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Jenna Kaminsky

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

On the beach. In the sunshine.

Or, right after I've gotten in bed for the night.

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

Absolutely! I mostly notice women I think are cute / attractive (I identify as a heterosexual woman). Or, older women who have beautiful grey or salt + pepper hair and just look like they are healthy and in charge of their domain.

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

Women who look "zen," women who carry themselves with confidence - shoulders back!

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 met one of my now best friends. She has a bunch of stick and poke tattoos that just seem like moles and her whole look feels very broken-in, but still pushy and edgy, but almost so comfortable it's momish? And punk.

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

Blech sample sales oy.

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

I hate "belting things"

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

Not sure there is one in particular. I was working on developing an art show about style and how artists dress themselves for a while. The research for that brought up a lot of interesting ideas on the artist's personal style, how he or she dresses, for what occasion, and why.

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

Whoa. Yes? "If it feels good, do it." I aim to go forth as a positive, healthy individual. I aim to feel good at work and at play, so I limit aspects of both. I'm pragmatic but in love with feeling.

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

running shorts, in two different colors. Wife beaters, because i wear them all the time. tight black skirts, because I wear them all the time. Socks and underwear.

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

Nothing comes to mind.

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

No fit and flare dresses ever.

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

My mother was unpopular but voted most attractive in high-school. Her best assets are her smile and generosity. She has always valued fitness and eating, though she naturally seems thinner than I naturally am. We share a similar view on our bodies + fitness, though.

As for style, we have different ways of dressing, but she has taught me to value having both fun things and finer things in my wardrobe. The value of an amazing dress. Plus, I've stolen so many of her clothes over the years, all of which continue to be favorites.

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

I steal clothes from my mom and dad. Mom's gardening jeans, old cocktail dresses. Dad's old tshirts.

Friends have leant me an appreciation of ripped tees and lovely tattoos. Silhouettes and color palettes that push the envelope.

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

College, I'd say. I went to art school after prep school. I always considered myself more of a wild dresser, but college beat the safety out of my dressing.

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

I often wear boxy silhouettes because, as a woman, I hate feeling like I must wear something flattering, or something that shows off my figure.

However, I also relish the ability to dress for my figure and own my body and its power of sexuality in that way.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm 5'6" (but everyone thinks I'm a few inches taller). I weigh ~140 pounds +/- 2. I wear a 34 A bra size and a size 6 pant. I have narrow hips but a big butt. I have broad shoulders!

17. Please describe your mind.

Optimistic and at times dark. A little bit of my wonderful mother's worrying. A lot of hippie dreamer. A pretty standard gemini.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I understand my emotions very well, but still tend to be ruled by what my heart wants.

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

I am wearing Gant men's pants size 30 that have been cut off above the ankle. They are a rusty orange color. I am wearing a blue thong. I am wearing a white wife beater. I have three earrings in: one like this:

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

It's not important, but it's a look I feel very "me" in.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Almost everyone/anyone, out of my friends/coworkers/family. My dad is into clothes, my mom is into clothes, my sister cares. My best friends all value style the way I do. I can't even date a guy who doesn't think / talk about his personal style. I also work for a fashion brand, so clothes are always being discussed.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Probably in many ways I haven't yet un-packed. I tend to try to remain fairly individual and confident in my dressing, but I do work for a corporation and am influenced by all the (mostly women) I work with. I want to look clean for my job, to give off the impression that I am prepared and ready to be at work every day. I also wear a bra most of the time because I find that visible nipples can be distracting for male + female coworkers alike.

I will often dress a little less like myself when I am meant to be "representing" an institution (school, work, etc.)

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

I have more style. I value taste and feel like I have good taste, but style to me is more about having radical and new ideas that are NOT necessarily pleasing but ARE interesting. I care about interest.

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

A sample sale dress I bought for $75 and never wore.

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

wear a slip under your dress and you won't have to wear a bra to work.

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

I definitely have a style of speaking and I also think I have a style of relationship (Friendship + romantic).

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?

Many times, but most are reactions to this one guy I dated. I remember I wanted him to fuck me, so I wore a leotard with a low back and jeans I knew I looked great in. It worked.

