Read Surveys (By Author)

Amy McGurk

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I know I look good/feel comfortable in what I’m wearing and how I’ve put it together. A great pair of heels never hurts; instant confidence (I’m 5’5”).

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

Of course, and always! For the most part, I notice/admire women that have a sense of style that I'd like to emulate, or are wearing items I covet. But I have also been known to admire/notice women who are simply put together well, or are working it. You can tell by the confidence level.

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

I admire bold style where the person is clearly dressing for themselves. I can also admire a very clean, minimalist or preppy style, even though it’s not my own; I sometimes wish I had the restraint to pull it off.

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?

My first click came in high school, when my hairdresser pointed out (as I was complaining about my curls) how many people had paid for my hair just that day (spiral perms were very popular at the time). Ever since then, I rarely ever straighten it (even when that was wildly popular) because it just feels more "me."

More recently, I have battled my corporation's HR department, because I will push the dress code to the limit (I'm sorry, we all know that a "suit" does not have to mean a matching jacket with matching pants, but apparently they don't) in order to express myself. I enjoy getting up in the morning and putting an outfit together based on how I feel that day, and do not like someone else "telling" me how I'm "supposed" to feel.

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

If it makes you gasp out loud, it’s yours. Also, try it on; you never know.

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

I have a curvy figure with a large bust even though I’m on the short side, so I have to follow curvy girl rules that wouldn’t necessarily apply to anyone else. Also: heels. I have friends who hate them and would never wear, but for me they are a must. If I am not wearing heels at work, I have had people stop and ask me if I’m feeling okay. Also: dress for your mood. I know some people like to have a standard “uniform” they are comfortable with, but that’s just not me. Preppy one day, grungy the next, rocker girl with studs after that…

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

I think I am very organized in general, I’m pretty sure I approach all these different areas in the same way.

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

I have a few vintage furs. I never got my grandmother’s (and my mother never wore them, just not that fancy or into fashion). I think I keep buying them and/or trying them on because if I can’t honor my own nana, it’s like I’m honoring someone else’s. The same with vintage rhinestones, can’t get enough and for probably the same reason.

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

Anything that I know won't look good on me/my body type, and I also follow the "if you did it the first time around, you are excluded when it comes back" rule (see: overalls, grunge, etc.) Flatforms, Birkenstocks and other trends I consider "fashion be damned," when I just consider them ugly. Love yourself more than to ever put Birkenstocks on your feet, even if the cool blog girls are wearing them (wow, it's back to high school!). Boho/hippie style, because as a curvy girl, the loose fit just makes me look fat and/or pregnant.

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 a similar build (although she is a fraternal twin, and I get told I look more like her twin than her). Her style, no. Absolutely not. My mother dresses for comfort and does not follow any current fashions. She once had her "colors" done when that was popular, and now won't stray from that one bit, ever. As in, she will never wear black. Ever. Who does that?? There are very few pieces I would steal from her (if we lived in the same town), and if I did, I bet it would be things she never wears.

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

I have some jewelry that belonged to my mother and some that belonged to her godmother and I always enjoy wearing it.

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

When I went away to college, it was the time of grunge. I went from wearing very small town matchy stuff from the mall to a very grunge look (flannels and ripped jeans from the thrift store). I overheard my mother tell my current boyfriend that I “used to be so pretty.”

16. Please describe your body.

A little on the short side (5'5"), although not technically petite I can and do wear petite items sometimes. Average weight, on the curvy side (large bust for my frame). Moderately tattooed. And although I sometimes don't like the state of my stomach in the mirror, I gave birth to two babies! So there. Bless you, high waisted bikini trend.

17. Please describe your mind.

Organized, fiercely independent. Sometimes scattered. Multitasking.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I come from a family of criers. I will cry at weddings, but I also cried at the series finale of What Not To Wear, so there’s that.

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

SPF moisturizer on my face and body, my standard day/work makeup (bb cream, concealer, eyeshadow/liner, mascara, lipstick). I have a shorter bob hairstyle and today I pulled it back on the sides into a modified updo for shorter hair because I saw it recently on a blog and like giving myself other options with my hair, since I tend to wear it mostly the same since it's short.

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

I think presenting yourself (or choosing not to care) makes a statement either way. Regardless of what anyone chooses to believe, you do make an impression (good or bad) with what you are wearing.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Ha, anyone who will listen! Friends, coworkers, my daughter, strangers...

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I sometimes get flak at work for dressing more creatively than my very corporate environment (I have a creative job within a corporation). I do sometimes need to adhere to the edict of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” so have lately been throwing more blazers over the whole ensemble to dress it up a little more.

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 both taste and style (but doesn't everyone?). It depends on the situation which one is more important. During fashion week: style. Attending a funeral: taste.

