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Liisa MacLaren Fong

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

Immediately after I've worked out. Glowing skin. Feeling powerful.

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

Yes, but I admit that I tend to notice women especially poorly put together more than women I admire. I do admire professional women dressed elegantly and in heels. It speaks to a lifestyle that differs from my own current way of life.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

Two main things: people who have mastered a timeless sort of elegance; good quality items from head to tow and people who have a flair for picking that one magical piece or wearing a profusion of color; something they love more than they care about what other people might think or say.

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 think in my late 20's - way too late to miss the bad fashion mistakes of the 80's - I figured out how to dress for my own body type and that I valued classic comfort a lot more than fashion trends. No more perms, no hot pink lip stick, no bows, no shoulder pads, no cropped pants, no neon colors.

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

Don't buy anything on sale unless it fits perfectly. Wait to buy it on sale if you can. Buy good quality shoes and handbags, they last.

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?

No spaghetti straps, nothing strapless; no cropped pants. Skirts, shorts, dresses and jeans - yeah! Other pants - boo. Sparkles - yes! Warm fuzzy sweaters - yes!
Good foundation garments - a must.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

Transformative in that I realized that my daughters were way more sophisticated than I, and that I should trust them....a discussion of appropriate formal attire.

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

I guess I would say, responsibilities first and right away if possible; fun stuff later. And also that quality may not be apparent at first, but over time, one can always tell. That goes for clothes and character.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

Black and white t-shirts - I go through them quickly
Pashmina shawls - maybe I wish I was someone who sipped tea at the Mandarin Oriental all afternoon draped in a beautiful shawl.

10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?

Yes! I've hit a couple of home runs with my mother. There is a sweater I gave her 25 years ago that she is complimented on ever single time she wears it.
I have jewelry tucked away for my 3 girls; waiting until they are old enough to have them. Ruby heart necklaces and nice watches. I can't wait to give them to all three.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

Capri pants, cropped tops (since I've had children), harem pants, gladiator sandals, 5" heels,...

12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?

I have exactly my mother's body type. I've just taken better care (stayed fit) of it than she has. We both prefer pretty classsic colors and styles. But she goes off on some goofy colors and is more prone to try to follow a trend that doesn't suit our body type than I am.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

More often than not, people are borrowing from me.

14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?

I would say that when I moved to Hong Kong there were a lot more shopping opportunities and I had the income to support exploration of a better quality of clothing. Some hits and a few misses.

15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?

Occasionally, with a pithy saying on a t-shirt.

16. Please describe your body.

I am fairly tall and would describe myself as athletic in build.

17. Please describe your mind.


18. Please describe your emotions.

Well that's a Pandora's Box given that I am currently taking this survey to partially avoid thinking about my 16-year-old's battle with anorexia.


19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?

Black linen shorts, a black and tan diamond/striped tank top. Victoria's Secret bra and Hane's underwear.
No make-up. Prodesign glasses. My hair is wet and twisted up in a bun.

20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

I think your clothing choices can reflect your personality and also your self-esteem. I know as a kid I rarely felt that I had the right thing to wear to almost any event other than going to school or outside to play. It is important to feel comfortable in your own skin and in your own clothes.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My daughters and my sister.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Very little. I'll dress more formally as a sign of respect if I am going to the theater or court or to school.

23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?

I don't think I have either more than average. But I believe strongly that having taste is more important.

24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?

Yes, a Fendi leather duster that I got on is just too big for me. Maybe if I gain 30 lbs.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?

Lycra work out shorts (think Nike booty shorts) work well under skirts on windy days....and in case you need Spanx but don't have any.

26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?

My home. Clean lines, warm colors, comfortable.

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 I speak in public I get nervous. So I am careful to dress confidently and comfortably.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

In my early 20's while living in San Francisco, someone told me that "a girl like me would never consider dating a guy like him." I was genuinely puzzled. He was a smart, funny guy, who was bald. I like smart amd funny. I realized later in the conversation that he perceived me to be "the beautiful girl." I was stunned. I had always thought I was "the smart girl." It was a bizarre shift in self-perception to realize that since I was now out of school, people I was just meeting were judging my entire character based on how I looked. And that evidently, I looked better than I thought I looked.

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?

First grade. I was stuck wearing dresses to school every day....I would have killed for some shorts.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

Feb. 17 1965
Great Falls, Montana
Taipei, Taiwan

Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

I moved to Asia for a job afer biz school. Met "the guy" who is Taiwanese. I'm conventional, he's an entrepreneur. I married him poor, we're very not poor now. Go figure.

What kind of work do you do?

School Board Director, business owner and mom.

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?

Married, for now.
Three daughters.

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