Subsequently, when it ended, I wore my comfort clothes at the time: a black spandex skirt, a ripped white tee, and a flannel with a hood attached. Armor.

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, but I've also learned to be more open-minded as a result of seeing my mother grow as an individual after her divorce from my dad. I'm discerning, but try to access all the wonder I can.

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?

Yes. I still wish I could iron as well as my mother and grandmother. My dad taught me about cashmere + moths. The importance of dry cleaning.

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

No bra, ripped or frayed items. Items that look lived in, like I have led an interesting life in them. I like to pile my hair ontop of my head haphazardly. I rarely wear makeup, but I value my eyebrows, my skin, and a coat of lipstick sometimes.

I've dyed my hair blonde for the past 2 years - I don't think I did it to activate "sexy" or "alluring" but I like when it gets greasy and when the roots show.

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?

Ha! I have used them frequently in this survey as well. These words for me are closely linked to having personal agency. Feeling like a "whole" woman, or a woman whose decisions are her own.

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?

I would say that I want to look natural, and value pushing the envelope with the shapes, lines, and colors of my clothing. I dress fairly straightforwardly, and I value raggy simplicity. (a ripped white tshirt, frayed jeans, etc.)

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

The sun and moon. The sound of bugs at night. The feeling of the air on summer nights.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Hmm, NYC is a wonderful place to live but it can be fucking insanely ugly sometimes. In a way though that is so extreme that I am interested in it. I find ugly interesting, but not necessarily "bad," so this question is a bit hard for me to answer.

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?

yes. The best things I can do are not buying things because someone tells me I look great in them and going a month or so without buying any clothing. Both of these help me evaluate what I'm looking for.

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?

It's a male gaze I suppose. I have a deep personal interest (so much so that I've meditated on it and done a lot of projects around it) in seeing myself from the outside. Whether it is an unexpected reflection in a building or a visualization I do, I really try to understand myself from the outside.

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

Weekdays, I aim to look clean, simple, and pulled together, but still interesting. Also, working at a fashion brand makes me consider the lines of my outfit, color palette, or if I'm pairing two things in an interesting way.

On weekends, I almost have a uniform. Karate pants, spandex shorts, big tees, crop tops, easy, simple clothes that I feel good in.

I consider the weather, and how my body feels. I consider the day's activities. I consider my emotional state - on dark days I want to feel bare and raw; I will often wear things I look beautiful in with no effort. Some days I want to look smashing.

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

I want to look striking, and a bit different. I want to try something new. I've already mentioned silhouette a lot - a certain shape of the body is very important to me.

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

Dressing up is for a fancy dinner or event - well, not so much fancy as special or out of the ordinary. I consider where I'm going and how I can best command a room.

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

Probably what I'm wearing right now (see earlier question). Bottoms would alternate with black spandex shorts. Add a holey cashmere sweater.

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

Me is androgynous, shaggy. Not me is dresses with elastic waists or fit/flare dresses, murray hill, curled hair, made-up face, "perfect."

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

I'm a mutt like most Americans. I grew up in rich suburbs and went to a private prep-school in Virginia. That prep style really influenced my appreciation for uniform/simplicity/classics (though we did not wear uniforms).

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?

Middle school, definitely wore a lot of polo shirts, abercrombie, Lily pullitzer. I don't frown upon these styles now AT ALL, but I come at them from a very different place.

Then I was wearing what was popular and similar to my friends. Now I wear a polo because I appreciate the references it makes to a culture I don't necessarily participate in. I also value Abercrombie and Fitch branded stuff from the 1990s (when I grew up) because I can recognize now how extreme and almost insane that branding was! It's like I'm zoomed out from it a little bit. Wearing something in a way that's a few steps removed from how I used to.

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

My hair is dyed, so i only wash it once a week. But i blow it out and run a straightener over it so it looks clean + pulled together during the week. I groom my eyebrows and wash my face.

I will iron my clothing. I think pressing clothes does wonders to make your look intentional.

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

Oh gosh, I'm not sure. I wear ripped clothing, but a lot of the women do, since it has a place in the fashion world right now. I have little tattoos, maybe i'm a little more careless? I work for a brand that is part of a family of brands, so I find that my team has a pretty varied style. Many women from the other brands, though, wear fancy dresses and heels everyday and have perfectly done hair and makeup.

