Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
After a good haircut. And at a gathering, a party or other affair, when I'm "on" and making people laugh.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes. I notice people in general. But i tend to notice women who have something unique about them. Either in the way they dress, or carry themselves. Or the color of their hair. Their clothes and the way they might express themselves through color. And a good bag.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I admire women who are always well put together and impeccably dressed because no matter how hard i try i'm always the one who ends up with a stain on her shirt or tripping over her own feet. I also admire women who 'get' accessories. I wear earrings, the occasional scarf and sometimes a ring. anything else and I'm horribly uncomfortable.
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?
i have good hair and wore it long for years. the first time i cut it all off i got a lot of mixed reactions. some people loved it and others told me it was a shame because i had such great hair. i've gone long again and short multiple times and i'm happiest when it's short. i feel more like myself. as for dressing, my moment came when i stopped dressing to hide the fact that i am overweight and just wore whatever i wanted instead.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
i have a tendency to buy multiples of things. sometimes it makes sense because if you've found the perfect pair of pants you've got to have more than one pair. but sometimes i can go a little overboard buying things that i end up not wearing because the color is wrong for me or something.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
i have 3 rules when dressing. 1. does it make me happy. 2. is it comfortable. 3. and is it appropriate for my life/situation/event. so yeah no rules that i follow that i wouldn't recommend to someone else.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
i couldn't tell you.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
keep it as simple as possible. i don't like clutter. or drama. life is busy enough without having to re-invent the wheel every day.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
a lot of things! i tend to buy things in multiple colors. personally i think it's just a quirk. possibly a little OCDish.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
yes, there are a lot. i like to be comfortable and confident in my skin and there are just some things that don't make me feel that way. deep down i know they are wrong for me. the biggest one is i rarely wear high heels. i feel vulnerable in them. i like to be able to run for a bus or stride into a room without risk of falling. which i would. because i'm THAT person.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
my mother passed on her family's size. they were big people. big heads, big feet, broad shoulders, etc. other than that, we are built very differently. my figure is more like an hourglass, her's was more straight up and down without a defined waist.
my mother didn't really care for clothes. my father was always the better dresser. so i wouldn't say she passed down her style. she did teach me how to knit and sew so i've got the tools to make whatever i want.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
all of the time. mostly friends. not items but certainly ideas. i have some very creative friends and sometimes i just have to try.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
yes. not too long ago, after years of wearing nothing but pants i started wearing skirts. mostly because it dawned on me that they were actually more comfortable and versatile.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
not really unless being brave with color is political.
16. Please describe your body.
i'm 5 foot 7 and am about 80lbs overweight and have struggled with my weight my entire life. i have broad shoulders and broad hips and smaller waist. big head, hands and feet. about 20 years ago, i suffered an injury to my lower left leg making it so that sometimes my foot and ankle swell. call it a mono-cankle. the rest of me works just fine though and i'd like to lose some weight to keep it that way.
17. Please describe your mind.
i once told my mother-in-law that i was smart as a whip but lacked follow-through. i guess that's pretty accurate.
18. Please describe your emotions.
after years of suffering with anxiety and depression, i've got things under control and i'm happier than i've ever been.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
i'm hanging around at home and it's hot and humid out so i'm wearing a white t-shirt and gray pajama type pants to the knee. my hair and face are clean and bare since i just took a shower. i'm due for haircut.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
i don't think it's important per se. but clothes are fun and style is a means of expression. and well you have to wear clothes. so enjoy it.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
with friends. my husband doesn't care what i wear (except for an orange puffy coat that he hates).
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
well i think it's important to dress "appropriately." to me that means keeping your "stuff" covered and where it belongs. but i'm a pretty casual dresser and would never work in an industry that required me to wear a boring suit every day.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
we all have taste. whether it's good and bad is the question. and i think i have good taste. i appreciate beautiful things even if i don't always surround myself with those things (or behave in good taste). as for style. i definitely have style. again, one may not like it, but it's identifiable as my style. my way of expressing myself or living my life.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
every time i buy something that doesn't fit right or isn't comfortable i waste money. because even if i loved it (which is why i ignored the fit issues or scratchiness etc. and bought it anyway) i end up not wearing it. if i'm smart i return it, but usually it ends up in the donation pile.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
men's shoes. especially if they come in a feminine color. i can usually find my size (i'm a 9-9.5 in men's), and if they aren't black or brown i can usually get them on sale. i can never find size 11 women's shoes on sale. so i usually check out the men's selection when looking for gender neutral styles like oxfords or loafers or ankle boots.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
yes. my hobbies are all very creative and i leave my style mark on all of them.
