Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
Right after I work out, shower, and put on a feminine dress
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes, always! Not in a creepy way. I tend to notice women who look flawless, clean, and physically fit, and women who put together outfits in interesting ways
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
The boldness of wearing statement pieces, whether they're clothes or jewelry--something I aspire to but never quite do!
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?
Yes, in my first job after college, I went out and bought clothes that fit into the very narrow range of what the other young women in the office were wearing. But they looked horrible. So I realized I needed to wear what I felt comfortable and good in, because it's impossible to have a good day when your clothes don't make you feel like yourself
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Always try things on with a strapless bra and shoes
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I really try to stick to neutrals/natural colors--browns, greens, greys
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
This wasn't a conversation, but I remember reading in the NY Times an interview with an African woman who talked about how in the US, people really don't take women in dramatic clothing or with bright lipstick as seriously as conservatively dressed women, but in Africa, it's respected when women put effort into their appearance in that way
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Yes--I try to be thorough, thoughtful, and fresh--do everything with energy and passion
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Leggings for working out--does this count?
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Yes! I gave my best friend a pair of earrings from Banana Republic that were just her style. Studs so the size was right for her, but interesting colors/stones.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I HATE gladiator sandals. I think they're so unflattering and ridiculous looking
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother doesn't really dress for her body or age. She wears things that she finds fun and pretty, but I try to be more mindful of what looks good to other people, rather than just what is pleasing to my own eye
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I have acquired a few pairs of earrings and other things from my mom
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I think when I went off to college I stopped wearing pants (dresses and leggings all the time). I just hate pants and I think the freedom of being on my own let me do what felt right.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
No, but I really respect those who do
16. Please describe your body.
5'4" and athletic--pretty muscular lower body and thinner upper body
17. Please describe your mind.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Intense, but also short-lived
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Just woke up--in workout clothes (yoga pants, running top, sports bra), ponytail, no makeup
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
So important. I think clothing is a huge emotional thing and a way to express yourself--really the only way in which you interact with many people you pass on the street
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
Friends, family, coworkers
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
As I take this survey, I'm realizing that my very casual office environment hasn't been a great influence, and I think I need to scale back a little. Even though it's fun to throw on a short sundress and sandals and go to work in the summer, I think I would probably be taken more seriously (by others and myself) if I covered up more.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Taste implies money to me--rich women who shop at Barneys have "taste." Style feels like a broader term, and style includes everything you do--how you walk, talk, so it feels more about choices and what you like, rather than how one is trying to convey a certain image to others.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Yes. An Alice & Olivia dress that was a beautiful design but was already fraying and looked like it had been worn and returned.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
No, not really
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Yes, the way I decorate my home.
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?
Yep...most of these times involve trying to look my best around ex-boyfriends (haha)
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 think for a long time, I wasn't confident enough to identify what was "me" and what wasn't, and now I've really embraced being able to discern what I like and don't, in fashion, and wherever else.
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 dad is a nut about ironing, and generally taking good care of clothes. The lessons were a little late in sinking in, but they finally have...
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Clothing--very feminine, romantic
Hair--down, always, either curled or straightened
Makeup--minimal, but always mascara and eyeliner
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 means physically you're not constricted and can move around. Confident means that knows that you know you look good, competent, whatever
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?
Classic with unique details
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Things that are natural
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Vanity and envy...people talking about what kind of plastic surgery they want to have or picking apart female celebrities' appearances
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?
This has been a problem for me...I'm trying to get better by trying to plan out a few outfits before I buy, and returning if I get home and realize that something isn't very versatile
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?
This outer person is a little judgmental and doesn't like too much makeup. I don't know who it is
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Pretty quick--shower, dry hair, throw on clothes and makeup. Considering what I'm doing, the weather, who is in the office (ie manager, or if they're out will things be more casual) and how I'm feeling about my body that day
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Look put together and attractive
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing up implies going somewhere nice
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Something from Lululemon--feels ok to walk around NYC in and is comfy
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Not me--very trendy, big statement things, anything artificial looking
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
From the midwest--I'm probably a little more traditional and less likely to try to stand out than a lot of people in New York
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 a little kid I only wore black clothes and boys clothes for a long time. Not sure what it was about...I think it was a dark time for me emotionally (seriously)
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Clothing--more covered up. Makeup--minimal but flaws covered. Hair--polished but not necessarily attention grabbing.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
Uniform for my intramural kickball league!
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
Rebel--I occasionally don't wear the uniform t-shirt because it's a disgusting grey-pink color and a little too big--very unflattering.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I like the way it makes me feel like part of a team but it also makes me feel ugly
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?
Knee length sundress--reminds me of summer, is comfy, and flattering
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?
Sometimes--I think about how easy it is for men to look good every day just by throwing on pants and a nice shirt. I think about it when I'm not dressed appropriately for a situation.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
1950s or 1960s for sure--I love flowing dresses and anything feminine
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I try not to think about weight...I think I look happy and need to remember how beautiful I really am
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton, Kerry Washington
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?
Very thin, or very stylized (ie dyed hair, dramatic makeup)
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 like to think I would be better about wearing professional clothing (ie nice pants, skirts) if my butt were smaller, but as it is, those clothes don't make me feel professional because it's really hard to find things that look nice and aren't way too tight in the butt.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
Not anyone in particular
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Don't wear see through pants...please
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I love perfume in moderation. Yes I do
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Keep clothes clean and unwrinkled, and keep my skin shaved and moisturized
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wear the same makeup every day and probably less than most other women do. Sometimes i feel underdressed at nice occasions because everyone has intense eyeshadows (when did everyone buy and learn how to use the Naked palette?) and I'm in my standard routine
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?
Lots of dresses, simple necklaces, and lots of earrings--most of which I received as gifts
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I love a maxi dress that is actually from Forever 21. Beautiful colors and I always get so many compliments on it
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 dress that my mom made for me--I think it's kind of ugly but was such a nice gesture
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?
It's hard to know at the time. The best things are cotton nice-looking tops you wear over and over for years and are classic
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?
My outing club Cloudveil jacket from college. I think it was stolen--somehow it went missing with all of my other coats and winter stuff--when I was moving from my dorm to my apartment in Boston. It's so nice and lightweight and the college subsidized them so I only paid like $30 for a $300 jacket
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
Great question...no idea
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Buy things that fit. Not aspirational sizes.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
Probably my Barbour jacket--yep I plan to wear it until I die
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
The aforementioned Barbour jacket--first expensive thing I bought, I think it's when I embraced my waspiness
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
I try to. Very overstuffed tiny closet as I live in New York. I can't wait until I have a dresser again.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Yep--any nice piece of jewelry from my dad makes me cry because the thought of him picking it out is so sweet
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
1989, born in Philadelphia, grew up in Minneapolis, live in Manhattan
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
White, upper-middle class
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Exhausted, and like I need to go shopping
20-something midwesterner in NYC