Read Surveys (By Author)
Amy Rose Spiegel
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I rarely want to tell other people what not to do.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have so many patterned rompers. I think they're the easiest possible way to wear almost nothing and spend very little time getting dressed, which are two ideas I often prioritize in terms of my clothing.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Laura and I started a metal band last year called By Thine Own Hand, which came to be after we were driving around listening to Dio and talking about masturbation. Up until a few months ago, whenever I went back to my mom's house, we'd write songs called "Fingerslammed" and "Hell's Omen" in the shed in the backyard. We wrote down all the lyrics in a gardening book about herbs. I went by the stage name Betty Shredder and she was Daisy Razor. Just before Laura moved out of that house and across the country, which totally broke up the band, I had a BTOH shirt made for her to commemorate the greatest, if shortest-lived, family metal band of all time. Long live Daisy Razor.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
YEAH. I had a long childhood aversion to women who presented in traditionally feminine ways because I thought that to be taken seriously, it was a good idea to be as masculine as possible so that I didn't come off as some kind of silly girl.
16. Please describe your body.
I have enormous tits and big square hips and pale, thin arms and some serious R. Crumb thighs. My feet are malformed like a broken wooden oar of a rowboat or something. My front teeth form an arrow that points outward at the world; they look like this: V
17. Please describe your mind.
18. Please describe your emotions.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Okay, from the feet up: These amazing jolie laide Andre Assous espadrille flats with turkeys and checkers and mountains on them. They're brown and tan with a little bit of green and maroon. I normally hate espadrilles, but I delight in Andre Assous ones. I buy a used pair every summer, like my mom does with the expensive clothes she likes. Then: A translucent black floral thong that I got at Forever 21 when I was like 14. It's actually really sexy. Then: a mostly backless dress with orange roses on it that I got at a Goodwill in the Mission two weeks ago. My eyelashes today are a mix of cut-up strips and individual and they look pretty good, and I have Revlon lip stain on my cheeks and mouth. My boyfriend drew a heart on my thigh in black felt-tip pen. The names "Bjork" and "Kanye" written on my hand so I can remember to make Shrinky-Dinks of their faces later tonight.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My friends Gabrielle Noone, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Lola Pellegrino, and Tavi Gevinson.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I find myself broke all the time no matter what I do with my money, so I try to spend it on things I'll have for longer than, like, a night. This sometimes means clothes.
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?
My parents prize put-togetherness in the way they dress, and the way they dressed us, when they still had that option. They've both given me many uncomfortable talkings-to about wearing clothing that they consider too slutty or ugly, and sometimes my mom still does when I visit. They like for people (and their children, specifically) to look well-suited to the overall attitudes an÷Astes of whatever particular room we're all in: Why would you wear anything other than a purple bandage dress to a New Jersey wedding?
My mom wears careful and intelligently-complected outfits of cardigans and Tory Burch flats that she delights in unearthing on eBay for a better price than she would have gotten at a store. My dad bought me a watch when I got my first job. It's cold and beautiful and has tiny diamonds in it. I wore it my first day at the office and never again because I'm rightfully afraid of losing or damaging it, which I would if I wore it more often. It is very loose on my wrist.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I have worn fake eyelashes nearly every day since I was sixteen. I sometimes layer up to four pairs at a time, which inexplicably makes me feel like Jarvis Cocker. I believe in cleavage. I like it when patterns mix well on my clothing and shoes. I think it's important to have one red detail: a purse, or hair bow, or shoes. I think of it like a red door on an otherwise plain house, and how elegant that always seems to me. I bleach my hair white-blonde. I prefer to have freckles. Dresses that tie in the back make me feel like I have a perfect body, even though I rarely feel that way otherwise, because they're tight in exactly the ways I want them to be. High-waisted shorts and pants with tiny stretch crop-tops also follow this thinking.
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?
