Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
Just after I've showered and finished my hair and make-up. It's all kind of downhill from there
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I always notice women who manage to look stylish while out dog walking - proper dog walking, not carrying the dog in a handbag. They make me think I must try harder when I get dressed.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Women who know how to accessorize amaze me.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Always buy comfortable shoes.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Black and blue is for bruises only.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
My husband told me I wear too much black and asked me to wear more colors. It made me play with color and pattern more.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
When I find a pair of comfortable shoes, I buy more for when the first paint wear out. I'm always convinced I won't ever find another pair of comfortable shoes.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Stiletto heels. I have wide feet and arthritic big toes, so couldn't wear them even if I wanted (which I don't, how would I ever get anywhere quickly in them?).
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mom always likes to look nice, even in her 80s, she will still try to find a nice dress or suit 'just in case' she needs to dress up. She definitely passed that along. That said, her penchant for Capri pants is most distressing and something that will never rub off on me.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I was working as a consultant...and constantly working in new offices and having to hot desk and find places to plug my computer - often crawling around on floors. I stopped wearing skirts and pantyhose, trousers only for work.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I am a person, not a sex object. I buy what I like and feel comfortable in, not what will make men look at me.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Always full make up on my face. Otherwise a pair of black shorts and black tank top, loose and comfortable. My hair is a mess, I've been dog walking and stripping wallpaper all day and it is hot and humid.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I think women are sold the notion that 'pretty matters'. There's a huge industry selling us clothing, makeup, styling products, etc. And for some reason we buy into it. While I logically am jealous of how my husband can shower and get dressed in 10 minutes, no makeup, no blow dry, no perfume, I would never walk out the door like that because I know I would be judged as 'less than' by others. How did we get here??
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
I rarely talk about clothes. If at all, with my husband - he is actually politely honest when asked if something looks good or does he like it.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
There are 'standards of membership' - even for men. At work, it's professional wear, although this is becoming less formal over the years. You try to look the part.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I equate style with trendiness, taste with an eye for quality and more classic pieces. I think I have taste, I know and wear what I like, not what's on the catwalks. I can mix and match pieces and still look presentable. I will probably never be a glamour 'do' (that's ok), but I will definitely never be a glamour 'don't'.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
There are at least five items in my closet that I haven't worn because I bought them too small, thinking I would lose weight. Why do I do that??
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Men's jeans fit better and are often less expensive than women's 'boyfriend fit' jeans.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I think I have a sense of color and space and light that make my home and garden very unique and comfortable places.
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?
The less confident I feel, the bolder the colors that I wear. I feel better when I'm wearing a color that makes me happy.
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 mom taught me to be conscious of the quality of clothing. My dad taught me not to buy into brands. It's an interesting mix...how to get the best item without overpaying for a label.
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?
People who don't seem to notice or care if anyone is judging them on what they are wearing.
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?
If you don't like it, don't wear it.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I usually figure it out the night before, based on what I'm doing the next day, where I am in the laundry schedule, and what I might need to wear later in the week before the wash/dry cleaning is done. It's all very practical.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Comfort and being appropriate for the occasion.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
I wouldn't walk my dog in anything I would 'dress up' in.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Loose (but well cut) black trousers with lots of pockets. A beautifully-knit v-neck cotton sweater in a gorgeous color. A cotton tank underneath. Slip on, waterproof sneakers. Pearl earrings. Trousers and sweater must be machine wash/dry-able and not attract animal hair.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
You = simple, well cut, nice fabrics, comfortable
Not you = the latest trend, too tight, wear it once construction
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I grew up while brands were becoming more mainstream, ie I remember owning sneakers before there were nikes. It makes me somewhat more discerning about what brands I choose to own or not, as I was perfectly fine with my no-label sneakers and don't really need the brand to 'fit in'.
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?
I was very trendy in high school. It was about being noticed for something other than who I was. I was very shy, so I kind of hid behind my clothes - if I looked trendy, everyone would think I WAS trendy.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Neat, clean, and always an antique pin on my lapel - one piece to show that while I can fit in, I'm a little bit unique.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I don't ever wear high heels. I wear men's shoes if I can find a pair I like.
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 often wear men's clothes as they fit better, last longer, cost less, and have more pockets (which I need for when I want to dog walk without a handbag - or to work out outside). I'm wearing men's shorts right now, no one can tell.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
US in the 50's with saddle shoes and poodle skirts. So much fun!!
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Yuck! Do I really look like that? I must be really un-photogenic.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Candace Bergen in Murphy Brown. She used to wear the best power suits, and loads of trousers. She looked feminine but professional.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Skinny jeans. Do people really enjoy wearing them??
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?
What I wear now, but two sizes smaller : )
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Wear what you like! Don't worry about what I think.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I love perfume. I wear it every day.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I don't like to be wrinkled, so ironing is a must.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wear makeup just to walk the dog and work in the garden. I'm not 'me' until I've finished putting on my make-up.
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?
Most things on the runway. I don't look like the models, I probably can't afford it (or can think of better ways to spend the money), and really can't be bothered to think about buying my winter wardrobe six months in advance.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I have a pair of flannel pajama bottoms with stars all over them that my husband gave me about 15 years ago. They are petite, so fit my short legs perfectly. They're soft and broken in, and remind me of my husband and how excited he was to have found something that I liked and that fit perfectly.
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?
My wedding dress. It's so beautiful, i just can't let it go. But really, where/when would I ever wear it again?
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?
Basics - well fitting black trousers, tanks for layering under sweaters or blazers, a very good handbag for work.
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 had a fleece-lined rubber raincoat that was bright pink outside and red inside. With a hood, and loads of pockets. It eventually wore out...after about 8 years. Boden made it. I wish they would bring it back. It was the most practical but fun piece of clothing I've ever owned.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
See q 65/66 - either my flannel pajama bottoms or my wedding dress. Probably the wedding dress since I wouldn't wear the pj bottoms without having anything to wear as a top...
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I would never buy clothes that will only fit when I lose 5 pounds.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
My first job interview suit. I loved it, but sadly, it was 20+ years ago! It is long gone, but I got a lot of use out of it.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Women's petite (29" inseam) trousers with man-sized pockets (2 in front, 2 in back). Oh, and any sort of women's workout bottoms that have secure pockets for keys, phone, a little bit of cash. We don't all work out where we can leave our handbags in a locker. We need pockets!!
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Neat, organized. Likes arranged with likes, grouped in color tones. Things very easy to see/find.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My husband often gives me antique jewelry, and the pieces are all unique and thoughtfully chosen. I treasure them all.
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?
See q68 - the boden rubber raincoat. Most useful thing I have ever owned, especially since I was living in a very rainy city when I owned it.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
Mostly online, often after seeing something in a catalog that looks nice. I don't have a lot of time to go to stores, but do miss the experience of touching and trying on before purchasing.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
I like to wear food scents - vanillas and cinnamons, especially. I like to smell good, but not flowery.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
They always say 'dress up' to the next job level. I definitely do this.
80. How does money fit into all this?
If I only had a dollar to spend, I would buy the highest quality item I could. I'm willing to sacrifice quantity for quality.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
People have been telling me lately that I have beautiful eyes. It's made me more aware of the power of making eye contact with people. I also tend to wear clothes that bring out my eye color.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
April 1, 1968, born in Troy, NY, living in NYC now.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
White middle class
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married, no kids, dog and cat
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I'm tired of women being judged so much on their appearance. While I recognize that men also have certain standards, it's an entirely different level to what women endure.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Tired of thinking about clothes.