Taste seems pretty specific: good or bad, either you have it or you don’t (presentable vs. inappropriate). Style is very personal; it’s not about throwing items on, but how they work together and the touches you add to it to make it your own: accessories, the way you cuff your sleeves, pop your collar, etc. I think even if you don’t agree with/like someone’s aesthetic or you would never wear it yourself, I think it can be generally agreed upon when someone has style vs. taste.

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

In adulthood, I bought a Michael Kors leather bag, which I intended to be my forever bag, but then realized it was way too small for my everyday needs and stuff was always spilling out the top. I could never zip it. I hung on to it for a while because I had paid a lot for it, but eventually sold it on eBay so she could find a good home. And bought a new vacuum with the proceeds, which is my weird, practical side coming out. I would not consider this a waste, but a lesson.

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

Home decorating. Even my son said, it's the decorations in your house that make it happy (and he's right). You spend a lot of time in your home, and it should be a reflection of you and your style. I got outvoted by my kids buying a new couch last year; I thought we should be more practical and buy a neutral color and punch it up with pillows, but my kids voted hot pink couch. HOT PINK COUCH. Love.

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?

When I have a big meeting or one with someone I know is difficult, I will wear something that I know I feel comfortable (no fidgeting) and powerful in. Usually that’s my version of a suit, but not always.

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, in terms of fashion and clothing, although you should still be open to new ideas because you just never know. I thought I always hated the oxford shoe trend, but then I saw a pair in silver and bought them recently.

I think I am generally good at discernment, a good judge of character for the most part. I think it probably comes from my parents, and likely experience.

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?

Neither my mother nor father are very into dressing or style, although I'm sure it was my mother who showed me how to do laundry, because my dad still doesn't know. My mother hates shopping, and back to school clothes were always a chore. Which is probably why I am completely the opposite now.

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

Not much, honestly. I think I am more cute or pretty, and not sexy, for the most part. Trying to be sexy just feels costumey to me. I think when you are comfortable (not in the traditional way, but comfortable in your own skin and look), you are sexy.

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 equals in your own skin, not wearing sweats every day. Confident is kind of the same, like if you are feeling tired or under the weather, that's not likely the day you're going to push the envelope, fashion-wise. You need the confidence to be able to pull it off.

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?

Know what works for you. Look at trends, but adapt them to yourself. Know when to hold em, and when to fold em.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Shoes that look like you are trying to be ugly. It doesn't have to be heels to be cute, but flatforms, Birkenstocks, Crocs and the like just kill me. Inside.

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?

If I'm hemming and hawing over it in the fitting room, I don't really love it. If the thought that someone else will pick it up and walk away with it (especially in a thrift or consignment setting) doesn't scare me, then I don't need to have it. And if I haven't been excited enough to wear it within a week or so of buying it, I likely won't and can return it.

37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

Sometimes I have an idea in mind of what I’m going to wear the night before (sometimes even days in advance), but more often than not, it’s based on an idea (“it’s going to be chilly enough for tights tomorrow, which would look super cute with that skirt” or “I haven’t worn that in a while”). And a lot of times, I completely change my mind and wear something completely different than what I had in mind. This is ridiculous, because I leave the house at 6:30 am, but I sometimes don’t like the proportion or the way 2 items I thought I was wearing mix together and I will completely scrap it and try something else. I will make it work, I do not have “safety” outfits I refer to in these times of need.

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

I want to make myself happy and feel good about myself the whole day. I also want to express myself, because clothes are one of the few ways you can do that on a day to day basis (and change it daily if you want), unless you are a performance artist or something.

39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?

No difference. Every day should be dressing up and not just getting by. Never be afraid to be the best dressed person in the room. Maybe dressing up is a slightly fancier version of every day dressing (but only because I can't wear my satin heels with bows on the back to work).

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


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

Me: leopard print/polka dots/fun prints and colors, statement pieces (shoes or jewelry).

Not me: minimalist, boyish/menswear style

42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?

I am from a small farm town and I think anything I wear today would NEVER fit in there. And that's a good 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 away to college, I went from wearing very small town matchy stuff from the mall to a very grunge look (flannels and ripped jeans from the thrift store), but if I think about it, those 2 styles have kind of merged together to become how I dress now.

44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?

Try to tame my curly hair (a little bit), not dye it pink or blue like I want to. Not do cat eyeliner at the office. Cover my tattoos. And throw a blazer on top of everything to dress it up a bit more, if I'm pushing it in one of those areas.

45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?

I feel like I am in a constant battle at work, because I will push the dress code to the limit (I'm sorry, we all know that a "suit" does not have to mean a matching jacket with matching pants, but apparently no one else in my workplace does) in order to express myself. They have also apparently never heard of accessories that don't involve a pearl necklace and matching earrings? I feel like you should want to get up in the morning and pick out a fun outfit (for you), and if they want to kill everyone's soul by trying to make them feel like they have to wear a gray suit every day of the year, then that's to their detriment. I am proud to say that I have gotten a page added to the dress code, that all but mentions me by name.

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?


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?

