Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
Naked in my bathroom
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes--thin girls who can afford Free People clothing
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I admire girls who can look put-together and neat but a little undone at the same time. In short, girls with real style who buy really nice clothes that they can pull off.
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?
No. I still have no idea what I'm doing.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
I buy my shorts really loose in big sizes.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Wear whatever piece of tolerable/clean clothing you can find that doesn't make you feel self-conscious walking around in public.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I asked my roommate why she loved clothes so much and she said "it's how I express myself" and all of a sudden I felt like I understood fashion and the art of dressing more vividly than I ever had.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I focus on the bigger picture. I am always planning the future in my head. I'm optimistic. Even if things are very bleak, I am sure that I will be able to work it out. I will find a way to make it look like I want it to.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Big beige sweaters. Black leggings. Beautiful silver rings. I buy them because they make me feel stylish and comfortable. They make me feel like myself.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
No not really.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I've never been keen on the poncho. I think they look kind of silly. And I feel that sunglasses in general do not look good on my face so I tend never to wear them unless I have to in order to read a book on the beach.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother has a very similar body to me. Unfortunately, she strongly dislikes her body and therefore dislikes my body. She tends to have a masculine edge: black pants, men's shoes. I don't really dress that way. But the one thing I inherited from her was wearing colorful t-shirt dresses. They look damn good on both of us.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I used to steal my sister's clothes growing up. She had an impressive closet, impeccable style. I stole many ideas from her, such as long, pretty pea coats. My roommate looks amazing in everything she puts on but her body is so different from mine that it's hard to absorb her style and make it my own.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Sort of. When I got to college I leaned away from the hyper feminine. I stopped wanting to show my breasts all the time. I realized I could be more androgynous. I didn't have to be pretty or cute all the time. I could be tough. I could wear weird things. I could wear whatever the fuck I wanted, and it didn't have to be for male attention. It could be for me. That was a good feeling.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I think so, though not always intentionally. I think anything a woman wears becomes inherently political. If I wear a short skirt despite the fact that I know I'll get catcalled, that becomes a statement. To me it means that I won't let those men control my daily life. Sometimes I think that my outfits imply that I don't have to look neat, dammit. This is what I look like. Deal with it. That can be a political tool for women. It depends. Every outfit says something different.
16. Please describe your body.
I have medium sized breasts, a small waist, very large hips, a normal sized butt, thighs that curve out a bit. I have a sizable tummy. In short, I am curvy.
17. Please describe your mind.
Full, colorful, passionate, poetic, artistic. Futuristic. Strong. Trippy. Intellectual. Dreamy. Inspiring. Twisted.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Wild. But I love it. I feel a lot.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Wearing plaid pajama shorts. No underwear. No bra. Gray loose tank top. Glasses. Messy bun that is falling off my head.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It is! It effects so much of how I view myself. It effects how other people view me. Those things are very important.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My roommate. My mom. Most of my friends.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I'm still in college so that affects the way I dress. I go to a New York school with a lot of "hipsters" so that changes what I view as cool or not. It makes me want to be edgy and different. I also try not to show off my body if I'm meeting with a professor or administrator.
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 style. I think I have good taste because I can spot good style when I see it. Which is why I'm sure I have very little style. I think both are very important, but style is probably more important because it is an execution of an idea.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Probably a party dress that I ruined with an iron and never got to wear. It still makes me sad to think about.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
High wasted skirts cinch my waist and make me look thin when I actually am not. Big sweaters are trendy so they can make me look stylish when sometimes I am just trying to hide my body. Boots make me feel tough when I am feeling sad.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I have a style of talking, a style of conversation. I have spiritual style. I have style in language and the way I smile.
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. In the winter when I am afraid of getting depressed, I wear warm, comfortable things that give me peace, such as big sweaters and leggings. I dress in a way that feels familiar. When I am feeling insecure about my body I will occasionally sexualize my style in order to gain validation that my body is beautiful and desirable.
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 don't know what I like at all. It fluctuates all the time. I don't think I have a sense of knowing exactly what I like in life either. Any time I think that I do, something will complicate that notion and change my perspective.
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?
They taught me to be afraid of my body by telling me I dressed too sexually, even when I wasn't intending to.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I wear high waisted, short skirts. I wear tight shirts that show off the shape of my breasts and hips. I wear eyeliner and green eyeshadow to make my eyes look brighter. I let my hair down loose.
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 feel comfortable when I don't have to worry about what I look like. Comfort to me means releasing the burden of comparison and potential judgement. It means being free. Confidence comes to me when I'm feeling spiritually satisfied or emotionally whole. It has very little to do with what I'm 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?
Wear whatever the fuck you want. Wear what makes you happy and full.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Good poetry, Hillary Clinton quotes, Georgia O'Keefe paintings, and Gershwin.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Celebrity culture. Narcissism. Gossip. Shame.
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?
If I would wear it tomorrow, then I know it will end up being worn. If I am buying for a body I don't have, if it doesn't fit quite right, if I wouldn't walk out of the dressing room wearing it and feel okay, then I will never wear it.
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?
