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Alexandra Donaldson

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I regularly feel more attractive in jeans and a t-shirt or jeans and a men's button-down shirt. That's when I feel most like myself. But every once in a while when I put on more makeup and something casual but more typically sexy than my usual look (like a backless tank) I feel super sexy. Which is a different attractive feeling than my jeans/tee attractive.

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

I always look at other women on the street. I like noticing the differences in dress from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and also age. I look for people with great style - whether it's classic or eclectic or sexy - as long as it seems natural to the wearer I'm into it.

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

Posture always seems to be linked to confidence for me. If someone has good posture I assume they're comfortable with how they're presenting themselves.

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?

About 3/4 of the way through highschool I stopped wearing makeup and wore sweatpants and huge sweatshirts. This was not my finest fashion moment, but it was the moment I understood that lots of makeup and anything too tight wasn't really my scene. I pulled myself together more in university and have been thinking more contemplatively about my own personal style ever since.

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

I'm in a point in my life when buying anything too expensive seems like a ridiculous extravagance - but I also whole-heartedly believe that designers are artists and art is worth more than what I am currently able to spend. I guess I wouldn't recommend shopping fast-fashion for everything - even though it's something I do.

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

Less is best. I often adhere to this mantra, but when I see Leandra Medine or Solange piling it on, I love what they create. It's just not for me.

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

It was less a coversation and more an offhand comment by my editor at Canadian Living - she said putting together a fashion photoshoot (the styling) was telling a story. It's simple and it's something I've heard and thought before, but when she said it out loud it united two of my favourite things (style and stories) and seemed to justify my interest in both.

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

Mostly t-shirts. I'm on a clothing spending hiatus right now, but I'll buy t-shirts regularly. Shoes. I love shoes. I don't own any heels though.

Why? I'll always need to wear a pair of shoes - I also have this (probably weak) was of justifying shoes by saying that the more I have the longer they'll last (though less wear yearly).

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

I tend to try out most trends, but a much milder version of the trend. I'm also quick to abandon anything that I feel uncomfortable in.

I never wear heels, so any trendy heels are out the door.

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

My mother and I have different style, different bodies. Although the photos of her in the 80s are laughable, she is an incredibly trendy woman now and has her finger on the pulse of what's popular. I still go to her house and am envious of her shoe collection. But I wouldn't say we look or dress alike.

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

My friend is more daring than I am when it comes to fashion - it's not something I emulate but whenever I feel like I'm being a little too out there I remember that if I like it I should own it like she does.

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

High school. I went in with black-rimmed eyes and studded, tight clothing. I came out in topknots, sweatpants and no makeup. I think I gave up and was ready to move on (from highschool). Once I got to university I started to figure out my own style voice (instead of cookie-cutter or slob looks).

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

No. But I am a strong vocal supporter of people being able to wear whatever the hell they want.

16. Please describe your body.

Tall, slim (I've been called athletic, but I think that's because I'm not skinny and not curvy - not because I am actually muscular), small-busted, with a bit of a booty. I've been called long many times.

17. Please describe your mind.

Active, reflective, questioning, organized. I try to take everything in and I pay attention to details.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Totally reasonable until they run rampant. Repressed until they escape.

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

Super dishevelled hair that's down. Skinny jeans and a black over-sized tank top. Unlined bra. Tinted moisturizer, blush, mascara, slightly penciled-in eyebrows, chapstick. Leopard print Vans.

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

How you dress is one of the most accessible ways to express yourself. Though having access to designer duds must be a treat, it's not necessary in the pursuit and act of self-expression. It's a way to bring creativity and art to something you do everyday.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Everyone. My family, my friends, my co-workers.

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

I think I have style. Taste is related to class in my mind and so I tend to dismiss it as something narrow. Style is about how you put yourself together in a way that works. I definitely have a personal style.

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

Ugh. I often buy things online that I end up not liking or wearing. I don't often spend too much money on these pieces but I impulsively buy them and regret it as soon as they arrive.

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

I love homes and look forward to the day when I have an apartment that I can really decorate. (My current apartment is overflowing with stuff from a partner moving in).

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?

I wear my Dr. Martens when I want to stomp around like a badass. Or at least when I want to feel like a badass. (I am not a badass.)

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?

I generally know what I like in clothes and in life. But I'm very open to trying new things in both areas as well - even if they make me a little uncomfortable.

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 mom works in the footwear industry so I'm painfully aware of how much I overpay for shoes - at least I know how to take care of them.

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

Something backless is always sexy to me, and showing off shoulders is something that I find sexy as well. Wearing my hair down and amping up my makeup slightly (think adding bronsey eyeshadow or a red lip) is what I add when I'm looking for feel sexy. Legs are super sexy, but I rarely show mine.

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?

Both seem to indicate knowing yourself and your style and being unapologetic about it.

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

White button down + jeans + sneakers or flat boots.

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

Me = t-shirt
Not me = sequins

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. But I have a blog that has my photos plastered all over it and I like them okay. But I take a lot of photos I hate before finding one that I think is acceptable to post.

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

Anything too girly - lace, pearls, body-con. In fact anything tight makes me super uncomfortable no matter how confident I am in my body.

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?

Shorter hemlines.

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

Not anymore. But I think that just came with age and self-knowledge.

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

I've recently started to wear perfume. I've never been drawn to powerful perfumes or overly flowery scents. So I have a couple of perfumes that I wear that aren't flowery at all. One's musky and the other is citrusy - and I'll wear them if I'm headed out of the house. But I don't put too much on because I still like to smell like me.

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

I'm a made-up to look like I'm not wearing makeup kinda gal on most days. When I want to kick it up a notch I'll add some brown eyeshadow or a bright lip. But not both.

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 t-shirt that I found at the bottom of my mother's closet. It's threadbare and grey with a tiger's face on it in this silvery pattern. I don't wear it anymore because I'm afraid of destroying it - I keep it because I love it.

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

Classic, leather, well made biker jacket. I mostly just can't afford to spend that much right now. But I'm always looking.

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

Things are neat for awhile until they descend into chaos. Sigh. We need a bigger apartment.

I usually make clothes cleaning a day event that includes music, dancing and wine. By myself. Organization happens that way.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Clean, but human.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I've never gone into debt over an article of clothing, but I have been known to impulse purchase when I shouldn't. I'm also good about not buying anything when I'm not bringing in a lot of money. Basically money directly informs what I'm buying. But the pieces I wear are simple enough that though I may not have spent a lot on them, the don't necessarily look cheap.

81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?

Silver ring on my right ring finger. I gift from my partner to replace one given to me by my mother that was worn down and broken.

Two gold studs in my left ear - I'm looking for another pair of gold studs to wear everyday so I have three in the left and one in the right.

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

May 27, 1989. Born in North York, currently live in Toronto, Ontario.

What kind of work do you do?

Writing and editing. Fashion, beauty, culture, lifestyle.

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

Been partnered up for awhile with a cool dude and we have future plans together. But marriage and kids are still several years away.

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

I'm totally pre-occupied with instances of self-expression.


Freelance writer living in Toronto, Canada, exploring style, beauty and culture one self-deprecating remark at a time.

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