Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
In a really flattering pair of jeans, with all my makeup done.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yeah, it's bad because I tend to stare sometimes. I admire women who look effortlessly cool - a perfectly well-worn leather jacket, that kind of thing. I envy girls who look pulled together in a really casual way.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Nonchalance, elegance, and confidence. Things that I wish to emulate myself.
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?
I read Vogue and Harper's Bazaar from being 12 or 13, but I don't think I ever really knew how to translate high fashion into everyday high school looks, so there were some funny transitional periods. I was really quiet and shy at school, so it was a way of expressing myself. Also - the first time I put on red lipstick was a great moment.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Take the time and try everything on. And look carefully when you do try things on! I've bought so many things that would have been great a size smaller or a size larger. Shopping impairs my judgment sometimes.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I try to have a good idea in my head of the kind of look or silhouette I want before I buy something. Otherwise I get totally sidetracked and end up buying some crazy print dress that I wear twice and forget about.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
Conversation? I don't really know that I've had one.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Not really. I write a lot of 'to-do' lists, but stuff still goes by the wayside. I'm usually trying to do ten things at once and achieving none of them. I forever feel behind on my work!
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Aside from MAC red lipsticks, I don't really repeat buy stuff that much. I do own a lot of black leather ankle boots in varying styles. Studded ones, Chelsea ones, heeled ones....every winter I want another pair.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I bought my husband - boyfriend at the time - an engraved pocket watch with his initials on it. Still proud of that one.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
The recent sportswear trends - and all the trainers! I've not worn a pair of trainers since gym class in high school. If I look casual, I'm in flat boots or studded loafers. I think they look good on other girls, but I just can't physically put a pair of trainers on.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mom and I had very similar body shapes when she was my age - in fact, she was probably a bit slimmer than me. She's not really that interested in fashion, though. She likes to buy nice shoes and she always has her makeup on, but it's not that big of a deal to her.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I used to borrow all my mom's big belts from the '80s. They looked horrible, but I thought they were cool.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Yeah, around the time when I graduated university. I don't know that it was really dramatic, but I wanted to look a bit more grown up and polished. I still love a leather jacket, jeans, and heavy cat-eyes. I'm at the age where I still want to look young and cool but don't want to be a slave to trends or mistaken for a student.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Unless you count wearing all black and trying to channel Bardot circa '59 as political, no.
16. Please describe your body.
I'm short, (5'2), petite, and curvy. Not big chested, but I have a big bum.
17. Please describe your mind.
That's a weird question. Always going in a million directions at once; quite neurotic. Always curious and wanting to learn, though.
18. Please describe your emotions.
I'm pretty sensitive.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I'm working from home, so I'm wearing a pair of blue skinny jeans and plain white cami top. I have pink lipstick + eyeliner on and my hair is down, loose.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It is important how to present yourself to the world. For better or worse, people judge you on it, and try to figure out what type of person you are when they look at you. I don't feel good if I don't look nice, so it makes me more confident to be dressed well. It's a way of communicating your personality, too.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My husband, sometimes, my sister and mother in law, and my own mom and sister.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Not sure what's meant by "institutions" - I work freelance. I've never really worn any sort of uniform, even at school. If you mean general expectations of womanhood and femininity, that's a different conversation. On a hot summer day, there's no such thing as blending in, unless you want to stifle to death. If you go out wearing shorts or a summer dress, you get a lot of attention.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I guess I probably have style; I wouldn't call my look "classic" or "traditional" and I think "tasteful" is a boring thing to say about anything, whether it be music, art, clothes, or whatever.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Probably a pair of sinfully ugly Versace trousers. They were white, and bootcut.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
It's predictable, but black. Also, it always helps to have one or two go-to panic outfits for when you're running late or not feeling particularly creative.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I love mid-century modern interiors. I'm still striving to make my home look like Don Draper's apartment.
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?
All the time. I think part of the reason I love clothes so much is exactly that, though I never thought about it in that way before. I'm a very anxious person by nature, so whenever I meet new people or do any public speaking, I'm really particular about my outfit, makeup, and hair. It gives me a sense of control.
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?
I definitely know what I like, but I'm indecisive, too. I sometimes struggle to know what will actually look good on my body shape.
I prefer to shop by myself if I'm spending any decent amount of money. Wedding dress shopping could be rough, at times. I had five girls with me, and I felt like I needed to do it by committee.
29. Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing or style? What lessons do you remember? Or did you just pick things up?
I don't know - not a lot, really. I sort of figured it out on my own. And it took a while.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Tight jeans, heels, and some nice false lashes - not too fake. A bit of a tan doesn't hurt, either.
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?
I guess when people say they want to be "comfortable" they mean nothing too tight, revealing, or that they have to bother with. I guess I understand that, but usually you gotta make some sacrifices if you want to look good. I think "confident" explains itself, really.
32. If dressing were the only thing you did, and you were considered an expert and asked to explain your style philosophy, what would you say?
I wish I had one. I think I'm too changeable to have a specific philosophy, but I do prefer to be a little bit overdressed rather than underdressed.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Kindness, warmth, empathy, open-mindedness. Going to the movies.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Racism, bullying, sexism, war.
35. Are you generally a good judge of whether what you buy will end up being worn? Have you figured out how to know in advance?
Sometimes - I'm getting better at this as I get older.
36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?
