Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I'm mostly covered and in an outfit I love.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes, I notice women more than men! I admire those who look like they haven't tried too hard, and can pull off not wearing a lot of makeup.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Posture, good hair
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?
After years of battling my curly hair--spending hours trying to blow dry and iron it straight to a frustrating failure--I accepted that my hair is curly for a reason. I've been much happier since.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Never pay full price, even if it's something that will last forever and is worth the price tag. (I'm cheap!) I also sometimes pay more attention to sizes than I should (despite the below).
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I almost never wear pants, only skirts and dresses, though I can see the value in pants for certain body types and for variety/style.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
During a difficult personal time, I realized that I no longer really cared about the size of the clothes I was wearing because the sizes were completely arbitrary anyway. I realized I just want to look good and feel comfortable in my clothes.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Yes: orderly. I make lists and schemes and categories for everything. It helps me feel in control of what little I can, when there's so much else I can't control.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have the same tank dress with a cinched waist in orange. I feel that orange is my "brave" color--versus my normal grey and black--so I think that it's adding variety to my wardrobe whereas now I just have too much of that one item.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I gave my sister a key pendant necklace, which she wears all the time for luck--it's symbolic in a way.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Alas my mother and I are more similar than I'd like to admit. I've found that she wore very similar dresses as I do today--simple shirt and shift dresses--and has a fetish for bags and shoes that are often more expensive than I/we can afford.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
No, I'm never brave enough to do so.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
When I was in grade school I was very ashamed of my body and wore awful baggy clothes all the time, even to school--oversized tee-shirts and sweatpants. All of a sudden one day I decided that didn't make me feel any better, so I got rid of it all and started wearing more close-fitting items.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I am vegan, so I try to buy natural and eco-friendly items when I can that don't use animal products.
16. Please describe your body.
Tall, slender, broad shoulders, few curves
17. Please describe your mind.
Imaginative, creative, analytical
18. Please describe your emotions.
Sensitive, extreme, withheld
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
A mid-calf black skirt with white polka dots, a white tank with a ribbon trim, black low-heeled shoes with a round toe, a Timex watch, a silver bangle, a cross necklace, silver earrings, a silver band on my right hand; my hair is down and curly; my makeup consists of tinted moisturizer, grey eyeshadow, mascara, and clear lip gloss.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I makes me feel prepared for the day. My cross especially is on to help me deal with a big project I have to deal with in just a few moments, actually.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My sister and friends
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
They give me ideas for how I might better present my personality.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I think I have taste, over style; the former is more individual in my mind, whereas the latter can be influenced more by the outside.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
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?
Yes, whenever I go into a stressful situation I think about what to wear! Job interviews, phone calls, dates, family gathering . . . clothes are my armor.
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, definitely. I am not always conscious of it, but I can always identify patterns in everything I do, including how I dress. Pattern and routine calms me.
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 think I learned from my parents in a negative sense--i.e., what not to do. My mother's fashion sense and confidence slowly eroded while I was growing up, so I felt I didn't have a sure role model as I established my own sense of style.
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?
They are synonymous to me. I feel both things when I wear a pretty dress, whereas wearing what others might think of as "comfortable" makes me feel sloppy and lazy.
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?
Here's the secret: there are no rules.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
At times, me.
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?
Yes, I think about what else I have in my closet that will "go" with a new item. If there's nothing, I don't buy it.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Weather, what I have to do that day
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
A sense of readiness and assuredness
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
"Dressing up" usually involves more hair preparation, but other than that I have similar concerns. The only thing that's different is the occasion.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Black shift dress with black tights
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Solids and simple jewelry are "me"; patterns and bright colors are "not me."
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?
When I was younger I dressed to hide myself--in baggy clothes. Now I'm more confident and am able to dress accordingly.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I dress more formally than many of my colleagues. I'd never wear jeans or sneakers to the office, though others do.
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?
No! Men have fewer options.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
The 1920s/flapper period.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
My facial expression is always artificial, and I tend to compare/judge myself with others in the photo.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I wear perfume because it gives me confidence. Smell is a very important sense for me overall.
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?
Leggings--I'm tall and thin so people think I'd want to wear them, but I hate them.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Simple and delicate
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My vintage cameo ring
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I'd buy more black.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Vegan black booties
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Yes, very neat. My closet is arranged by color and item.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
Rarely and by myself
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
I like heady/woodsy scents
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I dress to look like I make a lot of money and am successful.
80. How does money fit into all this?
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
March 3; born in NJ; live in NYC
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Caucasian, middle class
What kind of work do you do?
Assistant editor at a publishing house
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Single, no children
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I'm someone whose fascinated by the allure of fashion and style but resist defining myself by appearances because I have always been in a setting where clothes weren't valued and fashion seen as vain. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
It was difficult but enlightening to think about the defining moments of my life fashion-wise. I am coming around to the idea of being more forthcoming in embracing my sense of style and value of clothes--for their quality and how they make me feel as reflections of my identity. Clothes can be a crucial part of one's sense of self but without being the only focus, and this balance I think is the thing that women I admire strike perfectly and effortlessly.