Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
The second time I wear a new dress that fits well.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes. Any woman who looks good and has an interesting style, whether dressy or casual.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Many women do a really good job of looking their best in their bodies.
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?
No, it was a very gradual evolution over decades.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
No polka dots or stripes, with extremely rare exceptions. I just find them fussy and mannered.
Internet shopping is the best. Use websites that give accurate dimensional information about the clothes.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
No polka dots or stripes, with extremely rare exceptions. I just find them fussy and mannered.
I am embarrassed to admit that I agree with Anna Wintour - I do not recommend head to toe black.
Looking at proportions and how specific things work together is very important. Shape, color, accessories - it all has to work! I like the results when I am well dressed, so I find it worthwhile to make the effort.
Avoid stuff that makes you look as if you'd like to be a man. I don't own a single button-down shirt, and I'm glad not to. Nor do I wear any suits, despite the fact that I'm a trial lawyer. I have said no to suits forever.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I don't think I've had one.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I'm not sure. I like to be bold in whatever I present. But I avoid chores and finances. So perhaps not.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I used to buy multiple items in different colors when I liked them, and I still do that with staples - camisoles, turtlenecks, t-shirts. But I don't do it with real clothing anymore, mostly because current fashion is very oriented toward things that have patterns, and so you don't really buy them in multiples. Sometimes I try to buy a second pair of a favorite pair of shoes because I have tender, hard to fit feet, and when I find a good pair of shoes, I want to be able to go to it again.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I've tried, but they haven't always been that successful.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I hate the thing where your button-down shirt is sticking out below a sweater. It looks stupid. And the transparent thing - makes people look fat even when they're skinny. The weights and proportions are all off.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother was extremely curvy and beautiful. I have never been either, although I look good. But my mother has been obese for decades, so her style has been limited. So it's hard to say.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Maybe when I was younger. But now, no.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Well, in high school, I went back and forth from only pants to only dresses. And I had a pink phase. But as an adult, not really, except that as I've gotten older, my choices have gotten bolder.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Yes. I dress for myself, not according to anyone's expectations.
16. Please describe your body.
Naturally heavy-boned and densely muscled; average to heavy normal weight (i.e., not overweight, but not at all thin); short, short-legged and short-armed, narrow hips.
17. Please describe your mind.
I'm forceful and creative.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Not in this little box!
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
My hair only ever does one thing. And it is doing that thing. It dries that way when I step out of the shower.
On my face, moisturizer, tinted lip gloss, a tiny amount of eyeliner, and reading glasses.
I am wearing a DVF minidress that is black and white and looks a little like black flames against a white background. It's short but not too fitted. I'm wearing pantyhose because it's freezing in my office, and Ferragamo shoes I've had for a decade.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
Well, I like it, but I don't think it matters.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
Other women in my office.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I resist any suggestion that I should dress in any particular way, although I am careful to dress respectfully in court.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Yes and yes. Both are important. Taste means an attractive aesthetic sensibility that permits one to make good choices. Style is about making those choices in a way that conveys something distinctive about oneself within the currently available sartorial idiom.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
No. There have been some, though.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
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?
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, yes, yes. It comes from my parents, who are and were decisive people.
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?
Just picked up.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I wear interesting clothes that fit well and look good on my body.
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 to me means physical comfort, which is important. I try to wear only comfortable things. I am confident - and the meaning of that should be obvious by now!
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?
Ugh, too complicated, I'm running out of time. See above.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
In the clothing universe, people wearing things that don't fit and give off an air of personal desperation.
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?
Yes. I shop on the internet for things that in my experience will look good. I try them on and see if they look good. If they don't, I return them. If I keep them, I wear them.
36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?
I look good. And no, it's based on my accumulated lifetime experience.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I dress twice, once to walk to the subway and a second time when I change into my office clothes. In the office, I consider weather, any special events, and what I haven't worn recently.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Looking good for myself.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Certain kinds of things are only appropriate for when you're dressed up. I'm not sure what else this question is getting at.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
I would not wear a uniform. And if in some dystopian universe I did, I would at least be sure that it fit, whatever it was.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Academic background, midwest upbringing. Hasn't influenced how I dress.
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?
I was much more limited in the times when I was overweight, because it was harder to find things that fit my criteria.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Nothing. Except that when I'm going to court, sometimes I wear a knit jacket. I no longer own stiff ones.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
As described extensively above.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I would feel constrained.
49. What is an archetypal outfit for you; one that you could have happily worn at any point in your life? What do you like about it?
A well-fitting sheath dress with long sleeves. Looks great, can be worn in almost any weather unless wool.
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?
Era: early 60's clothing was beautiful - also flapper era clothing.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I'm surprised, because my face is fairly asymmetrical, so the picture doesn't match what I see in the mirror. Also, I think that my pictures often look heavier than I think I look.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
No. But I remember things I see that look good.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Absence of, yes.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Bare midriff. After 2 kids, no.
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?
Same stuff I wear now, although perhaps in a different size.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Don't wear professional uniforms. The attempt to conform marks you as junior, uncertain, and deferential.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I like it, but I don't wear it because it makes it so that you have to dryclean your clothes more frequently.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I never wore any until menopause and my hair turning white. Now, I wear a very slightly tinted moisturizer because my skin isn't as smooth as it once was, and I need to protect it with moisturizer anyway. I wear tinted lip gloss (Burt's Bees) because my lips are paler than they once were. And I wear a small amount of eyeliner because I no longer have the thick eyelashes I used to have, and when your hair is white, it's important for your eyes to be visible.
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?
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
A lot of beautiful dresses and jewelry.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I don't have a favorite.
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?
I have several things like this. My wedding dress, which I don't wear for obvious reasons. A dress my mother loved that she gave to me and isn't good for me. And some clothes that were once beautiful and are now unfashionable - but they were so nice that I hesitate to get rid of them.
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?
Great minidresses. Worth every penny.
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?
I had a beautiful pink silk sheath dress that the drycleaner ruined after I sent it in for cleaning after the first wearing. The drycleaner savaged it and then had the temerity to claim that it was my fault.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
I can't remember.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
A lace dress that doesn't look as if I'm attending a wedding and isn't black or nude.
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 mother has given me some beautiful jewelry, including beautiful items of sentimental value.
76. Did you ever buy an article of clothing without giving it much thought, only to have it prove much more valuable as time went on? What was the item and what happened?
No. I think it through ahead of time.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
On the internet, often.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I don't know.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Fortunately, I have enough.
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 usually wear certain rings, but no, not really.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Recently, I've gotten several compliments on my legs. Very surprising, because they're very big and muscular.
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?
No. A long time ago.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
1960; the midwest; Boston.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Divorced, two kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I think I've said enough!
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Exhausted! My fingers hurt!