The 60s had some fabulous fashions that I seek out today.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Usually. I’m pretty happy with myself in photos generally, even my driver’s license.

53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?

Sometimes that I hadn’t smiled so wide; it can sometimes come off as goofy looking.

55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?

too many to recount

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

Very minimalist/boyish and stark look; I’m too curvy and my hair is too curly.

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 am totally comfortable with my body, and would dress exactly the same.

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

Repel those with no sense of style, or don't have the courage to express it. My friend Joye and I used to say that if the lawyers and the corporate suits who shared our bank of elevators gave us a dirty look in the morning going up, we were wearing a good outfit!

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

Like it, rarely wear it and don't have a signature scent.

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

Tame my hair a bit from its sleepy, bedhead frizzy state. Throw something in the dryer or steam it to get wrinkles out before wearing.

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

I would not leave for work without my standard day makeup (BB cream, concealer, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick) on. For non work days, during the day I would at least do a bit of concealer and mascara, and at least a gloss on my lips.

64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?

Basics with a twist, or more statement pieces that can be added to basic pieces (clothing and jewelry).

65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?

I am partial to my bird talon ring. I wear it nearly every day. I bought it for myself for Christmas a few years ago handmade from an Etsy seller.

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 couple of vintage things, mostly. One is a turquoise beaded top. I haven’t worn it in a while because it doesn’t fit into my life/work wardrobe right now but I don’t feel like I would ever get rid of it. It’s too beautiful, and beautifully made. Another is a hot pink fake fur stole. I don’t think I’ve worn it in a few winters, but I remember lusting after it after seeing it in a magazine and spending more on it at the time than I was used to, so it’s staying. My dog (now deceased) used to love sleeping on it and curling up with it, so that’s another reason I don’t think I would get rid of it. My vintage leopard print coat: I searched high and low for the perfect one at the time and it’s got this great Jackie O shape with ¾ sleeves. Colleagues would freak if I tried to wear it to the office, but it’s never leaving me.

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?

Things that made me feel good about myself while wearing them, or spoke to my aesthetic.

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?

A leather jacket I purchased while traveling with my dad in Paris in high school. I think I donated it at some point, not realizing the value of an investment piece, and now regret it immensely. I think it would be somewhat sentimental, and somewhat of a wow, I bought this when I was 15 and it still works.

69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?

that's an impossible question

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

not much

71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?

A leather jacket while traveling with my dad in Paris in high school. I do not still own it, and now regret it immensely.

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

I will always seek out old rhinestone jewelry, like your grandma would wear.

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

Annoyingly organized. Clothes are arranged by least amount of fabric (camisole, tank top, short sleeve, long sleeve, short sleeve with collar, long sleeve with collar) to most amount of fabric, and then light to dark within those categories. Socks are arranged crew socks to knee highs, tights by color. Underwear is light to dark. Shoes are lowest heel to highest heel, then split into categories within that heel height, least coverage (strappy sandal) to most coverage (closed toe and heel). Boots have their own home, as do flats and sneakers, since they don't have a heel height. It sounds annoying but dang can I find what I'm looking for quickly.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Anywhere and everywhere, anytime. Very rarely do I make a scheduled excursion and say, I’m going to go shopping for x today. I can be bored and window shop online, I can see a cute boutique and pop in, get an email about a coupon or sale and go to the site to check it out. I am also fond of thrift and consignment stores, and I love especially checking them out in other cities.

79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

I sometimes get flak at work for dressing more creatively than my very corporate environment (I have a creative job within a corporation). I do sometimes need to adhere to the edict of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” so have lately been throwing more blazers over the whole ensemble to dress it up a little more.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I have people who easily make twice my salary (not even counting spouse contribution) covet my wardrobe. It's not about the money at all, it's having an eye and putting it all together.

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 wear the diamond studs my parents gave me for my 21st birthday every day (I have a second piercing so I change my front holes daily), and usually my aforementioned talon ring. I always carry my Revlon Cherries in the Snow lipstick, even if I’m not wearing it, because I bought it in high school when I saw a model with coloring similar to mine wearing it. I mentioned it to my mother because I thought the name was kind of funny and she got this weird look on her face and said that was my nana’s (her mom’s) signature shade, and she died with a tube of it in her purse. My mom still has that tube, and I hope it eventually gets passed to me, but for now I have the same tube I bought in high school with me (I’m 41).

83. Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about?

I was 6. It was at my ballet recital and I remember having a yellow costume when all I really really wanted was the pink one (there were pink, yellow, green and purple costumes). I have the photos to prove it.

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

3/3/73. Born in Pittsfield, MA and now live in a suburb of Atlanta

What kind of work do you do?

graphic designer

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

single mom of 2 kids (boy and a girl)

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

I should have been a stylist.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

exhausted! This was much longer than the original survey!


Amy is a graphic designer with 2 kids, a frustrated northerner living in the south, who thinks you should do you, boo.

Share This Page

Read more surveys (By Author) Read more surveys (By Question)