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3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
When a woman is wearing an outfit that would look really ridiculous on its own, but on her it somehow works.
4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?
As a really young girl, I loved ball gowns and dresses and pink sparkly things and wasn't allowed to follow my natural fashion instinct (every day). I was also slightly ridiculed by my mom and sister for my weird fashion sense, so I think I carried that ridicule with me for awhile and assumed that I shouldn't dress the way I wanted. For a long time I mostly wore baggy hoodies and jeans. Then when I was shopping for shoes for my highschool graduation, I found a pair of gaudy, sparkly pink jelly shoes, the kind I would've lusted after when I was 4 years old. I bought those shoes, marched across the highschool auditorium at graduation, and haven't looked back since. My everyday style is actually fairly conservative, but that moment I realized that I was the one with the power to dictate my own fashion choices.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
So many. Neon clothing is the most egregious thing ever - it completely overwhelms the person wearing the clothing and looks like a hybrid of blacklight vomit and crosswalk operator.
16. Please describe your body.
I'm 5'3" and weigh around 90 pounds (slightly anorexic, but dealing with it. Hopefully). No boobs to speak of, which I'm mostly okay with nowadays. I like the option of androgyny, but sometimes I want to look more femme.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Others tell me I'm very hard to read - I don't do it on purpose, but I guess I'm stoic and hide my emotions.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Just woke up and showered for a day of working at home, so I'm wearing a t-shirt from the men's section at AE, a black prairie skirt, no bra, no makeup.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I think it's so interesting to investigate how women view themselves and reflect that in their clothing, and then maybe attempt to see how other people perceive these choices and view the woman based on external judgment, and how those different viewpoints clash/mesh and maybe indicate attitude about women and the idea of gender.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Yes; I think style is what you personally wear based on taste, and taste can be broader - for instance, your taste allows you to appreciate the daring style of someone else's outfit that you would never ever ever attempt for yourself.
27. Can you recall some times when you have dressed a particular way to calm yourself or gain a sense of control over a situation that scared you?
I never wear a dress on dates, they make me feel like I'm "giving in" to stereotype. I do not judge women who do, but for me personally it feels like I'm submitting to something.
28. Would you say you “know what you like” in the area of fashion and clothing? If so, do you also know what you like in other areas of life, that is, are you generally good at discernment? Can you say where your discernment comes from, if you have it? Or if you don’t have it, why or why not?
Yes, I am very picky about what I buy - if I don't love it I don't consider it. At the same time, if something is free or dirt-cheap I will buy anything I don't hate, which has worked out for me actually. I find a lot of new styles I wouldn't normally try with this strategy!
31. Many people say they want to feel “comfortable,” or that they admire people who seem “confident.” What do these words really mean to you?
These people know exactly what they look like, no illusions or self-deception. This clear-headedness is probably paired with self-acceptance. Needless to say I really admire these people, at the same time I realize I'm probably idealizing others based on my own lowish self-esteem.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Smugness or narcissism based on insecurity.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
It's often a struggle to decide just how much I want to blend in or stand out. I do really enjoy positive attention, but I don't like feeling watched.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I grew up in Christian suburbs where all the girls dressed in uggs and sweats. I try to stay away from that.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
My workplace requires all-black clothing, but I like to add small splashes of color in places - colored socks, undershirt, small jewelry.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
Comforting; I have a base to work with that I can slightly (but not too much) rebel against.
50. Do you ever wish you were a man or could dress like a man or had a man’s body? Was there ever a time in the past?
I would never wish I was a man. I'm an artist, and I don't even like drawing men. I do like men's fashion though, sometimes better than women's, and occasionally will buy and wear an item of men's clothing.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I like traditional Indian dress - saris, sultan pants, waist-length coats - but as a white person I'd feel like a douchebag actually wearing them.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
From certain angles.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
It's still strange connecting my face and body with my self. I'm not being vain when I look in the mirror (I think), but I still sometimes stare at myself and try to figure out whether I'm pretty or not.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I'm trying to attract my people, and I know them when I meet them - sorry that's vague :)
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Dress to yourself, don't let your clothing overpower or diminish you.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
It can be tasteful, but I think for the most part it's best to take care of yourself and you'll smell fine. With deoderant.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My grandmother's silver leaf necklace.
76. Did you ever buy an article of clothing without giving it much thought, only to have it prove much more valuable as time went on? What was the item and what happened?
Many of my favorite items of clothing have come about this way, and I'm still trying to figure this out! A lot of my style is accidental or spontaneous which I like, but I'd like to be somewhat more on-purpose about my style.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Dec. 1989 - born in Wisconsin, currently live in Twin Cities, Minnesota.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
White, came from lower-middle-class evangelical Christian suburbs.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a freelance animator/artist, also a gallery guard at a contemporary art museum.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Single, no kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
My entire family is very conservative Christian, I am not - they are not aware. If they were, they would not talk to me. This is why I live away from them. They're also not aware that I'm bi - I hid a 4-year relationship with another woman from them.