Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
when i have a good looking put together outfit - always applying the " rule of 3" . 3 cool things- 2 is not enough, 4 is too many.
by the way i almost NEVER have the same color socks or shoes. 2 different convers sneakers/ 2 different colored espadrills- i am famous for it in my town. if my shoes or socks match people ask me if i feel ok.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
people who are wearing what i would want to wear. my best compliment to someone is " i would have bought that.
i also notice women who should have rethought the outfit before they left the house. i worked at glamour and dos and donts are in my DNA.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
the attention to detail, the fit of a jacket. the addition of a thoughtful hat. dress for the job you want people to think you have. i also notice good teeth and a great haircut.
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?
when i got the job at glamour and i realized i was dressing for the girls i saw everyday at the office. i was learning from them- the environment fed us- we got to see fall stuff in spring. we knew what to look for and how to put it together before everyone else. this was in 1969 when glamour and mademoiselle were IT for young women. at condé nast you could tell which magazine a girl worked for by what they were wearing- you learned to predict. if you dressed in a bohemian way at glamour someone would say you look very mademoiselle today. not in a bad way but people noticed stuff- and immediately you knew when you made a mistake because you DIDN'T get a compliment. the cool thing is if you were wearing something well put together and one of the fashion editors would take you into a meeting and say LOOK AT THIS -- look how she put this together...
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
i shop in mens departments- in thrift shops and stores like j.crew and ralph lauren rugby and brooks brothers. i can find trousers that are long enough for me and with a little tailoring in the waist they are fine. i am almost 70 and my ankles do not look good enough for these dreadful cropped pants and leggings that abound in the stores. i am not timid about trying stuff on in the mens sections - it's kind of fun.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
i used to wear my father's suits to work when the annie hall thing was happening- i would add a white pique vest and pop the collar so i didn't look like a lesbian or trans gender person. not a lot of people can pull that look off. i still wear tuxedos to events- but it does feel odd to be dancing with my husband in trousers so i don't dance with him, rather than not wear the tuxedo.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
someone once told me that being tall ( which i am) meant that i could carry just about any fashion i wanted to wear. that gave me license to experiment ( kind of a get out of jail free card- or dumbo's magic feather). mantra i would share: good posture/well cut clothing/ good attitude/good grooming.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
i consider myself lucky. things have always worked out for me, so i rarely freak out. i've only had one bad job that lasted 3 months. i have had only 2 bad haircuts, and one bad permanent. i have had only one bad boyfriend, and a very good husband. i have a very good "eye" for stuff. i am a good photographer. i was born with the acquisition gene which manifests in shopping for myself/shopping for my newspaper column, and taking pictures. all are within the HUNTER GATHERER category.
the things that need getting done in my relationships get done by the person best suited for the job. my husband and i do not share checking accounts. i do not think anyone should know how much i pay for a haircut. EVER.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
you can never have too many black gaberdine pleated trousers by ralph lauren. you can never have too many black blazers. i buy shoes in multiples in different colors so i can mix and match. i shop at thrift shops, and i have 3 norma kamali sleeping bag coats because YOU CANNOT WALK AWAY FROM A NORMA KAMALI SLEEPING BAG COAT IN A THRIFT SHOP. or you shouldn't.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
every christmas, and every birthday- i always choose carefully for my friends.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
cropped pants ( my ankles) / low rise blue jeans ( i am nearly 70 and i do need to lean over). sweatpants and or flip flops. one is a disgrace and the other is a disgusting display of parts of the body meant to be covered. i do not want to see toes while i am eating in a restaurant, for example.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
my mother never colored her hair- i do not color my hair- my mother was a pretty zany dresser, but never had the budget for designer clothes. she wanted to look well bred, and did, but with a little bit of a flair- a scarf or an interesting brooch. she worked as a school administrator so i got the concept of a working wardrobe as an element of the closet. when she came home from work she would put on a wrap skirt and a blouse- there were never sweats or " comfortable clothes" which would have been considered sloppy. she kept her figure and was proud of her bosom. neither small nor large but not saggy even into her 90's.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
all the time- if you stop growing you stagnate.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
when i retired to east hampton from new york it took a while but i realized i no longer needed or wanted to wear the color GRAY. it did not look good in the country. gray flannel pants don;t count. but a gray armani suit for example, worn in the country, even with pink sneakers, prompts the question- are you going to court?
so gray doesn't work for me out here. also boots. because i take my shoes off when i come into my house and often 20 minutes later have to go out again- and wrestling with boots is a drag. so slip on flats is where it is at. i admit to owning 3 pairs of uggs but they are easy on and off.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
i dress patrician but vote democratic.
16. Please describe your body.
5'8, pear shape silho. not athletic. but not heavy. well proportioned. good posture.
