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Sarah Cordenillo

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I feel completely put together.....clothes, hair, makeup, jewelry.

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

Yes. Women (and men) who have effortless.

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

I love when a woman screams personal style without being a walking billboard of brands and logos. Don't get me wrong because I love a vintage Chanel bag just like the next gal, but it's the discreet use of an iconic piece that I admire most.

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 my divorce I had to seriously scale down. I moved out of state and into a smaller apartment and either sold or gave away so much. At one point I went from having a walk in closet to living out of 3 suitcases. But in those 3 suitcases I had everything I needed....pencil skirts, stiletto patent pumps, jeans, red lipstick, mascara, pearl stud earrings. I figured out what my essentials were.

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

Try everything on so you don't waste time and money returning. I'm not a fan of online shopping. I like to touch and feel and try on before buying.

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

I feel better when my shoes and purse match, that's just me.

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

Once worked for a kick ass female executive that I admired for her work & personal style. She clearly could afford her wardrobe and jewelry. In my id conversation I complimented her on her bling, which I was convinced were studded in flawless diamonds. She confessed to what were cz pieces mixed with her tiffany gifts from her husband all tastefully combined. To me that showed she was smart. Even though someone can clearly afford to be dripping in bling, there was no pretentiousness there.

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

I don't function well when there is clutter in my life--- clutter in my closet, clutter in my home, cluttered relationships. I like to keep things simple and organized.

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

Black pencil skirts and patent leather pumps. I work in the investment business and try to maintain a corporate wardrobe.

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

My fiancé is very picky and I pride myself in finding the perfect gifts or I give nothing at all. He loved the beautiful wallet I gave him and I smile every time he reaches to pay for the dinner

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

Uggs. I don't care how comfortable they are. They are just UGGly.

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

She wore nurses uniforms and duster house nope I don't go there. She did have a love for jewelry and shiny things that must've rubbed off on me.

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

Yes and that is all

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

When I was a young mom I look back at those pictures and say wow I really did look frumpy in my twenties

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


16. Please describe your body.

Short with curves. But don't call me petite.

17. Please describe your mind.

Open and progressive

18. Please describe your emotions.

I'm a Gemini. Want more?

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

In bed so not a stitch of makeup. Just a tshirt, boy shorts and coconut oil.

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

What I wear is who i am

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Anyone who will listen to me

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I work in corporate finance so I have "uniform" pieces in my wardrobe. Also my family went to church every Sunday growing up. Getting ready for Sunday services meant dressing up and putting your best foot forward.

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, my style is still a work in progress. I think having good taste means I won't settle for wearing something that doesn't look or feel good on.

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

I don't like wasting money

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

I'm short so black pumps with slightly pointed toes make my legs look longer. Nude pumps too.

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

My apartment is an extension and representative of my personal style. I dress my home too.

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?

Yeah when I know I have a big day ahead at work. Or when I'm interviewing for a new job.

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 I am very discerning, have always been.

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 dad always was a dresser. He worked a blue color job all his life but outside of work, like social functions, church going....he was always put together. He had suits made, ironed his own shirts, used handkerchiefs, shined his shoes.

30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?

Red lipstick, the right undergarments, heels and perfume!

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?

I am a short person so heels to me are comfortable because they add height. I have better conversations with people when I can look them in the eyes.

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?

It's all about the fit.

33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?

In clothes---quality and unique craftsmanship

34. What do you consider very ugly?

When something looks cheap and chintzy or when there was no effort in putting a look, home, gift, or event together.

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?


37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

I give myself 45 min to shower, moisturize, hair, makeup, dressed and out the door. On Sundays I will shop my closet and hang a weeks outfits outside my closet with shoes ready to go.

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?


39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?

I dress to get out of bed. I dress up to get out of the house.

40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?

Pumps, pencil skirts, sheath dresses, la pliage tote, my uniqlo feather weight nylon trench, seed pearl stud earrings

41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?

Me: minimal chic. Not me: boho chic

42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?

Family immigrated from the Phillippines to San Francisco when I was a year old. Island fashion did not influence me. There was much more interesting fashion in the Bay Area growing up in the 80s!

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 grew up from the big hair and clothes of the 80s. Lots of hairspray back then.

44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?

Good grooming. It's not all about the clothes. Regular visits to the salon, waxing, mani-pedis.

45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?

I don't wear business suits per se. I like to mix it up with cardigans, statement jewelry, pops of color, a brilliant handbags and shoes.

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?

Is shopping an extracurricular activity? If so I like to wear dresses and shoes that slip on. Makes it easier in the dressing rooms.

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?


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?

Levi's 501 jeans. They are timeless.

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?


51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?

Paris in any era

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?

I shoulda smiled

54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?

They are too obvious

55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?

Not that I can recall

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?


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?

A bikini and strapless dresses

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?

My fiancé. Could be in a tshirt and jeans or dressed up to go out and he always tells me I look cute. Anyone one else I could care less because I like to think I essentially dress for myself.

59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?

Look in the mirror before you leave the house

60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?

Love, love, love perfume. Just wish more people knew how to wear it.

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

I have to shower and moisturize. I have to plan my outfits in advance. When I'm in a hurry and grabbing anything out of the closet to wear, it throws me off.

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

It's my war paint

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?

I'm a young grandmother. Don't ever expect me to dress like one.

64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?

Lots of black basics, minimal chic pieces. Simple jewelry. Shoes! Mostly heels.

65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?

My solitaire engagement ring that my fiancé gave me when he proposed.

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?

Bright orange wool jersey coat that I bought in a vintage shop. It has a tailors label and is just beautifully cut. It must've been custom made for some one my height.

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?

Quality shoes are worth the investment. Cheap shoes cause bunions and other problems.

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 smoking jacket style blazer I had in the 90s. It fit so well and went with everything.

69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?

My trench coat

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

Buy only what I'll use

71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?

A Kate spade purse. No.

72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?

Yes something I bought from consignment

73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?

Vintage LV travel trunk

74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?

Neat and in color spectrum order. I'm OCD.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

My engagement ring. My mother has in her will that I'm to get her pearls.

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?

A pair of havianna flip flops I bought out of necessity while on vacation. They are in my tote whenever my heels are starting to take their toll.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

When I'm bored

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?


79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

I like to think I have my shit together so looking pulled together is always the goal when dressing

80. How does money fit into all this?

I shop less because I need less

81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?

I never leave the house without a ring and earrings on

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


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?

Sitting here wishing I could remember.....

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

May 22, 1967 / Phillippines / Oakland, CA

What kind of work do you do?

Financial services

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

engaged. 2 adult children from a previous marriage. 1 precocious little granddaughter.

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I've always loved clothes and fashion. Attended FIDM.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

It was fun

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