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Yanqin Lin

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm telling a really good joke or a really good story.

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

Yes. Women with confidence.

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

I like it when it's clear that that person paid attention to details and clearly takes pride in how they look. For example, maybe the colours go very well together. Maybe the proportions are just right. Maybe it's all about a very well done brow, or a hairstyle. It's hard to narrow it down.

Personally I prefer a very natural, subtle look but I think anything is admirable when done with the right attitude.

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?

Cutting my hair short when I was 11. I grew it out after that for about four years and it was just unnatural. After I cut it again, at 19, it was like something made sense again. It wasn't like I "found" my style immediately but it began from there.

I think good hair, like good skin, gives you the kind of confidence that you can't shake even if you had to strip down naked. It frames your face. Once you find a good style that works for you and says what you want it to say about it, it all clicks together from there.

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

Don't overthink it. If you are hesitating, it means it's a no.

Don't justify too much. After the first 20 or so basic items, it's all an indulgence thereafter. If you tell yourself otherwise you're deluding yourself about what kind of consumer you are, and you'll never be able to make peace with it.

Do your best to buy the best possible option, within means. But don't get fooled by high prices and "premium" brands. No matter what, the most important thing is that you make the most of what you buy. Even if you buy the finest wool sweater knitted by artisans using wool from sustainably and humanely reared sheep and it's a work of art that outlives you, it's a waste of resources if you don't wear it or if it doesn't suit you.

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

It's okay to look a little awkward. Perfection isn't worth the time taken to achieve it.

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

The various exchanges I've had with people commenting on my blog.

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

Plan ahead, but not too much.

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

Jeans and white t-shirts. I can't think of a better way to dress. I feel very "me" in this combination.

10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?

I often give my mum clothing that she's admired on me, because I just like the way it looks on her. I also like buying her presents that she would never splurge on, because she's thrifty the way people of her generation and upbringing are - a nice handbag, good shoes, good watch, good wallet. She takes care of things and uses them well so you know nothing goes wasted. It feels nice to know that a gift is useful and appreciated.

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

Anything body-con and crazy platform shoes. To name a few.

I'm always pursuing that elusive thing called "timeless style". Most trends don't interest me and some downright irritate me. The above combination especially annoys me because most women can't wear it and walk straight, they're crippled by the impracticality.

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 look quite different and I think the only thing she passed down to me was an interest in style and looking well put together.

She likes bright colours, print, and a more feminine look while I like navy, grey and ivory and prefer a more "tomboy-ish" (for the lack of a better word) look. Occasionally our paths overlap though - we both like comfortably boxy tops with some stiffness in them and we trade things.

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

My sisters are responsible for me occasionally trying out new things, like the midi-length. This is because I can borrow stuff from them (we are about the same size) without having to commit to buying them. So it's a risk-free experiment. After wearing a dress belong to my sister a few times I went out and bought a similar style.

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

When I was a child I like really frilly things, which I guess came from all those Disney princess cartoons I was raised on. I liked dresses, lace, I had long hair, I liked pink.

I was also quite an active child and I liked running myself dizzy in parks and at the beach. I think at some point I decided frilly things didn't work very well on those occasions so I moved on. My mother made a lot of my clothes and she started making me simpler things - very simple cotton shifts in bright colours that were also quite practical.

Then I discovered jeans at age 10 and that was it.

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

Can't say I've given this much thought. Maybe it's the way I sometimes get mistaken as a boy when I wear a loose shirt and jeans and my oxfords - a part of me enjoys the confusion it provokes. I think there are still a lot of notions about how men and women should dress. Although I don't start out trying to dress like a man, I enjoy that I unintentionally challenge some of these notions.

16. Please describe your body.

Tall. Broad shoulders and hips. Long limbs. I tend to intimidate people even though I am more of a wallflower by personality.

17. Please describe your mind.

Incisive. But easily distracted.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Under control.

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

I'm in a night dress make made of batik, and there's nothing on my face except face cream, and my hair is freshly washed and air-drying.

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

Clothing is part of everyday life. How are you going to avoid making a statement about yourself through clothing, short of going naked? Yes, by all means, spend your time and resources on other more pressing needs but don't be fooled into thinking that it doesn't matter.

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

July 17 1984. Singapore, Singapore.

Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

I'm ethnic Chinese, and grew up in a multi-cultural, multi-racial city/ I would find it hard to live anywhere that doesn't have the same diversity. I would describe myself as middle-class, although if I moved to a less expensive city I could call myself upper-middle class maybe.

What kind of work do you do?


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

single, no children

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

I like my rational mind. I try to apply that when I'm deciding whether I really need another pair of jeans.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I put into words thought I never knew I had

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