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?
this is going to sound weird, but control top tights or a compression garment make me feel good when i feel like i'm falling apart. like a hug of sorts.
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 pretty much know what i like. liking something or not liking is a pretty visceral thing for me. and my gut is pretty good at telling me what's good and what's bad. the problem comes when i don't listen to it. if i have to ask a friend "does this look ok" it's because deep down i know it doesn't and it's bugging me.
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?
not really, although i was always stealing my dad's handknit sweaters when i was in highschool. the sweaters my mother would design and make for him. and to this day i still love slouchy handknit v-neck sweaters.
other than that, my more formative years were spent during the early 70's and my mom made a lot of my clothes using polyester double knit. so you know. i picked things up on my own.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
i show a little hint of boob. i do up my eyes. and i leave my hair pretty much as is with a little pomade or whatever.
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?
when i'm feeling comfortable and confident it's when the tiny little negative voices aren't telling me that i suck. those voices aren't telling me that i'm awesome either. they just aren't there. and i can concentrate on what's important, my work, the person i'm talking to, etc.
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?
comfortable, classic, with a touch of whimsy through color.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
anything that makes me stop and take notice because it makes me happy. so a really funny joke can be beautiful. or a photograph. or the right combination of colors. or a song with a refrain that makes me forget that i'm sitting in traffic because i'm singing along. anything that delights me.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
selfishness, cruelty. too much whining and complaining. it's boring. shut the fuck up.
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?
not always. especially if i stray from my comfort zone.
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?
well i don't have a full length mirror. and there's a reason for that. i feel better about myself if i don't know exactly what i look like because i'm much better looking in my head than i am in reality to myself. i do check my make-up/face at a window though to make sure my makeup isn't clown like (the lighting in my bathroom isn't ideal).
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
i usually have an idea of what i'm going to wear before i get dressed because i'm usually in a hurry. is it clean? is it comfortable? do the colors go? and is it pretty much appropriate for the event.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
mostly i'm trying to make myself happy.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
dressing up requires fancier shoes and a foundation garment of some sort. i don't do dressing up very often.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
it would be comfortable and not in beige, peach or pale pink. also the shoes would be easy to walk in.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
not me? anything frilly and fussy. and pink, peach or beige.
me? simple shapes and jewel tones.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
i'm first generation american of french parents. and i lived in france as a kid and visit family every year. and i can tell you the following:
1. not all french are naturally skinny
2. they aren't all born stylish
what i can tell you is that clothing in france is much more expensive than in the united states so they tend not to have as many clothes and therefore don't follow trends like we do. too many clothing decisions overwhelm me. so i tend to stick with shapes that work for me. and i have a weakness for breton stripes. finally other than my figure, i look pretty french (or how they imagine the french to look) especially now that i wear my hair short.
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 in high school and college and a young adult i dressed to hide and not call attention to myself. i had issues. i am much freer with what i wear now.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
by having my hair short, i don't have to fuss with it anymore. it's easy to make it look good and not have it in my face.
as for my clothes, i work in a pretty casual industry so if i'm not wearing yoga pants, faded jeans or gym shoes i'm professional enough (we'll assume that all of my "stuff" is safely put away).
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
i have acid yellow doc marten oxfords that always get a reaction.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
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?
when i was in highschool i think i would have liked having a uniform.
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?
v-neck sweater, straight leg jeans, clogs. i wore this a lot in highschool, i still wear it now.
the v-neck sweater, because it's comfortable and flattering. the jeans because duh, they go with everything. and the clogs because i don't feel vulnerable when i wear them and they are a nice change from flats.
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?
not really. i wear some men's clothes anyway.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
i like the style of the 50's and 60's with the full skirted dresses cinched at the waist and cigarette pants and ballet flats like mary tyler moore in the dick van dyke show. or marlo thomas in That Girl. I always loved her outfits. Or doris day's outfits with her dresses and the matching coats. and white gloves. although mine would always be filthy.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
i have a gigantic nose.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
audrey hepburn. which is ironic as i couldn't be built anymore different from her. i think i just loved her simplicity. oh and of course marlo thomas in That Girl.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
i'm sure i have although i can't remember one specifically.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
anything that requires too much thought to wear because it either requires special underwear or it pulls or makes me suck in too much or shows too much skin. and high heels. i'd feel really silly and ugly.
