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Ann Kassner

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

On the rare occasions when I have to get dressed up and know when I look in the mirror I look good.

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

I notice the women who walk with poise, appear very self assured and I think they could wear anything and look terrific.

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

Their ease in communicating and how relaxed they are

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 it was considered OK for women to wear jeans. (When I went to school we had to wear skirts and tops, no pants allowed)

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

Now that I'm older I prefer to try on clothes at home but I always make sure I can return them if the fit is not good. I very seldom have to take anything back.

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

I don't have any rules and even if I did, I wouldn't inflict them on anyone else.

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

When my stepdaughter told me I shouldn't buy something (skinny jeans) but I went ahead anyway and she said how wrong she was and I looked great in them and they really suited me. Not much of a conversation I admit but it gave me the courage to know what is right for me.

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

No. Some things such as finances, work and chores are necessities and have to be done whereas life and relationships are constantly evolving.

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

Turtle neck sweaters because they suit me.

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

No but I have received them and I still wear them and I still thank the friends (sometimes years later) who gave them to me.

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

Baring the midriff and bosom. Too old unfortunately!!

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

My mother's body was quite different from mine except for the legs which are an excellent shape.

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

My daughter-in- law lent me a LBD for an event and I still have it and she's OK with that.

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

Not that I remember

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


16. Please describe your body.

Decent shape considering age. Bit of a tummy, boy buttocks, wish waist were a couple of inches less, great legs and a nice bosom

17. Please describe your mind.

Quick and imaginative.

18. Please describe your emotions.

On the surface. Can't hide them

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

Red turtleneck, dark blue jeans. Face cream. Hair nice and curly as I had a perm recently and it's nearly 11.00 pm

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

It's the cancer mantra "Look good, feel better"
I had cancer and now I have a trach in my throat and I know when I do look good I feel a hell of a lot better.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Friends and family but not that often

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

They don't

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

They mean very little to me

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

Yes. I wore it once on the occasion for which I bought it in the 80's. Should be coming back into style soon!

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

Yes. On pants that are too tight around the waist (which is most of them) I thread an elastic through the button hole and around the button to give me that extra bit of breathing space

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

I'm a fantastic party giver and hostess

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?


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 and I know what I like in art, music and people. Who know from whence it comes?

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?

Absolutely nothing.

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

I like to wear sexy underwear. Nobody sees it but I know it's there and it makes this old lady feel good.

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?

Clothes that aren't too tight. Confident people can express themselves well

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?

Wouldn't really have a clue as to how to even begin

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


34. What do you consider very ugly?

War. Aggressive know it alls

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?

Most of the time. No

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?

I've never thought about this aspect and don't think I want to.

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

As I no longer go out to work I consider the weather

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

Looking good with little time and effort.

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

Dressing up is heels and stockings and a little makeup

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

I'm happy I don't have to wear one anymore!
Jeans and turtleneck

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

Generally solid colours. Not patterns or flowery items

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

British grammar school with uniform. Can't say

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 at school and I never really thought about it. It just the way it was and now it's the way it is.

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


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

Self employed so never had to worry about it.

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?

I would find it comforting in a way as you don't have to think and constraining because you're not allowed to think

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?

Woolen? turtleneck dress with nice belt, stockings and heels. One piece, comfortable and gave and would still give me the illusion of being a bit taller

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?

No. Too much responsibility for the satisfaction of the other person when making love!!!!
These days we can dress how we like and there are even tuxedos for women and it doesn't mean we want to be men.

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

The freedom of NOW

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Not particularly

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

I didn't realize how old I look

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


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

Not that I remember

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

Natural elegance

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?

Same as I do now

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

I try to look as attractive as I can for my own well being. I can't imagine a woman dressing to repel.

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

Dress the way you feel comfortable and at the same time look good. You don't have to look stunning all the time

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

Having had cancer and the attendant treatments that go along with it I don't wear It any more as I know it makes some people feel sick when they smell it and a lot of people are allergic. Mind you I do miss it.

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

Remove fluffballs, Iron them, wear a decent bra and hold tummy in

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

I wear very little. Lipstick and occasionally mascara

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?


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

I have rarely thrown clothes out so I have quite a few retro items, party clothes and daily jeans, tees, shirts etc. gold lockets, bracelets from grandparents, gold charm bracelet, bling earrings and necklaces etc

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

A gold locket given to my mother by my birth father who was killed in WW2

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?

A long dress that may come back into fashion and has many happy memories of things past.

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?

Haven't bought much, only necessities

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 bridesmaid dress for the marriage of one of my aunts. Forgot about that until this question. Gave it to a friend about 48 years ago. Don't really want it except for the memory, but I still see it in my mind's eye and I probably have a pic somewhere

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

My New Year's Eve dress.

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

I would probably buy the same kind of clothes but fewer.

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

The most expensive one answered in a previous question. Still own and would like to wear it again if a suitable occasion arises

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


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

Pants, jeans, skirts, that fit my waist as well as they do my hips

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

Very tidy and I know where everything is

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

Yes. After surgery, radiation etc on my neck a few of my friends gave me beautiful scarves.

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?

Can't think of anything

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Seldom do I actually go looking but if I'm out and see something that strikes my fancy I'll buy it

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Fresh and clean

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

Most of my ambitions have been fulfilled. Now my ambition is to stay alive and dress to please me

80. How does money fit into all this?

Not rich, not poor and if there's some item of apparel that I really like I am able to buy it.

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 black purse with lots of pockets and zips and a lipstick

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

On the occasions when I wear a dress the comment I hear and like is "with those legs you should always wear a dress!" From both men and women

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?

I was 14 and it was my first winter in Canada and I was wearing a plaid skirt and a short black duffel coat bought in England. I had a 3 block walk from the bus when I came home from school and I remember the agony of my thighs defrosting when I arrived home.

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

January 30 1942
London, England
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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

Lots of museums, literature, music, family outings.
Middle class

What kind of work do you do?

Classical guitar teacher

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

Married. One son two stepdaughters

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

I'm a woman who has never even given a thought to the implications of clothes.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Happy to have had the opportunity to think about something never thought about before.

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