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Alison M Iven

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

when i'm wearing comfortable clothing with messy hair

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

Yes, I notice women on the street. I notice fashionable women, women who are engaged with their surroundings, and women who seem to have an interesting back story. I try not to stare.

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

Their authority in themselves. They seem so confident and can back up any of their actions. All this makes them so beautiful.

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 in high school, I was just starting to embark on the makeup-wearing hair-doing part of my life when I realized I had friends who had confidence in not doing any of these so I tried it out. The casual confidence you gain in not caring to impress people with your appearance is freeing.

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

Are their rules when shopping?

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

Listening to your SO. Sometimes he just says things about my outfit even when I'm happy with the way I look and end up changing. I'm trying to ignore that criticism and keep dressing for myself.

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

I don't know if there was a particular conversation but my mom always told me if I was going to spend the money, it might as well be on nice clothing that would last.

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

Not really. I go with the flow and do what needs to be done.

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

I have two crazy jumpsuit type pieces I got from Morocco. They were unbelievably comfortable and I had never seen anything like them before.

I also love canvas sneakers and buy those habitually. As a kid, my mom would buy me knockoff white keds from payless and that was the signal summer was here. At the end of the summer, she'd toss them since they would be smelly and brown and I'd be back in regular shoes. So there is a memory associated with them. They also tend to be on the cheaper side and have thicker soles so I don't wear through them so quick so they are a practical item for me.

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

I don't usually give clothing or jewelry because it's pretty personal and I'm picky so I assume they are as well. I've only done it once. I used to work street fairs for Avalove and overtime started to really enjoy the versatility of her aesthetic and gave a long sleeve to my best friend in Arizona. She says it's perfect because it's pretty but also folds up real small in her bag and she can throw it on whenever it gets chilly.

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

I'll try anything as long as I feel good in it.

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

I am my mothers child. We're curvy and short so things that look good on me would have looked good on her (or visa versa). When I was real young, she worked in Corporate America and made good money and would buy expensive pieces and kept up with the trends at the time. I try to do that now.

That being said, she has always been self conscious about her body and never really happy with it. I try not to talk or think about it, but I've also always felt the same way. Like there is some kind of standard that I can never reach. Every so often, these feelings get expressed and I'm regretful of even feeling this way.

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

Always. How else do you learn how to dress?

Dress up in my mom's closet as a child. Borrowing comfortable pieces from my fathers closet and later, boyfriends, fashionable friends.

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

I think style is more of a constant and subtle shift for me.

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

Not really. I try to dress more unisex but I don't feel that it is because of political reasons.

16. Please describe your body.

Curvy. But not in the euphemism type of way as of saying I'm fat. Hourglass

There are parts that I don't like too. But I don't want to describe those as I've always felt that bonding with women over body flaws is terrible and perpetuates the myth that all women should look the same and low body-confidence.

17. Please describe your mind.

Creative and distracted easily. Always learning, soaking, planing, mixing, trying, finding...

18. Please describe your emotions.

Bottled up. Reserved.

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

Pajamas. Ridiculous plaid red and green athletic shorts I got in high school at a thrift shop in Cleveland, black tank, glasses, sports bra since it's humid. My short hair is a mess.

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

It's not. Other than it's comfortable and I can go in the backyard and work in it too.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My mom, my friends.

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

Shoes that don't fit right.

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

In my work and home. My mom always wants me to match my furniture and fabrics but I love getting items that I love and they all somehow work together. it feels like me and doesn't look like I ordered it all at once out of a catalog.

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?

I have a favorite flannel that I stole from an ex that is so comforting and protective. It's holey and too big for me, but in it, I can conquer.

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 know what I like in most aspects of my life. I think it came from my mother as she's always been picky about clothing and furnishings. I think it's also studied. As a child I was always making and creating and the more you do that, the better judgement you make in those areas.

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 is being able hop on the moped and riding somewhere and looking good doing it. I mean, girls don't ride mopeds or motorcycles and I enjoy the attention. And I want to still look brilliant while off the bike. I also walk a lot (NYC!) so I need comfortable shoes that don't impede my progress or hurt my feet. I guess comfortable is being able to live my life the way I want and not have clothing hold me back. And this is what makes me confident.

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 have to feel good in it at the store. Even if it's the hottest or smallest dressing room ever. If I can feel good in those environments, I'll wear it again.

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?

Yeah, of course. Men's clothes are meant to last and be as versatile as possible. Women's clothes aren't like that, they ebb and flow with current trends and fashions. Women's clothes forget things like pockets and thick soles like women are only meant to sit there and look pretty and not DO anything. Mens clothing doesn't make that assumption.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

I'm usually happy. I try not to nitpick my appearance and remember the memory.

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

The no bra or side boob look. Mine are too big and boob sweat sucks.

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?

More of a masculine, tailored appearance.

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

I try to repel people who think women should look or act in a particular way. And try to attract people who will accept me. This came to a head for me when I shaved my head.

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

It doesn't usually.

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 sweater I got on one of my first days of living in San Francisco. It's a pale yellow with flowers along the front closure and fully lined.. I accidentally shrank it once too. I keep it because I love it and always felt great in it and no one had anything like it. But now, it's got a long of holes from being so worn. I can't throw it away though, it doesn't deserve it with all that love I have for it even now.

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

A replacement for that vintage sweater I keep around.

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

A mess. I just moved and have a lot less closet space, so there isn't enough room.

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

A pocket knife. ... does that count?
I also always wear a thin ring every day.

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

Born in September 1985 in Columbus Ohio but living in Brooklyn NY now

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

White girl from the suburbs of Ohio

What kind of work do you do?

Graphic design for an internet startup

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

single. but have a fella.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Lovely and (oddly) emotional

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