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?
i'd wear mini skirts and skinny jeans.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
i like it when my girl friends like my outfit. but not really.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
1. wear a proper bra when you go out. please.
2. don't show your ass crack.
that's pretty much it.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
i like perfume a lot. i wear it when i remember to wear it. and it's mostly fancy french stuff like chanel no.5 and YSL. but i hate it when my nose has gotten used to a scent because i can't enjoy it anymore.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
i kind of just need to be clean. and it helps if my hair looks good. i'm currently undergoing laser hair removal treatments so i don't have to shave my legs anymore.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
i love love makeup. and i have a lot of it. and i'm not afraid to experiment and try new looks especially when it comes to eye make-up. but i'm totally ok with going out without it on. i just make sure i have some sort of sun protection on.
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?
not really. my mother used to push me towards really feminine things that just didn't suit my personality or my figure, but that was a long time ago.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
i mostly have clothes that can easily span the 4 seasons so they tend to be classic shapes and easily layered. i live in new england so we have weather so i've got all of the coats and boots you could ever want. jewelery-wise it's mostly earrings, a few chunky bracelets and a tri-color gold ring and my wedding and engagement rings.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
when my mother passed away, my father gave me one of her bracelets. it's gold and heavy and fabulous.
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?
my family lived in Tehran, Iran before the revolution for a couple of years and I went to Tehran American School. I have a pair of gym shorts and a sweat jacket from that time with the school's initials on them. i keep it because it's my history. i never wear it because well i was considerably smaller when i was 14.
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?
good shoes. and quality bags in colors other than black or brown.
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?
i had a suit with a fabulous jacket and a great a-line skirt in an awesome dark navy wool. a few years ago, i did a big purge and gave it to a friend because i hadn't worn it in a long time and it really didn't fit that well anymore.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
my acid yellow doc marten oxfords.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
try not to buy so much because i don't need that many clothes.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
after college i spent a lot of money (back then for me) on a trench coat with a removeable lining so i could wear it from the fall through the spring. i wore it for a good 10 years but got rid of it because it had really big shoulder pads.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
i was pretty excited when i found knee high boots that fit my calves and my left cankle.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
nothing that i can think of.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
my closet is pretty neat. but my drawers are a bit of a mess. they are overstuffed.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
my mom's big gold bracelet.
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?
my orange puffy coat. i was looking for a winter jacket that would be really warm for waiting for the bus in the snow etc. and i saw this rack of puffy coats. the more sedate colors, navy, forest green were full price. the orange ones were on sale. i thought "why not" and bought the orange one. i've had it for 10 years and i still love it. in a city where everyone wears a black coat, it's kind of fun to be out there in orange.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
mostly online now when i can get free return shipping or i can return something at the store. i hate the mall and the mirrors in the dressing rooms.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
i don't like strong, sweet scents.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
i sometimes worry that i'm not dressed professionally enough, which in my head really means corporate. i am currently between jobs right now and am a little stressed about what i'm going to wear to interviews since i don't have a suit and i don't feel like buying one. but then again i work in research and we aren't really known for our fashion sense.
80. How does money fit into all this?
well since i'm currently unemployed having to go out and spend good money on a suit would really piss me off. especially since i'm pretty sure i would rarely wear it after the interviews. (thankfully i have proper shoes).
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 usually carry the same bag for the season. i can't be bothered to change them up with my outfit (unless i'm going to something really fancy and then i have a fancy purse for that).
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
i'm not classically pretty. i have pretty eyes but i've got this big gallic nose. i had a male friend/colleague though once tell me just out of the blue (we were working in the lab) that i had a magnificent face. he never elaborated on it. and i never asked him what he meant. whenever i feel kind of ugly, i think back to that.
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 in second grade my mother made me a white pleather skirt. i wore it with a scratchy blue wool sweater. we lived in CA at the time and it was so hot and scratchy but i felt really cool in that outfit.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
i was born in 1962 in new york city. i currently live outside of boston.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
my parents immigrated to the US when they were young and my brother and I grew up moving around and changing schools a lot. i'm a bit of a lone wolf because of that i think.
What kind of work do you do?
my last job was project manager for a large federally funded cancer study
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married almost 11 years. no kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
when i was younger, i cared a lot more about what other people thought of me. at this point in my life, i kind of don't care so much and that's a pretty awesome feeling.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
clearly i love filling out surveys otherwise i would have quit a long time ago. but this was kind of interesting and i learned a couple of things. i'm obsessed with my hair (heh) and i really love that damn ugly orange puffy coat.