Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I look in the mirror after spending some time getting dressed and I think I look sexy.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I really admire other women who have a very person sense of style and it makes sense for them especially if it is not what you normally think of as being appropriate for their age group.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Confidence in their style whatever it may be. And even just that they took the time to put a look together, which is in short supply today.
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?
Around high school I realized that I could have my own style and it didn't have to cost a lot of money.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Now I like to ask my husband what he thinks. He is honest and can see past the look to what looks good on my body.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Sometimes it's fun to be wildly overdressed.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
Most people in DC dress in such a boring way that when I see someone in something interesting, I go up to them and talk to them. I have met some of my best friends this way.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I tend to want to style everything. I arrange objects in my home into vignettes- just like I would add and subtract articles of clothing and accessories on my body. Choosing dinner guests is also like styling.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Only jeans. They are a standard. Though I did go over 30 years never wearing them.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Absolutely. It's gratifying when they wear it and I don't care if they do it just for me.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Preppy. Too connected to a social class.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother had great style in a era when that was more revered. I don't dress like her at all, but I respect her dedication to a look.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Not that I remember.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I grew breasts at 40. Had to adapt.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I don't like accessories with the label showing. I feel this is trying too hard to emanate the 1%.
16. Please describe your body.
17. Please describe your mind.
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?
Face: foundation, lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, highlight on lids
Hair: Streaks of white and light brown on dark brown, at least three hair products for a sort of short, messy up do
Clothes: grey and white abstract print top, loose skirt in grey and acid yellow sort of plaid, white sandals with orange on the bottom, long drop silver earrings
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
People look at you and judge you by what you are wearing. And by judge I simply mean they decide you are someone they feel compatible with or interested in or even repulsed. It may seem superficial but that's only to people who don't know what their style is and are in denial about human nature. Our brains are making millions of assessments every day which is one of the reasons homo sapiens survived over animals that are much better predators. Besides, I think it's fun to dress up and people who don't are missing out on an enjoyable part of life.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Not that I am aware of
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I definitely have style. I know how to have taste but it doesn't interest me. I think if you come from money and want to hang with a very moneyed crowd, it's best to have taste.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I have always been able to resell anything so it never ends up being a mistake.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
If I wear something that usually someone half my age would wear and I don't look foolish, well that describes my favorite outfit right now. I also love finding clothes in stores that no one would expect to find anything interesting in and then get many compliments.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Home and food.
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 was part of a court case. The opposing attorney worn very dated shoes with an open back and a lot of studs. They didn't even look appropriate for court. My shoes became my weapon, at least in my head.
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 know what I like. It comes from years of looking at Vogue, Bazaar, and Art.
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?
I knew my mother and father both had style, but I wanted my own.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Cat's eye 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?
When they say they want to feel "comfortable" that usually are using this as an excuse to not think about what to wear. They are trying to convince themselves that it doesn't matter. When people admire someone who is "confident" that usually means they know they are missing out on the style scene and they recognize other people are looking more interesting than them.
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?
NOT an expert so no idea.
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?
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Where I am going, what I am doing, what is the weather, who am I meeting
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
look good so I feel confident
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing up is you are ready for a party.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Black and white stripes
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
not me: organized sports and religion
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Middle class. Both parents from a poor background so I am kind of cheap with myself. My mother learned to sew in a very serious way and made beautiful coats with matching dresses. Her shoes and purses would always match and I find I have a hard time getting away from that matching accessory thing.
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 went out to clubs every other night.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
My profession is art so looking myself reflects my work.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I work at my studio at home.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
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?
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I like living now because we have all the past eras to choose from. I like that people were more into style in past eras, but their were a lot of physical restrictions included in those clothes for women so I wouldn't want to wear just those clothes.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
One of the good things that comes with age is that you are less concerned with being photogenic. So I used to look really good in photos, but now I really don't care how I look in photos.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Not too bad.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
I've dreamed that I walked into a store and saw clothes that I never saw before. In other words, I design an entire line in my head and I've done this numerous times.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I gave it up because my husband is not crazy about it.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
wash, iron, hairspray
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
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?
What other women my age are wearing.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
It changes over time. Right now I love my Martin Margellia necklace that looks like a giant key ring that I got at H&M. It looks great one but also people are always shocked when I tell them where I got it and that makes me feel good.
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 Donna Karan knitted cape with a turtle neck. You have to pull it over your head so it's messy getting it on and off. I keep it because it's fabulous.
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?
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?
Some clothes just don't suit my body now.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
Black and white striped jacket.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Buy better quality.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
A white shirt by a German designer and yes.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
I try to get one in the fall and one in the summer.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My husband bought me an incredible art necklace.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
not every often
80. How does money fit into all this?
dress for less
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
I always wear lipstick, even to the beach or camping.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
12/17/1952 Chicago, Il
Washington DC Metro Area
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I don't go to work since I am a full time artist and my studio is at home. So dressing for me is really when I go out in public at night mostly and some day trips to galleries or museums.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
A little worn. The first time (for the book) I felt good but there are too many questions now!
Linda Hesh is an artist addressing social issues while living in the DC metro area and trying to have some fun dressing up and going out.