Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I feel confident
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Confident women who do not appear to need affirmation from everyone
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Individuality in their styling
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 put put comfort and utility together with good style. I was not longer performing for others but for myself.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Would a French woman wear this?
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Less is more
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
My mother advising me that no matter what other people wear, always wear what best represents who I want to be
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I'd rather you explained the question. I have an habitual way of adapting my approach depending on the situation.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Scarves; they can add colour without conflict or crisis (yes, crisis), they transform looks, update existing items, show individuality and are an affordable indulgence
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Yes, my best friend; a blouse which I can see she enjoys wearing and which she looks good in. I thought it was perfect for her when I bought it and it appears to have been a good decision.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Several which did not suit my body shale, image or age.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My body shape is very different from what my mother's was and it took me a while to work out that what worked for her as a young woman wasn't going to work for me. She had curves, I did not. Fortunately Twiggy came along at the right time and I suddenly found I had a legitimate shape, even though it took several years and motherhood to help me feel I was a woman.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Yes, too numerous to mention. My daughter and I share principles and even a gorgeous coat. However her style is much younger than mine. We have a mutual respect.
I will only emulate ideas is I can individualise them to work for me comfortably. Anything contrived is a no no.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Gaining my first degree as a mature student, realising I'd always been a feminist and earning my own money again after having children. Independence of thought = individual style and the ability to achieve it.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Yes, I am comfortable with an androgynous look. At times I manipulate it. I avoid wearing pink in a professional environment and I will wear challenging jewellery if I want to unsettle conservative-minded people. I try to avoid being categorised but it seems people's propensity to do it always prevails. Invariably I am categorised as a person who dresses stylishly. This does annoy me because as a woman I want to be heard and seen.
16. Please describe your body.
Boyish, small-breasted, medium height. Ageing quite well
17. Please describe your mind.
Greedy, philosophical nod not as good as it used to be in some ways; better in others. My mind thinks time is running out.
My mind wants to engage with the world but has accepted its limitations.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Strong and sometimes weary. I seldom cry these days - there's too much to cry about. I now tend to reelect on where best to channel emotion to do the most good. Pragmatism backfires. I need to learn to cry again.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Skinny jeans, long white. sleeveless cotton vest top, long grey, fine-knit wool cardigan, Fitflops. Brass and wood earrings.
Face cream (Clarins) black eye liner, black mascara. No lipstick - gave it up.
Short boyish cropped hair brushed forward; some grungy stuff to separate it.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It's important because it provides a narrative for onlookers to read me. I author it and it works as a protective layer.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
My workplace affects the degree to which I subvert its corporate style. On confident, kick-ass days I subvert it more. On meek days, I camouflage myself.
My university (doing a part-time PhD) I am more truly me than anywhere else.
Home - all about fit for purpose and comfort.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Style is more important because it is a personal reflection of who I am. It has been developed over a number of years as I have come to understand myself.
Taste is more ephemeral and generally reflects types of society or entities like the fashion industry who care not a jot for anything but their ow. Self-sustaining model.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Yep, anything I ever bought because it was in a sale and therefor a bargain.
Mist cheap clothes are a waste of money.
For a single item, the biggest waste of money was a Laura Ashley dress and jacket wedding outfit. The 80s were not good.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
A range of good quality second-hand jackets. Good quality, well maintained shoes and good haircuts.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Yes, my home decor
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?
Yes, frequently; presentations, conferences, meetings. I dress to appear in control when I least feel it.
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 am generally discerning in all areas of my life but still make errors. At 60 this is much easier than it was at 25.
My discernment comes from asserting my moral and ethical integrity.
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 mother - Italian and a dressmaker by trade. She taught me about quality and la bella figura. She also taught me how to maintain what little we had so it always looked good. It doesn't matter how old a garment or shoes are, if they are made of good quality materials they can be bright back to respectability
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Middle class English of dual heritage (Polish father (utilitarian) Italian mother (decorative))
What kind of work do you do?
Senior Research Officer local authority part time
PhD research student part time (interest: crossing countries, cultural boundaries and identity)
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married, three children
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I think your questions are great and I wish I could answer them all but there are too many
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Very interesting - loved the questions and wish I could spend more time on them