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Barbara McWhirter

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

In a well tailored suit, usually navy blue, with a pale blue shirt

Or all in black, with my chunky gold necklace/bracelet

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

Yes- usually business dressed or clothes that are European....knits/dark colours

A great coat

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

they can wear scarves and accessorize well

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?

Bought an expenses designer dress - simple LBD, but 12 years later, still looks new and wear at least 5 times a year.

Also wearing Hugo Boss for work clothes when I had more money for clothes from a professional perspecitve

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

Only buy matching items, not separates.
Don't usually buy on sale

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

No layers.
Hate the look of multiple layers. Prefer a simple, clean line.
One shirt, one blazer.

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

learning to invest in clothes and not worry about the price as much.....maintaining my weight, so clothes look good

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

Yes- I am a very structured person. Neat, A type

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

blouses for work

black dresses for more formal occasions

Nanette lepore clothes- fit me well

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

Yes- to my mother, many times

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

skinny jeans, while others would say I could wear them, I wouldn't because I hate the feeling of tight pants

animal prints- don't like them

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 always been overweight, very heavy, and I vowed not to be. Decided to always maintain weight, and exercise always. She is very pretty, so didn't matter, but I hated thinking that I would have to worry about weight all my life. We dress entirely differently

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?

late forties- starting shopping at Holt Renfrew and spending more money

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

No, just dress for the occasion

16. Please describe your body.

pear shape. small breasts, thin waist, bigger hips and heavy legs, large bones

however, people would call me small/petite

17. Please describe your mind.

sharp, analytical, accepting, sensitive, work oriented, caring

18. Please describe your emotions.

oriented to others' needs, compassionate, selfless to a degree, supportive, positive, accepting, soft

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

pjs, glasses on face, as drinking coffee and have not gotten dressed yet on a Saturday morning, hair just hanging loose

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

clothing defines you to others, but you need to dress for yourself, first and foremost. I would never wear an inappropriate outfit, just because others do

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

daughter, sister

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I have work clothes that I orient to my clients and projects

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

I think I have good taste.

Taste means choosing well.

Style is a certain look, and suggests ongoing evolution.

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

no- I don't waste money on clothes.

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

no v necks- I look better in a boat neck top

longer jackets, just to cover my butt- no cropped jackets for me

never wear tight pants, you always look heavier than you are

padded bras, always

waisted items- like Nanette Lepore designs

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

I like to decorate 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?

Nightgown, covered with a sweat shirt,

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?


discernment came from myself

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 older sister was a fashionista- always looked amazing, sewed her own clothers and experimented with hair styles

I was the "student" and look atrocious in clothes I chose for myself throughout teenage and young adult years. But when I became a professional in the work force, I hit my stride and started buying more expensive clothes.

My Dad also always bought great suits, not on sale and looked great always

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

highlight hair

brown eye shadow to highlight my blue eyes

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?

comfortable means they understand themselves and their limitations

confident is the projection of inner skills/talent

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?

business casual

full price clothes that match and last forever

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


the lake at my cottage

the ocean in Barbados

34. What do you consider very ugly?


war torn countries, where people are suffering

some "out there" fashion

obesity, especially in young children, who have not been given guidance by their family, or their circumstances

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?


Only make one or two mistakes a year

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

October 2 1955
Toronto Canada
Toronto Canada

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

middle class

What kind of work do you do?

market research

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

married, two kids (27 and 29)

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

I like that over time, I became more fashion conscious. I was a teenage "disaster". I probably look better now that I did in high school/university

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Excellent- I loved this survey. Being in the business of market research I found it fascinating. I think the questions are insightful- I only skipped ahead as I am limited on time this morning.......


Barbara McWhirter
Honours Bachelor of Commerce- Queen's University 1978
Senior Marketing Executive- Nabsico- 1978-1990
Consultant 1990-1996
Small Business Owner- started company in 1996 and still running it
Wife- 35 years married this November
Mom- to two wonderful kids (boy and girl)
Sister- to 2 sisters and one sister in law

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