I guess through the eyes of an average boy or girl my age - whether I look fashionable or attractive, really.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I always always wear makeup, but with clothes it depends on what I'm going to be doing that day. If I'm going into town, I always put thought into my clothes - if I'm staying in or local, it's usually just thrown together. But I never wear sweatpants or anything like that.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
To achieve a look that is flattering and suits the mood of the place I'm going or what I'll be doing that day.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Casual dressing, to me, can be harder than dressing up. If I am very 'dressed up', I'll have done my eyebrows, put curlers in, got a tan, put on false lashes, and I'll have the outfit and shoes sorted in advance, usually.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Hopefully something feminine, that wasn't too shapeless - something that was a bit form-fitting.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Me: Bright lipstick, cat eye liner, high-waisted jeans, studded loafers, leather jackets, 60's shift dresses.
Not me: Tracksuits, sportswear, denim miniskirts, polo shirts (exceptions made for Fred Perry), tattoos, anything too preppy.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Middle-class American. I don't think that's had any influence, except to make me run screaming from Abercrombie + Fitch.
43. Do you remember a time in your life when you dressed quite differently from how you do now? Can you describe it and what it was all about for you?
In high school, I was really into British indie music, and went through a lot of phases, clothes-wise. I used to wear these light-wash blue jeans with both knees completely ripped out, and an oversize black and white striped jumper, or this acid pink Velvet Underground tee shirt. Also, lots of black romper dresses accessorised with a velvet blazer, different scarves, and long necklaces. None of it looked perfect, but I still look back on it with affection. I was trying to announce something, I think.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
My hair is long, so I clip it back or put it in a bun. Try to wear cigarette trousers and pretty blouses with a conservative stiletto heel. It's not much fun, though.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
There aren't very many - so this doesn't apply to me.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
49. What is an archetypal outfit for you; one that you could have happily worn at any point in your life? What do you like about it?
A stripey top and skinny jeans. It's boring when you say it that way, I guess. I think depending on the cut of the top and how you style your hair, shoes, etc, you can dress it up or down.
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?
Not often. I like being a girl. I do often think it's easier - or simpler - for a man to look smartly dressed. And to get away with being overdressed.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
The late sixties/early seventies for the culture, music, politics, and films. The clothes weren't too great, though - I think the late 50's New York beatnik scene is probably my favourite for fashion. Super feminine and form-fitting, but really bohemian.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Unless it's a selfie, I tend to hate them.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Debbie Harry, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Anna Karina. I like Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo now.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Not that I can think of.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Anything that felt predictable in a footballer's wife kind of way. Like super high heels with a bandage dress, or whatever.
57. If you were totally comfortable with your body, or your body was a bit closer to what you wish it was like, what would you wear?
More tight pencil skirts. If I had longer legs, more mini-dresses and ankle boots.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I think I like floppy hats, palazzo pants, and boyfriend jeans too much to attract men. I think I mostly dress for women.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Not really, except don't wear see-through clothes with brightly coloured underwear or bra beneath.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
When I remember to. I love it - my favourite is Viktor + Rolf's Flowerbomb
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I don't know, normal stuff. Do eyebrows, go on the occasional (I know...) sunbed, keep legs moisturised, paint nails when I can be bothered.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wish I wasn't so dependent on it. I wear concealer, mascara, eyeliner and lipstick every day.
63. Is there a certain look you feel you’re expected to like that you have absolutely no interest in? What is it? Why aren’t you interested?
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Lots of costume jewelry and a few nice pieces. Lots of jeans, lots of dresses, and lots of shoes.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My favorite outfit changes all the time, but I have a charity shop black bell-sleeve dress that I really like at the minute, worn with a gold chain belt.
66. Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?
I have a little white eyelet sundress that is so old it's gone yellowy, but I keep it because I first met my husband in it.
67. Looking back at all your purchases over the past five to fifteen years, can you generalize about what sorts of things were the most valuable to buy?
Almost all the clothes I own have ended up being pretty disposable, in the end. I rarely buy very expensive things. The odd pair of shoes and bits of jewelry, like my Omega watch, are my most valuable items.
68. Is there an item of clothing that you once owned, but no longer own, and still think about or wish you had back? What was it, what happened to it, and why do you want it back?
I can't remember any, no.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
That's a terrible thing to say. I honestly don't know the answer. Maybe this one white shift dress, because it's so simple and chic.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Buy more investment pieces and whole outfits together, instead of random items. Less cheap and cheerful stuff.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
A Vivienne Westwood handbag. I've had it 4 years and aside from everyday wear and tear, it's as lovely as the day I bought it. It's black patent with gold hardware and it brightens up every outfit.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
Probably that handbag, as well as my first pair of Chelsea boots.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
The perfect LBD. I've seen it in a few Vogue shoots, but never in real life. Something expensive and classic but with unique touches.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
They're either really neat because I've just organised them, or an absolute wreck.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Outside of my engagement ring, yeah, a lot of jewelry. A bracelet from my Grandfather, a pearl necklace from my mom on my wedding day. She wore it on her wedding day, and my grandma wore it on hers - so that meant a lot to me.
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?
Yeah, a brown suede top with tons of fringe on it. My friends thought it was horrible when I tried it on, but I've had so many compliments on it since - and it matches a pair of brown heels I have perfectly.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
When I have the money to buy an outfit, or if I'm after something specific.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I like to look pulled together, but I'm still young enough to want to look cool, so it sort of does.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Not very well.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
People seem to think I'm fashionable, so that makes me happy. I've had the spectrum of comments on my appearance from positive to negative, probably like every girl has, so I try to just sit somewhere in the middle.
83. Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about?
Not really. There's one shopping trip before middle school (so I was about 11) that I remember as the beginning of really choosing my clothes, though. I bought a long denim skirt and a pink tee-shirt with a frog on it.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
July 6 '91. I was born in upstate New York and I live in England now.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a freelance film journalist.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married - no kids.
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