17. Please describe your mind.
my mind is creative/ energetic/lively/ optimistic.
18. Please describe your emotions.
i am level headed, optimistic and i do not hold a grudge. i like my own company.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
ralph lauren blue denim shirt/pleated front from rugby men (!) /white llbean jeans/ bare feet/ naturally gray, very long straight hair in a low pony tail. black round reading glasses / heavy frames ( architect style) - black bra/ nude colored undies/ wedding ring/ diamond and pearl earrings ( not dangly- i am too old and my lobes have stretched) NO makeup/ ponds dry skin moistuirizer on my face/ lubriderm on my legs. no polish on nails.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
this stuff being what i think about clothes? it is important because i look good and someone will read it and it will be like having a conversation with someone with the same vocabulary.
maybe i will make a new friend or a convert to something as simple as zany unmatched socks or shoes.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
anyone who will listen. the volunteers at the thrift shop where i edit the incoming donations. a friend who taught me to sew 45 years ago. a friend from glamour who lives in texas and who works at a store. i talk to myself about clothes when i watch the academy awards- i say out loud "she needs to rethink that outfit " or " what was she thinking" - but i say that at the thrift shop when a particularly amazing donation comes in- what was she thinking to have bought it and why is she getting rid of it- or both. fashion is not a silent subject. it's noisy.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
i don't know how to answer this.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
i have good taste ( well cut ralph lauren type) and i have great style because i will not buy a complete outfit and wear it that way- i buy sportswear pieces and mix it up. people tell me i have great style. this is very important to me. sometimes i trot out a garment that hasn't seen the light of day for a while- not because i want to wear it but for the challenge of making it work - plus i feel sorry for it because it is neglected. but often it is neglected for a reason and the exercise doesn't work BUT i could never settle for a uniform every day of a white shirt and black jeans or something like that- too damn dull.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
custom made boots- by the time they were finished they were out of style.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
shopping at thrift shops- you learn to have an open mind and your fingers learn how to find cashmere and good wool without even looking. the trick is to look like you spent a lot but didn't.
when you can't figure out the third thing to accessorize with in the rule of 3- fold a liberty print scarf into a rectangle and tie it onto the strap of your bag. this adds a little oomph and takes NO time. you look better for it and your gait and your attitude will change because you made that little effort.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
i drive a stylish car/ my home is stylish/ my photography work is stylish.
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- when in doubt i ask myself what would katherine hepburn have worn, and i find that in my closet and wear that.
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 have a good eye/ i can find the good thing. it's a knack.
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 father was a zany dresser- pocket square/ ascots. he liked navy blue with white dots. his mother made his under shorts for him out of blue and white dotted material. my mother did not follow that tradition for him, by the way. he thought the prince of wales was a good dresser and showed me why. i like menswear because of him.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
i am almost 70, i have been married for over 30 years. enough said.
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?
feel comfortable- if that means wearing sweatpants and leisure suits when in europe or nyc- then they should rethink what comfortable LOOK like. if comfortable= confident- it means you know you look good, you don't have to keep adjusting your hair or your pearls or pulling your sweater down because it is riding up. you have checked all of those things BEFORE you go somewhere and the confidence you feel in how you are put together should make you comfortable in your own personally created environment and nobody should be able to break that if you are solid in it.
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?
dress to suit your body-
dress for the occasion.
less is more, with a little zing.
for example i like pleated pants because i need to carry things in pockets: car keys batteries for cameras, note pads. pleated pants give roomy pockets/ i get chilly/ i always wear a jacket- it covers my aging upper arms and again gives pockets and polish. form follows function.
also if you wear a hat- even if it is a beret you get credit for being well dressed. i do not know why but the same outfit on the street with and without a hat will always get a 2nd look at the hat person.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
a good sunset/ a peony/ a galloping horse/ a milkweed tassel.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
bad teeth/ a comb-over/ too tight clothing on too big women/ suggestive clothing on too-young girls. thongs.
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 know how to edit out certain colors that will never be worn: most greens/ all purples/ medium to dark brown colors. all look crappy with gray hair. first by color/ second by cut. immediately i do not consider dresses and skirts unless floor length and i never consider sleeveless or even cap sleeves- i am almost 70- these things are obvious.
no slit skirts/ nothing fussy. nothing fuzzy, nothing polyester.
start with the basics/ classics and embellish on your own. i never buy matching items that make an outfit.
