thepsychologyoffashion and @psykhefashion) that recognize what we wear is more than fashion but rather a reflection of who we are—and who we aspire to be in the future. As this is the basis of my fashion memoir, I gravitate towards—and am grateful for—anyone who sees fashion in this way!

O: Many of our readers are only just getting started in their careers or are still in education. One question that many of them have asked is what you have studied.

C:  I studied Journalism at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As one of the best Journalism schools in the country, I was taught by phenomenal professors who had worked in the field and had general courses in writing and reporting along with branding, creative, media, strategy and account planning classes tailored to the Advertising/Public Relations curriculum.

O: Many young people face the problem that they are not considered for positions after graduating from university because they are lacking work experience. Did you always know that you wanted to work in fashion? How did you first get started in the industry and gain your crucial first experience?

C: I dreamt of living in NYC and working in fashion, but had a very practical start to my career. Post college, as I did not have a job secured, I left for Chicago, hoping to break into advertising. The ad agencies in this more affordable city were renowned and the industry was the perfect blend of business and creativity. I felt it was a great place for me to start.

 

Despite having a BA in Journalism, my first job was as a receptionist in an ad agency.  I advanced through Account Management by always stepping up when challenges were presented, offering effective creative solutions and engaging well with clients. Within the decade, I was a Management Director overseeing a $600MM beauty business. I leveraged my beauty experience to break into a NYC fashion house that has a strong beauty portfolio; A strong background allowed me to maintain a senior role during the transition to Fashion.

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O: That sounds like a truly impressive career! Besides this experience as a Management Director, however, you also continued your career as a journalist. You have been published in a wide variety of print and digital media. For those who are particularly interested in Fashion Journalism, what steps would you recommend they take to be published?

C: The most important thing is to consistently write—whether submitting to a publication or not, a daily practice refines your talent. To hold myself accountable and further develop my writing, I frequently took evening classes at NYU and Parsons. “Breaking into Women’s Magazines” was my first class, and the most instrumental as it taught me how to pitch and (at the time) why personal essays were the best way to break in. One class takeaway that still holds true is that you should be a frequent reader of whatever publication/site you want to write for, so that you understand their voice and content they’ve already covered.

 

For fashion journalism specifically, while there are so many great sites today unfortunately there is no dearth of ex-print editors at their disposal. Don’t shy away from initially writing for free (or interning as a side hustle, if possible). I did this at the start of my pivot to freelance writing to prove myself and garner clips.

The most important thing is to consistently write—whether submitting to a publication or not, a daily practice refines your talent.

O: Out of all of the articles you have written, which one is your favourite and why?

C: That is a tough question as I have loved some, not affiliated with fashion, on a deeply personal level—one about the loss of a triplet, another about my father’s passing. I feel those essays connect most with people; I often receive moving notes from readers.  

 

A fashion piece that has incredible meaning for me was a story about Iman for Elysian Magazine. While I did not interview her directly, it was the first time I had been approached by a magazine to write a piece—the fact that it was their Fall Fashion Issue and a feature about one of the most iconic women in the world was mind blowing.

O: I fully agree with you. I think the most personal pieces are often the ones that are the most impactful, too. However, I also feel like they tend to be the most difficult to write. 

 

Besides your experience as a Management Director and as a journalist, you also support brands such as Calvin Klein and Juicy Couture with copywriting on a freelance basis. What exactly did this look like?

C: Copywriting is such a fun writing exercise as you get to embody a brand you love.  Fashion and beauty brands have asked for a range of creative content from website copy and print ads to video scripts and brand identity stories. After being walked through a brief which outlined creative needs, and any (in the case of skincare brands I have worked on) research that helps guide the creative and understand the competitive landscape, I develop text that fulfills their needs. It’s often incredibly collaborative and a nice change of pace; I usually do a few assignments annually.

O: How exactly does the process of freelance copywriting look? Do these brands approach you if they are working on a specific project or do you get in touch with them?

C: I am honored that as former colleagues have moved in their careers—to new fashion houses, beauty brands, startup creative agencies—they request me as copywriter for freelance assignments. I have improved significantly since my first copywriting assignment in 2008, and am grateful for the opportunities. While I am hired for specific projects, they have been more expansive over time; this Fall, I was thrilled to develop my first ad campaign.

O: Much like our magazine, you are interested in the intersection between psychology and fashion. In what ways does fashion positively impact your mental health and well-being?

C: As I believe what you wear impacts how you feel about yourself—and who you aspire to be—I rely on fashion that makes me feel confident and brings me joy. I tend to wear a “uniform” of sorts as I know these garments—some are very casual, others less so—have led me to do great things. This is less about nostalgia (although occasionally that plays a role), and more about the power of clothes. A great example is the crisp white shirt, a staple of mine. Like a blank slate, the starkness of the shirt and a fresh popped collar makes me feel anything is possible; I am ready to take on the day. The white shirt also harkens back to Carolina Herrera, a fashion idol known for donning crisp white shirts daily, who did not become a fashion designer until age 40. Anything is possible.

 

Conversely, when I don’t make an effort and find myself wearing the same workout shorts for days, I feel listless and unproductive. Workout (and lounge) wear has come so far—there is no reason not to get dressed in something that builds you up.

Experimenting (with fits, fabrics, styles, and designers) determines who you are—and who you aspire to become.

O: What is your favorite thing you’ve ever worn? Our follower who submitted this questions specifically requested that this cannot be your wedding dress.

C: While I understand the reader asked me not to say my favorite garment was my wedding dress, I can honestly say that would not have been my answer anyway! My most favorite garments are worn frequently, embody who I am and in this case, remind me of lovely moments in life. Namely, a well-worn black cashmere sweater that brings me comfort and has been on every family ski trip, and a pair of Free City army green pants bought while shopping with my favorite fashion friend in East Hampton, NY. We rarely see one another and both bought them, as a reminder that we are together even while living miles apart.  They also feel very reminiscent of Jackson Pollock artwork, which inspires me to be creative.

O: You are currently working on your memoir, in which you dissect the ways that the things you have worn have shaped your identity (or, I would assume, how your identity has also shaped your choices of what to wear?). What is your key takeaway from this exploration of the subject that you would like to share with our readers?

C: You are absolutely right that the memoir traces both how what I wore shaped my identity and vice versa, as the collection of essays travels through time weaving stories of childhood divorce, decades of dating, losing a parent, family alcoholism, career success and failure(s) through the lens of what I wore.  

 

I’ve always felt that clothes establish our identity, but this memoir reveals that soul searching surpasses “you are what you wear” and experimenting (with fits, fabrics, styles, and designers) determines who you are—and who you aspire to become. Without giving more away, I can say that Fashion, and lessons I learned from designers themselves, empowered me to find my authentic self.

 

While fashion aficionados will be entertained as the essays spark nostalgia, I believe younger readers will glean guidance about coming of age and 40+ year old readers will identify with my journey; they’ve been there. With the emergence of the Pro-aging woman, who lives for style and refuses to become invisible, these essays reiterate what it took to find themselves initially and the power in maintaining our identity with personal style no matter our age.

O: Thank you so much, Christine, for this incredibly interesting and insightful conversation. I know that I, personally, am looking forward to the publication of your memoir, as I am just beginning to understand how fashion shapes me and I shape my own sense of fashion and could certainly need some guidance on the topic.

C: Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. I cannot wait to share my memoir! I genuinely believe it will be as entertaining as it is poignant. 

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Credits

Photos
Christine Morrison

Editor & Layout
Veruschka Haas