Nothing. The idea of what "confident" and "comfortable" might mean as applied to myself oscillates so constantly that I think it would be disingenuous to try and affix them to one definition here, except to say that they both always correspond and report back to the same feeling. If I'm feeling noticeably beautiful to other people, I'm feeling like I am in possession of those qualities. If I'm not, I'm not.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Light refractions in water. Mary Timony. Irises (the flowers, but the parts of the eye too, I guess). Long hair. Green hair. A 2008 Armani Privé collection that was based on the moon. Braces. Morrissey at every age. Neon signs, except ones for beer. Most pictures that people take of themselves and put on Instagram. Egon Schiele portraits. Impulsivity. Patricia Highsmith. Gray days. People with unquantifiable beauty marks or moles all over. Palace Music.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
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?
I seriously have no idea. I might be getting better at this? For example, I mostly stopped buying overalls.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I want to look like a boarding-school junkie on the cusp of expulsion.
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 the sixth and seventh grade when I was eleven and twelve, I wore geometric black eyeliner and black lipstick. My tops were usually made of some kind of fishnet material or depicted some kind of Hot Topic-approved band or movie. I wore huge, HUGE raver pants that were black and electric lime green with metal loops and other hardware all over them or short plaid schoolgirl-type skirts. My hair was this big, frizzy purple mass. When I colored it, I let the dye run all over my body and had lavender skin for two weeks. I still wear black lipstick occasionally, but everything else is different.
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 really love being a woman.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
Like everyone, I have a way of positioning my face so that I look way better in pictures than I would if I just let the photograph happen without my conscious involvement. I turn my face slightly to the right and push out the juncture of bone where my jawline meets the side of my face and angle my neck up a little. If I do this, I think I look good in pictures, especially ones taken with flash. I also really like taking naked pictures of myself, or having other people take naked pictures of me.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
I envy those women with the white berets and trench coats. I sometimes wish I were more tasteful in a big-eyed movie-heroine way.
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?
I certainly don't mind my body, save for a few weight-related freakouts that I'm ashamed of having, when I have them.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Oh, man, I LOVE Harvey Prince's fragrances, specifically "Hello." Discovering that particular perfume made me understand why people wore fragrance, which I always liked but never took so much pleasure in before I found it. That, mixed with sunscreen, is my ideal olfactory projection into the world.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
When I feel most presentable, I've straightened my hair, freshly replaced my fake eyelashes (which I typically wear for a few days on end; I sleep in them), and maybe remembered to wear a necklace or have otherwise adorned myself in some way that isn't strictly necessary in the way that simply covering my body with clothing is.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
Makeup is what I care about most. I'm a beauty maximalist.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Engagement rings, and a small silver ring with green stones in it that my father gave my mother when they were married.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
When I'm feeling emotionally skittish or overwhelmed, I sublimate by buying clothing online. Recent acquisitions include a tuxedo t-shirt, which I think took me way too long, life-wise, to accomplish owning, and these Jeremy Scott ripoff high-waisted denim shorts with little Bart Simpson heads all over them.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
When I was sixteen, I went to a rathole of a club just outside Jersey City called The Green Room. The owner asked me if I had a boyfriend, and when I lied and told him no, he said, "With those cheekbones? That's crazy." I don't have noteworthy cheekbones, so it always stuck with me as a very high compliment. Once, during a photo shoot, an asshole photographer told me to suck in my stomach so I didn't look "preggers," and I was momentarily hurt, but then thought about the idea of being pregnant as a pejorative thing and decided he was just an asshole photographer.
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?
The first time I knew what I was wearing, it was because my older sister Laura, whom I loved in the way that little sisters do where I wanted to be her perfect reproduction, was wearing the same thing. We had on fuchsia dresses. They were made of cotton and had short sleeves and elastic empire waists. We also carried matching patchwork purses. I wonder what could have been in them, because I was just three and she was four. Tamagotchis, maybe? Definitely pens and paper for drawing. We were on a nice dock that was part of some kind of family trip and which seems, in my memory, like it must have had a lot of middling places to eat shrimp and clams around it.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
December 16, 1990. I was born in the Italian-American suburbs of New Jersey, where I lived until I was 17, when I moved to New York. Now I live in Brooklyn and my bedroom is my favorite place on Earth, even though I go out a lot.
What kind of work do you do?
I am an editor for Rookie, where I also write and make makeup videos for teenage girls, and a freelance writ(h)er.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?