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 just pretend that it is me looking at a "twin"- my husband always says i look good, so did my parents- i am the one who remembers the mistakes and the outside me reminds the other me that i should look at those 2 colors in daylight before i go somewhere to make sure the blacks are ok together or the tweeds mix in the eye and go well with the khaki or not.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
i am considering if i will be chilly (jacket or sweater)/ if i will need to be walking on grass or sand which will dictate the quality of shoe i will wear.
i mostly dress as tho i am going to bump into someone important. i want to look great just in case that ever happens, even if i am walking in mud.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
i want it to be clear that i respected myself and the people i will see- that will be reflected in how i present myself to the world.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
dressing up is event dressing/ that would be a sequined blazer/ tuxedo trousers/ vintage 40's dinner dress ( long) .
dressing is for a meeting/ a luncheon/ a photo shoot where i represent my newspaper.
getting dressed is what i do for the day which is just a bit more casual- but really most of the people i see think i am " dressed up" when i am really just wearing clothes. i wear a rhinestone pin on the lapel of a tweed riding jacket, white gap tee shirt and khaki pants, mismatched high top sneakers and a fedora. is this dressed or dressed up.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
i wear a rhinestone pin on the lapel of a tweed riding jacket, white gap tee shirt and khaki pants, mismatched high top sneakers and a fedora. ralph lauren/annie hall/katherine hepburn.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
black velvet is me/ spandex is not me.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
new york/ white middle class/ private school/ eastern long island/ art school.
in sum: cool and classic.
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/ which was an art school- i was fresh out of private school uniforms and surrounded by a black tights/ hand made sandals bohemian group. all west village coffee house, artsy earrings and murky colors- pre hippie stuff. it was fun but it was a lot of work building a wardrobe from nothing but school uniforms. fitting in with the rebels- hoho.
i kept some of it and moved on to black turtle necks with madras skirts in college and then i started working at glamour and that was that. clothes became FASHION.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
everything i do before i go out is geared to looking professional, put together and on my game.
makeup is the last thing i worry about because the first impression is from afar when you are over 50. i wear glasses with big frames - they cover the need for make-up. at my age my lashes are sparse, and i work outside as a photographer and my hair sticks to lipstick and lip gloss so i don;t bother with it. sunscreen is KEY.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
i set the tone for myself- i am a freelance- i cut a swath with my mismatched shoes or socks. the people i encounter expect a little something funny from me. i like to deliver something fun, if just for myself in the form of a funny pocket square or an arm full of bracelets.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
no. does not apply.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
people who are creative always find ways to make the uniform a little personal: a white silk shirt instead of white cotton- that kind of thing. i am sure i did that in school. i know my friends who wore uniforms in their high schools did just that.
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?
english tweed hacking jacket- very fitted at the waist or a black woo- same cut.
a white shirt, starched collar with stays, turned up.
tan gaberdine pleated yves st laurent gaberdine trousers with cuffs. a souvenir beaded belt from some exotic airport/resort/state. a dark red quilted chanel bag with a liberty print scarf tied around the chain. stubbs and wootton velvet embroidered shoes ( custom/ my initials)- the shoe color would be slightly darker than the trousers/ the embroidery would be tarnished gold and quite subtle. barring that, leopard print needlepoint shoes.
a stetson fedora/ same color as the pants- no dent in the top. silk socks from paul stewart with a clock on the ankle. 6 or 7 thin gold bangles from tiffany. a bright white smile/ light blush ( used to be called baby fever) hair in a loose braid. in spring/ simmer this would be linen stuff and a straw boater. in deep winter the addition of a dr zhivago shearling ankle length coat or one of my norma kamali sleeping bag coats. these items would take me from montauk to mombassa.
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?
good lord no- they don't get much variety in their wardrobes. no high heels, no rhinestones, no norma kamali. what a bore.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
i used to think edwardian but i really am a gibson girl at heart. the person i fantasize about being, in art, is mrs isaac newton phelps stokes painted by john singer sargent. that's my LOOK .
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
i think i should get my lazy eye fixed, but otherwise i like what i see.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
ralph lauren/ katherine hepburn/ the annie hall character/ the gibson girl/ louise brooks for hair/
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
i once had a dream that someone donated all of my clothes to the Hadassah and left me with only purple and green polyester jumpsuit to wear outside to track down my clothes at a warehouse. i work up hyperventilating.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
leather pants/ bluejean jacket/ biker chick. also gauzy hippie pre-Raphaelite romantic doesn't work for me. floozie doesn't work either.
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?
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
trying to repel rapists/ trying to attract people like myself.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
dress for your body type and know when you are too old for cleavage and never wear sweats outside of the gym.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
i do not wear it- it bothers my husband. i like the smell of shalimar and obsession. i would wear them if i could.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
clothes clean and ironed. cat hair removed from black garments. clean shiny hair. sun screen.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
only for night and special occasions.