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

Not currently. I used to play field hockey and lacrosse, so we had to wear jerseys and kilts.

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

See above. We couldn't really for games because referees wouldn't allow it.

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

I found it comforting! I did a few experiments in high school where I wore a uniform for a week.

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?

Black spandex skirt, ripped white tshirt, loose black cotton sweater + loafers or checkered van slip-ons.

I like this outfit because I look attractive in it, but there is some quirk + history indicated by the van slip-ons I still have (10+ years old) and ripped shirts.

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, but not in a way where I've ever identified as trans. I love how consistent men's clothing is. I love how their bodies are straight. I love work-wear, both the fabrics and colors and cuts. I dress like a boy sometimes, it makes me feel more at ease.

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

Mmmm I can never decide between early 1960s and late 1970s.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

It depends. We all have bad photos, but largely I'm shocked by how striking I look.

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

Yip man! He was Bruce lee's martial arts instructor. Such gorgeous style. I've also been influenced as a woman by ads in the 1990s - the bodies on those women! Brooke shields. I'm sure there are others.

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


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

Murray hill girl.

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 menswear.

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

Err.. maybe? I just want to look interesting, so people who find that interesting.

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

GET A BRA THAT FITS! wow, once you notice you really can't stop noticing this. Also, don't be afraid to try styles because "you can't pull them off." Just fucking wear it and pull it off!

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

Yes. I think it's lovely to smell a familiar way. The men I am attracted to, though, all have strong-ish body odor, which I find makes me ravenous!

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

It depends - nothing really on the weekend, but for work I do like to iron my clothes. Mostly I just need to make sure I feel like me, which isn't so much about being presentable but about being comfortable with what I'm conveying to the world. I like to feel like I am maybe taking risks.

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

I used to wear mascara and eye makeup, but I gave it up months ago. I wear sunscreen + moisturizer + a chanel "primer" (not a foundation, just sort of a dewy look) sometimes. lipstick on occasion.

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?

"wear to work dresses"

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

A considered assortment.

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

Probably the white prada sundress I wore for high-school graduation OR my first pair of skinny jeans from 10th grade. I still wear both.

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?

Acne floor-length grecian gown and alexander wang fox-fur heels. Both are beautiful so why give them away?

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?

Thrift store purchases that fit properly.

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 pair of cutoff denim shorts and a cutoff denim skirt from high school.

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

the prada dress? Or my mom's gardening jeans.

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

a different style of underwear.

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

i don't really do this.

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

probably my first experiences at thrift stores.

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

always men's pants. Carhartt style but different fit.

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

Like a filing cabinet. Everything is pretty much folded and put in the drawer vertically so I can see everything at once and don't have to dig.

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

I don't think so.

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?

I don't think so!

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Randomly, I don't plan it. I am usually just venturing around and decide that I want to think about clothing.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

I like the scent of this laura mercier fig lotion. It smells womanly and earthy and lovely. I yearn to smell like myself, but am worried about offending noses.

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

I don't want to get too swept up in the corporate or NYC life. I want to keep myself grounded.

80. How does money fit into all this?

Money dictates how often I shop and what level of thing I purchase. I refrain from buying less because of money and more because I value space (mental and physical) over objects.

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

chapstick. I often wear a texas necklace.

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

This mostly happens when people tell me I am striking. Or that I must be taller than I am.

Once a guy told me I had slender legs which I have NEVER thought, and that threw me because I want to be able to see my body as it is.

When I was 16 the bad boys I would hang out with introduced me to the idea that I had a nice ass.

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?

No, but I do remember having a few favorite outfits as a kid. And I remember the feeling of my minnie mouse nightie after it had been washed a million times - sort of pilled and synthetic.

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

6-7-89 (June 7, 1989, but I love that it is in order). I was born in Richmond, Virginia, went to college in Baltimore, Maryland, and currently live in Greenpoint, New York (3 years)

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

White, parents made money in the rich 1990s. No college debt, every opportunity has been made available to me.

What kind of work do you do?

I am a graphic designer for Kate Spade Saturday.

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


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

I feel confident in the things I know and confident in the things I don't know.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

That was long!

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