Words of wisdom from a Marie Claire contributing editor

Joyce Corrigan, who has excelled in the fashion industry, talked about her career path, how she got to the top and what those who want to succeed have to do.

Joyce Corrigan, contributing editor at Marie Claire and author of Dress Skinny: Perfecting Your Style, Flattering Your Body, and Looking Fabulous, started her presentation off with a motivational quote. 

“Whether I was working at Marie Claire or Elle, you were always excited to get to work,” she said. The passion Corrigan has is shown through her face, gesticulations and utter humor.

"I really love what I do. Fashion never bores me."
- Joyce Corrigan

Corrigan’s presentation "The Daredevil Wears Prada: An ordinary girl’s odyssey in the fierce, fabulous, sometimes-fatal fashion media” took place in the I-3 Center in Newhouse on Feb. 4 to around 50 students. It was a timeline of sorts depicting how she landed her first job at Vogue, up until today where she writes for Bogner Ski Wear. Along the way she offered advice and insight about getting a leg up in the industry. “Own who you are,” she said, “because you never know where your skills will take you.” This is very true for Corrigan, who started off her career writing for a college dance magazine. Afterward, she became a ballet critic at Vogue.

While Corrigan offered serious advice about the industry, she also advised those in attendance to sneak into the back of fashion shows and go to as many parties as possible. For Corrigan, networking was huge. While many of her jobs fell in her lap, she still had to meet the right people.

While working at American Vogue, she met someone working for Italian Vogue who needed Woody Allen’s number because they could not for the life of them get ahold of him. Sure enough, Corrigan had his number over at American Vogue, and for her help, the woman asked if she wanted a job at Italian Vogue. Corrigan was ecstatic at first but then found out the job position was to sell ad space. “I was so in love with the aesthetic and style I would do anything to work at Italian Vogue,” she said. Even if that meant taking up a job she knew nothing about, the experience granted her the chance to see the other side of the business. “Sales can be very lucrative,” she said, “sometimes even more so than editorial.” After working in sales for four years, she realized that it was not her forté.

Corrigan moved from Italian Vogue, to the all new American Elle where she continued with her true passion for writing editorial. A big benchmark in Corrigan’s career came about when she started working for The Sunday Times Magazine. She proved that she could do fashion in a way that wasn’t so advertising sensitive. There was no fluff. She had the chance to write profiles on controversial designers. She urged the audience to stay away from simply writing pieces based on a press release. While she didn't always have that sort of flexibility at Vogue, she did at The Sunday Times Magazine.

Corrigan has herself a reputation as this go-getter, fearless woman who will try absolutely anything. “Do as much as you can in the media,” she said. She never limited herself to one type of job. She started off in print, but her connections led her to FOX which then landed her new positions at FX Networks and Good Morning America. Later, someone from FX who worked at Food Nation asked Corrigan to write for the Food Network. Corrigan said humbly that a lot of her jobs just found her because she established herself as a good writer. That is key. Expanding her network also landed her a copywriting job at Bogner.

Marie Claire just came along,” she said nonchalantly. “It can happen to you,” she added. Her faith in us is palpable. Before Joanna Coles became editor of Marie Claire, Corrigan worked with Coles’ husband. As soon as Coles stepped in, she asked for someone to write a sophisticated piece and immediately turned to Corrigan. Corrigan ended up staying there for four years. Two books later, including Marie Claire’s Outfit 911: Fabulous Fixes for Every Fashion Emergency and Dress Skinny, Corrigan has emerged from the industry as a completely well rounded and beautifully talented writer. 

She ended her presentation with some words of wisdom. “I really love what I do. Fashion never bores me. I always run to my laptop,” she said mirroring her initial quote about being excited to get to work. “Get there early and leave late. Always give 200 percent,” she added. 

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