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?
cropped pants. they require thought and good ankles. they are impractical in winter. i also do not understand ankle boots because they stop too soon to work with trousers and they look like hell with a skirt.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
lipstick red norma kamali sleeping bag coat from 1979. still going strong.
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?
a griege ( gray/biege the color of a clam)sequined blazer. i paid a lot for it at a yard sale so i couldn't really try it on.- the sequins on the collar scratch my neck. i can only wear it with a turtle neck and that limits the use. i keep it because once a year i trot it out for a christmas party but it's not a cheerful color. it was a mistake
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?
anything ralph lauren from the thrift shops. excellent value/ well made and often not something i would by retail but will give a try- a short jacket with a peplum, a pair of orange cargo pants. if i don't like them eventually i re-donate them.
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?
a black and white pinstriped suit with 2 pairs of pleated pants, custom made for me by a tailor- a gift from a boyfriend. a gangster suit a la yves saint laurent. incredibly cool . i got married, became a size 10 instead of the size six. handed the suit down to my stepdaughter. so i wish i had it back but in a size 10.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
norma kamali red sleeping bag coat.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
i bought a russian style shearling coat with frogs- very dr zhivago- i paid it off over a few months. the thing about shearling is that it is like velcro and anything you wear moves around in the sheepskin texture and your dress ends up in the sleeve of the coat without you knowing it- OR you can get it on over a sweater because they get caught on each other. it was not a good idea. i gave it away eventually. then i bought another one, years later, revillion- very chic- very cheap at a yardsale. bigger size same problem. i still have it and i rarely wear it but i like how it looks on the hanger.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
i bought an yves saint laurent bow blouse- silk, of course, at exactly the right time to make a very good impression on a fella. he liked my style and eventually bought me the gangster suit, see above. we became a couple, in part, because of that blouse.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
the perfect tweed riding jacket- called hacking jacket- which riders no longer wear and which can't be found in america even in vintage. also the perfect fair isle hand knit vest- ditto.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
my closets are arranged like a store- sweaters and t shirts on shelves- i like to " shop" my closets. things get lost in drawers. underwear is in bins that come off the shelves. i never match my socks. so they get thrown into a big bin that lives on the floor or a closet.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
any gift that is especially chosen is special even if i don't really like it. i still have a coat - red and black lumber jacket plaid ankle length coat a boyfriend bought for me in 1975. the effort he went to to get it was huge- to this day he doesn't remember buying it but i know he did, i know it was christmas and i remember the store in chelsea it came from. he gave good presents. it's special because of that. i still wear it.
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?
red cashmere shawl/ safari jacket/ black velvet slippers from england with my monogram in gold. from 1984.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
i buy vintage clothes on ebay. i shop thriftshops, and i buy white painters pants from the paint supply stores.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
i like almond soap.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
there is no answer for this. i dress for who i want people to think i am.
80. How does money fit into all this?
if i had all the money in the world and could have items custom made to my needs i would sincerely miss the HUNT for the unexpected. the serendipity of just prowling around. i think movie stars miss out on the fun when they have 7 dresses delivered to their door.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
black tote bag full of camera equipment. and my big round glasses.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
sometimes people say an outfit i am wearing makes me look slender which makes me think that sometimes i look NOT slender. i don;t think about it much because i get chilly and i wear jackets and that's that.
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?
my first day of high school - out of school uniform. i didn't want to wear my own clothes so i wore a black sweater set of my mother's. dressing for your first day of school is huge. i also remember what i wore to my 8th grade graduation, high school graduation, college graduation, first day of college, first day at Glamour and what i wore the day i met my future husband on a blind date.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
2/26/45/ anniston alabama- raised in manhattan/retired to east hampton, long island
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
private school/ artsy high school/small preppy college/ career at the preppy GLAMOUR magazine as a graphic designer. pretty much mixed everything together. white woman/ naturally gray hair. middle class.
What kind of work do you do?
i am a photo journalist for the east hampton star, a weekly paper ( of record) at the end of long island.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married, with a stepdaughter
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
i worked at Glamour for 32 years, i now produce a shopping column which i photograph, edit and write the copy for aside from shopping the local stores to find the items. i volunteer at a very chi chi thrift shop in this chi chi town, and i edit the donations, create fashion portfolios out of the donated clothes and weekly dress the 4 store mannequins in "stories" to educate the buyers. all black and white/ or red white and blue for holiday or prom outfits- in otherwords i edit the incoming clothes and save groups for special features. i treat the store like a magazine.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
i love filling this out. i think a book with these questions posed to ladies over 50 would give you a totally different story.
almost 70, photographer for local newspaper in a resort town on long island, 32 years at glamour magazine as graphic designer and illustrator. considered by many to be a classy dresser, i consider my style to be classic with spunk. this was fun