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Charlene Campbell

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm wearing black.

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

I notice women on the street all the time. I admire women that look put together with a tweak that shows something about them.

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

A great hair cut and beautiful skin.

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 was 11 or 12 I started reading a fashion magazine every month that always had the last page as what not to wear and what was wrong with it and how to do it the right way. I was hooked on learning everything I could about dressing to make the most out of every outfit and I still love any make-over show.

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

I do my best shopping alone because I know what I'm looking for. Most women need to shop with a friend because they don't know what looks good on them or how to shop.

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

I have very sensitive skin and only wear certain fabrics because of that but most women don't have to worry about that.

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

When I turned 40, every women I talked to that was over 40 had the same problem. How do I dress my age without looking like my daughter or my Mom. I'm now 61 and that's the same problem women over 40 have.

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

I hate clutter. Clean up clutter and all areas of your life is easier.

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

Black clothing and I keep buying black because it makes me feel slim and polished and I can be myself and not worry about what I'm wearing. I also buy scarves all the time and that is when I buy colour because I can be creative and show another side.

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

I buy clothes as gifts for my family and friends all the time and always have. I also knit scarves for everyone and they love them.

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

I don't like trends as a rule, I like classic clothes that are always in style.

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

My mother always taught me to buy the best fabric I could afford. Best advice ever.

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


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

When I gave birth to my first son, I cut my hair short for convenience and have kept it that way since because I love short hair.

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


16. Please describe your body.

Apple shape, slim limbs and round tummy area.

17. Please describe your mind.

Always planning and researching.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Sensitive but more balanced over 40.

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

I'm wearing a black work-out outfit and just moisture cream on my face and lipgloss. My hair is the way it always is.

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

I have always felt that the way you dress is very important because that's the first impression you give other people but more important it determines how you feel about yourself.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Anyone who will listen.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I don't worry about that.

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

Good question. I think I have good taste and style but I think good taste is the most important because it is timeless.

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

Fur coat.

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

I have a system that makes dressing easy. Black tank, black pants and then a layering piece and scarf.

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

I like to think in my home.

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, any time I'm meeting new people.

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 always know what I like in all areas, mainly from trial and error.

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?

I mainly picked things up from research because I love the topic but my Mom was always put together with makeup and clothes and that was a big influence on me.

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

I don't do things to make me feel sexy, I do things to make me feel elegant.

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?

For me to be comfortable and confident I have to feel good in my clothes and hair. Good cut and good quality.

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 for your body shape and go through your closet every season and get rid of things that don't work or need to be replaced. Get rid of the clutter and buy the basic pieces that work for you day in and day out and keep a list of pieces you are looking for so when you go shopping you are only buying what is on your list.

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

Women that are confident.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Women that are mean.

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 am a pretty good judge because I always have a list of what I'm looking for and I've narrowed down the brands that I buy to only a few favorite, so I don't waste time looking at anything else.

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?

All the women I have admired have had one thing in common and that is they were very elegant and classy. That is what my outer eye is looking for in myself before I go out.

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

The weather. Then I know what weight of clothes to wear.

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

A pulled together look that I can forget about for the rest of the day.

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

They are basically the same for me.

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

Black tank top, black pants, cardigan or jacket.

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

Me: Black or grey in linen, cotton, silk or viscose.
Not Me: Pattern and fabric that is not natural.

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

British background and not sure if it influenced me at all, maybe in the 60's with the British invasion.

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?

When I was a teenager in the 60's and everything current and in fashion. Learning the ropes.

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

Always a good cut every 6 to 8 weeks, my skin always has sun block on it and minimal make-up but a great lipstick. Clothes in good shape and well looked after.

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

I work from home so don't have to worry about that.

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

I dress the same for everything.

47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?

I make my own uniform and that's what I wear.

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

I find it very comforting to have a uniform that make you feel good about yourself and lets you go about your day without thinking about what you are wearing.

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?

Tunic length top and slim bottoms in black or charcoal.
Like that it lets me be the person I want to be.

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?

I love fashion now. Better fabric and choice.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

I don't like it.

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

Classic women.

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

No sure, have fallen asleep planning my closet.

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

Low cut clothing that are too tight and high heels.

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?

Probably the same thing I'm wearing now but maybe a bathing suit.

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


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

Yes. Go through your closet and get rid of anything you haven't worn in the last year or so. Keep of list of things you need when you go shopping.

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

No I don't wear it because it gives me a headache.

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

My clothes have to fit and feel comfortable to be presentable.

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

I love beautiful skin. My Mom didn't have a wrinkle her whole life because she stayed out of the sun. She always used moisture cream and 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?

No interest in looking like everyone else. Found a system that works for me and I stick to it.

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

Most of my clothes are Eileen Fisher. I love her approach to fabric and fit. Always feel amazing in her clothes. Makes it easy to shop. I love jewelry but don't wear very much anymore. Always a small pair of earrings and a scarf.

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

Washable stretch crepe ankle pants in black from Eileen Fisher. Love, love, love them.

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 have a long velvet jacket that I wore to my younger son's wedding. I keep it because of that. I would wear it if I had an occasion.

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 Eileen Fisher, hands down.

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?

No. When I get rid of something, I don't look back, only forward to my next purchase and what I own now.

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

My black washable stretch crepe pants.

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

I always think about this question myself. I would try to buy less tops. That is my weakness.

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

I would say a fur coat and I got rid of it 20 years ago.
No more fur.

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

Yes, when I discovered the Eileen Fisher brand, maybe 6 years ago. I spent a lot of time online at her great website learning how to put the look together and build a wardrobe buying a few pieces a season.

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

I love coats and will always be looking for an amazing one with great fit.

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


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

When my Mom died, I have some of her pieces of jewelry.

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?

That has happened a few times that I buy something and wear it to death and wish I had bought at least two of them because you will never find it again. Usually pants because that is where I have the hardest time finding ones that fit right.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I plan trips around Eileen Fisher stores and I have only a couple of other independent stores that I visit Spring and Fall.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Clean but no perfume, so I guess no smell works for me.

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

I do everything better when I'm dressed the way that makes me feel confident in whatever I'm doing.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I save my money for the pieces I know I'm going to buy every season.

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 always wear lipstick, usually a scarf, and black with a dash of colour.

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

I don't think so.

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 11 or 12 and read my first fashion magazine. I wanted to learn everything.

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

1953. Ontario Canada and still live here.

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

I love my background, have always been comfortable with it.

What kind of work do you do?

I'm a stay at home Mom, now an empty nester
and have just had my first grandchild.

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

Married 38 years and two boys and one grandson.

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

I have always found this topic interesting, I have worked selling clothes to women on and off before and I find that most women don't know how to dress or how to build a wardrobe.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?


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