Read Surveys (By Author)
Sarah Nicole Prickett
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
[I did this survey on April 21, 2012, when the questions were quite different and far fewer in number than they are now.]
The question I originally answered was: WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE SEEN AS ATTRACTIVE?
So: I feel like if people see me as pretty and cool and tough and confident, I don’t have to prove any of those things. Then I can spend my time proving the things that are more difficult to prove, like that I’m intelligent and loyal. It’s not that I don’t genuinely like or feel good in what I wear; I do. But I’m also aware of and totally into the perceptions my style creates.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
The only rule is not to follow all the rules. Ignore if you can “the trend reports.” Try on lots of things, especially but not exclusively if you’re young and unformed, and please stop saying “oh, that’s not me” or “I could never.” So boring! TRY. It is fun sometimes to have on one thing that feels “off,” or like you borrowed it from someone else; for one, it shows you’re not that precious about yourself, and for two, it throws the rest of you, the scare-quotes real you, into relief.
Me: I very rarely have a shopping list. When I do, it doesn’t get crossed off. For months I have been looking for these rider boots I saw once in my head, meanwhile just buying more green nailpolish and striped shirts and leather skirts. My planning skills are very nearly nil. I am impulsive and compulsive: the pricest combination! I know that now I’m past 25 I need to stop buying shit from H&M, Zara, etcetera, because it’s bad for the psyche, as well as for the environment. Even when I find a cheap thing I really love, like this Joe Fresh black silk shirtdress that is just so easy and good and correctly cut, I wonder how long it'll last—or how much I'll value it. I wish I could save money, period.
There are a few things I own that I sort of saved for, or hoped for before I found them, like my black leather ankle-tie wedges from Phoebe Philo’s last collection for Chloe, Spring 2006. I will always own them.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Very old sport or band t-shirts. Because I keep sleeping with men.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Kitten heels, duh I'm a cat.
16. Please describe your body.
I am 5'8" at the most and generally a size four, although who knows what that means anymore. I'm fairly well proportioned. I have long-ish legs and more hips than ass and I don't feel like I have to wear bras. My stomach could be flatter, and was, when I ate less and did more drugs. But I don't mind being a little soft.
17. Please describe your mind.
[I would never do this.]
18. Please describe your emotions.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I've just gotten home from too many bars and can't sleep. I'm wearing a black lace bra, an occurrence less regular than the harvest moon, only because you can see through the sheer stripes in this black, long-sleeved, loose-tailed Chloe Comme Parris top. My jeans are also black; they're vintage, retailored, from The Reformation. They fit me like a surgeon's glove. I took off my ALDO platforms, the newest thing I'm wearing, and my leather jacket, which is (and I have sworn not to say this word casually) perfect. My ex-intern Elise, who had wicked style, bought it from a vintage place in San Francisco and gave it to me because I lusted after it so continually, and anyway, she had just ordered a fancier one off eBay. I never want to buy another. New leather jackets, I don't know, I don't trust them.
I'm wearing eyeliner and my hair is shiny and centre-parted and very nearly straight — like, it's blown out, a nicety even less regular then the bra thing. And I'm not wearing underwear, maybe because I'm wearing a bra; maybe it's like the no-lipstick-if-eyeliner thing. I can do a lot of things at once, but not everything.
My hair right now is... naturally, it's brown. Naturally, it's brown. For a few years I kept it quite short and asymmetrical, though not in like a suburban-punk way, more... sleek, I guess. It's naturally very straight, so shortness suits. Then I bleached it and then tinted it every shade of lavender and grey and rose you can imagine, but it never lasted. When I grew it out I had to stop bleaching, and I considered going dark, but that didn't feel right either. Eventually I reached the perfect indecision: I dyed the top half dark and left the bottom half bleached. It's been this way since, I don't know, the winter. You could think it's because I have a split personality, but that would be so stupid. Only two personalities! No.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I want to cover up some things and reveal others. I want people to think of me a certain way because it saves me time and energy that I could better spend elsewhere. I want pretty girls to look at me the way I look at them (secretly). I want to feel like myself, unless I don’t want to feel like myself. I’m always changing. Nothing reminds me of that more than clothes.
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?
The question I originally answered was: WHAT DOES 'CONFIDENT' LOOK LIKE?
“Confident” comes mostly from heel height and lipstick, [both of which] exaggerate the things that make you more traditionally attractive. It’s like playing yourself in a graphic novel. My ability to do things in very high heels is my superpower, I half-joke; in very red lipstick I feel significantly more “don’t mess.” But also, less kissable. Wait, that shouldn’t have been a “but.”
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Marchesa Luisa Casati. Joan of Arc. Patti Smith. Courtney Love. Rihanna. My friend Maryam Keyhani. My friends, generally. The model Charlotte Free. Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums. Justine Frischmann. Baudelaire. Once when asked to describe my style I said “Lou Reed and Nico.” That’s not bad.
I have cribbed haircuts from lots of babes: Winona Ryder, Kate Lanphear, Debbie Harry. Now I’m half dark and half blonde and at the time I decided to do it, I knew of no one else who looked like that. But I was wrong.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
I believe contradictions attract, or make you attractive, and of course I dress to be attractive. Not to attract everybody, of course; I am more and more specific. And so if I wear something short, it’s not also tight, or if it’s both short and tight I wear it with old boots. If I wear skinny pants I usually wear big sweaters, and if I have a fancy dress on I like it when my nails chip. I love a gorgeous necklace with an old grey shirt. That’s a new kind of classic look.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I never don't wear makeup. If you see me outside of my house you can rest assured you are not looking at my "real" face, unless I'm walking shamelessly home from somewhere I didn't sleep.
I make myself up because I believe I look better, and thus feel better, that way. Sometimes I wear more, sometimes less. It took me twenty-five years to do eyeliner properly, so now I do it just because I can, and when I do it I don't usually wear lipstick (too much). Boys or men I sleep with always tell me I look pretty or better without it, and I like that inasmuch as I think it means they like me. But really, why do they all say this? Is there a course online? I don't trust it: I think it means they like me better when I'm vulnerable.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I love most a headpiece by my magicky friend Lara Vincent. She designs and sells them readymade and is most known, so far, for her wreaths of suede flowers. When she was making something custom for me, I wanted a crown of roses the same colour as M.A.C. "Russian Red" lipstick, but I also wanted thorns, because, you know, you can't have beauty without pain. If I'm wearing the crown, you can't get too close when you hug me. The thorns are slim silver pins.
What else? My friend Maryam gave me one of her necklaces, all flea-market gold and feathers, and I love that too. I also love the disintegrating Levi's cut-offs I borrowed from Graeme and the Tragically Hip t-shirt I stole from Graeme and the Helmut Lang black cocktail dress Graeme bought me and I never wear. I love my Charlotte Olympia emerald satin platforms and I never wear those either. I really do wear and love a Stone Roses t-shirt I bought in Montreal while thrifting with a designer I was interviewing; I cut the sleeves off and it's great. And every single day I have my pearl rings (made by Mindan's, a Vancouver jeweller), one white and one sunbleached black, and my Vlieger & Vandam gun clutch. Literally, I mean, it has the extruded shape of a Glock in black leather on its side.
Sarah Nicole Prickett is a writer and the editor of ADULT.