They always think my body is strange and ugly. They always compare me to skinny girls. They think I look sloppy. They wonder what I could possibly be thinking by wearing that. They think I look like a fool and have no sense of style. This outer eye is based on my sister.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
My process is finding something clean. Something that won't make me feel exposed or broken. Something that I can throw on. Something that makes me feel like myself.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
A compromise between what the outside world and society considers beautiful and what I consider beautiful.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is boring, irritating, and only occasionally satisfying. Dressing up is an anxiety inducing mess, and rarely a success.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Black leggings, leather boots, a white tank top with no bra, and a big cozy cardigan.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
I have absolutely no idea.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I am half Latin American. It occasionally makes me view myself as exotic. It also makes me not care as much about what I look like. When I think about my father's humbleness, grace, and experiences with poverty it makes materialism and external appearance feel completely irrelevant.
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 dressed for male attention in high school and wore cleavage-bareing shirts all the time. I wanted to look like a specific idea of sexy. It was a very painful time when I felt what I looked like comprised my identity and self-worth.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Nothing really. I haven't had to yet. If I did have to I would probably try to cover my body more. Maybe blow-dry my hair. Try to look neat.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
My "workplace" is the classroom. And I usually just wear what I always do. I don't dress any differently for that.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
In high school I had to wear a sports uniform to play field hockey and lacrosse.
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
A little bit of both.
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?
Probably jeans and a t-shirt. Classic and comfortable. It blends in and guarantees that no one will think you are too outrageous or care that much about what you are wearing.
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?
Yes! Always. I wish that I didn't have to worry about looking sexual all the time. I wish it didn't matter. But more than anything I think that men have it much easier when it comes to dressing up and looking sharp. And that is something I consistently desire.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I think there have been eras in the past when curvier forms were valued more than rail thin ones. That would be a nice change.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
"I should really go get my eyebrows waxed" or "Ah! No!"
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
I'm sure I have but I can't remember any right now.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Anything that shows off my stomach. That would be so terrifying and hard for me.
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?
Everything and anything. Crop tops, cute shorts.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
Probably mostly myself. Sometimes I dress to attract myself, convince myself that I am beautiful. Sometimes I dress in a way that disgusts me if I am feeling masochistic. I also think that in general, I try to appear attractive to men.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
No. Every woman has their own desires and needs. I also disagree with the idea of dressing "rules" in general. To me the concept implies rules about the body, which I think are inherently sexist.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I don't wear it. I like the idea of it though, the idea of having a signature smell. I think everyone has a natural scent already though. Perfume is just the icing on the cake.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I need to exercise occasionally to make my body feel presentable. I need to be wearing clean clothes to feel presentable and not have too much of my body showing. Makeup helps.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
It is a tool to find confidence, but also an immense nusiance in my opinion.
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 have no interest in the American Apparel vision of beauty, meaning anything skin tight. I have no interest because it is impossible to wear these things with the body that I have.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
My clothes are mostly sweaters in neutral colors, tank tops, plain t-shirts, high waisted skirts, sundresses, jeans, and leggings. A few jackets for fall and winter. My jewelry is simple and silver. Many rings and long necklaces. Some turquoise.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My green utility-style jacket from the Gap. I love that thing. I feel so alive in it.
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?
I keep a long black maxi skirt. I will never wear it because I look pretty terrible in it. But I keep it because I feel elegant and on-trend just by being near it.
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?
Comfortable leather boots. I wear them until they are falling apart and get the most use out of them. Also green jackets. For some reason I love green jackets. Basically, things that make me instantly feel cool and stylish without any effort.
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?
Yes! I lost a big cozy sweaters when I was in Madrid. I think I left it in a restaurant. I miss it because it made me feel at home.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My green jacket.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Only invest in clothes I really loved and felt passionate about.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
I paid a lot of money for a leotard. I love it and still wear it all the time.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
I bought this weird, slightly sheer top with vertical stripes when I was a Freshman in college. It marked my acceptance of my own beauty standard. It was the beginning of a time when I started to care less what other people thought about what was on my body. I just liked it. So I bought it. I didn't think about what other people might perceive it as.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
A dress that makes me feel tough. They all make me feel like a barbie doll.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
All of my clothes end up on the floor. I basically live off the floor.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
A good friend brought me back a ring from Turkey with an evil eye on it. I wore it for years until I lost it one day. But it was very special and very beautiful.
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?
On impulse I bought a 5 dollar shirt from a discount store when I was in high school. It was a cheaply made loose pale pink tank top with small buttons going up the front. It ended up becoming the emblem of my style and something I adored. One of the first pieces of clothing I felt happy, comfortable, and beautiful in.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I'd say I shop in extremes. Sometimes I am very intentional and have to find the perfect thing. Sometimes I am impulsive and buy everything in sight just because it is on sale.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
As long as I don't smell like shit, I don't care all that much.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I don't want to be too girly so that people will take me seriously.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Always a stressor. I don't pay over $40 for any piece of clothing, ever. This can be constraining.
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 wear several silver rings every day.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
My mother told me when I was little that I was overweight. It changed my life and made me begin to see my body in a completely different context, as a source of shame and suffering. As a site of pain. It certainly changed the way I dressed and viewed myself. I wanted to cover myself up so that no one would judge me.
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?
When I was six I had a teal tank top that I adored. I remember loving the color. I wore it to the last day of school in June and felt like I matched the spirit of the day. I felt like summer itself.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
My birth date is 7/23/93
I was born in New Jersey
I now live in Manhattan
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
My father is Latin American and my mother is from the United States.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a student of history and literature who is always writing poetry and essays. I aspire to be a journalist, activist, and writer.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I am single
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I feel a little better about my style actually. I'm not sure why. I feel sort of cleansed, as though I have released something I have been holding inside for many years.