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Heather MacLean

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When my hair is freshly washed, my make-up is applied the way I like it and my outfit is pulled together, even if it is just jeans.

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

Always. I notice women who look pulled together complete with simple jewelry, a nice bag and awesome shoes.

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

How they create a look by adding a scarf, or bright lipstick, a nice bag, (doesn't need to be designer) or a statement piece of jewelry. Oh and their nails are nice too.

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?

Yes. I remember it clearly. I was teaching drama in a middle school back in 95 or so and Kim, one of the girls took one look at me when she entered the room and said, "fer gawdsake, stop wearing those mom jeans and untuck your T-shirt". The drama room had mirrors all on one side and I acrually stopped and took a good look at myself. I realised she was right. It was a pivotal moment for me.

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

Hmmm. Don't always rely on someone else's opinion when shopping.

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

Just because it looks good on me doesn't necessarily mean it'll look good on you. I'm 5'9" and 145 lbs. I love ruffles but not on me. I also wear horizontal stripes.

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

See question 4

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

I like lists and order. My closet is organised by sleeve length and by colour.

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

Yes shoes. I have 3 pairs is Sperry's, 3 pairs of Ecco, 3 pairs of loafers. Gotta stop doing that.

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

Oh yes all the time. I really try to think about their taste and take a good look at what they wear then try to fins something I think they will like. I don't have to like it though if I think they will.

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

Ruffles, footless tights, maxi skirts

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

I am built similarly to my mother. At 90 years old she continues to dress in a classic understated way and refuses to look like a frumpy old lady.

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

Yes, my mum always wears earrings and a nice bracelet. So do I.

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

See question 4's answer

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


16. Please describe your body.

Tall, straight up and down, no defined waist, flat butt. Small chested

17. Please describe your mind.

Busy busy busu

18. Please describe your emotions.

Usually pretty upbeat, good sense of humour

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

White lace T-shirt, black cropped slim pants, pink button up cardy, not buttoned, all from BR, classic David Yurman chunky bracket with citrine stones on the ends on my left wrist, matching citrine Yurman ring on my right hand, diamond cocktail ring on my left, wedding ring is too tight, white Michael Kors watch on my right wrist and small diamond studs and a Yurman necklace On yes, and black flats.

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

Jewelry was a gift from my husband and the clothes were on sale. I feel pulled together

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Best friend who lives in another province

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Not sure what you mean

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

I like to think I have style. I work hard at looking effortlessly chic. At least I think I do. LOL

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

Yes. I saved up and bought a Louis Vuitton bag then realized they were too ubiquitous so I gave it away.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?

Sometimes I wear passes undies to make my butt look more shapely. Shhh don't tell anyone

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

My husband and I take a lot of care decorating our house and o really plan out my flower pots every spring

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?

Yes. Sometimes if I feel lousy or cranky I'll put on something nice. It usually cheers me up. I wear makeup every single day except when I go to spin class.

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 know what I like. I can go into a new store, scan the racks quickly and know if it for me or not

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?

Yes. My mum came of age during the war in the UK and lots of things were scarce. She taught me to take care of my things especially my shoes. I polish them regularly and get them resoled when necessary.

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

I take extra time and care when applying my makeup

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?

It means to stand up straight, don't chew gum, watch my potty mouth and try to act lady like.

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?

Take time to learn what looks good on you and what doesn't. Just because it is in fashion doesn't mean you can wear it.

33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?

A great smile eye contact, nice manners and a good sense of humour

34. What do you consider very ugly?

People who go out to in public looking like slobs

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 try really hard not to buy on impulse and the item must go with at least 2 other things already in my closet.

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?

People often tell me I look nice. When middle school kids tell you that, it must be true cuz they can be pretty blunt sometimes.

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

Shower, skin care routine, makeup, blow dry hair, get dressed, final check in the mirror

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

Looking pulled together

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

Dressing is how I look everyday, nice outfit, jewelry scarf, nice bag etc. Dressing up is more makeup, probably red lipstick, heels.

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

I don't know, I have never ever worn one

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

Lots of colour, never head to toe black

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

My mum is from the UK. She lived thru rationing for many years. She says she can't afford to buy cheap cholthes.

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?

Yes. Menopause hit me like a tsunami 10 years ago when I turned 50. I gained 20 pounds and felt like a walking zombie. Nothing fit and I ended up buying ugly clothes from Costco.

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

Read lots of fashion mags, try new looks peruse the ailses at shopper's drug mart for new things to try

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

I just retired from teaching in June. I always felt it was important to look presentable to my students. It's a lot easier to tell them they look inappropriate if I look proper.

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?

Does work out wear count?

47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?

No. I always wear a sports bra and a t shirt and I don't wear shorts to class anymore.

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

Comforting I guess

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?

Dark wash, slim cut jeans, nice top, blazer, scarf, flats or boots, simple but elegant jewelry.

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?

Never. I like wearing a skirt now and then

51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?

I love the way modern Parisian women of a certain age dress and I love 50s fashion.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. Sigh.

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

Rats, you pulled in your chin again. It makes me look fat which I am not.

54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?

Ines de La fressangs, Nina Carcia, Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer L. Scott who wrote The Daily Connoisseur.

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

Yes. All the time

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

Ruffles, baggy clothes like the ones from Celine

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'd cinch my belt tighter if my muffin top went away. LOL

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

I like it when my husband says I look nice

59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?

Look at your butt in a 3 way mirror if possible.

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

Mostly in the winter. I like a hint of it not something that stays in the room when you do.

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

Make sure my undies are comfy.

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

It's a must, even if I'm just going to the grocery store. Mascara, eye brow pencil, blush and gloss for basic and eye-shadow, BB crwam , lipstick for every day.

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?

Super tight jeans and crazy high heels.

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

I'm trying to pare it down. So, I've got several pairs of jeans in different cuts and washes, lots of Banana Republic type tops, some cardys, several blazers, couple of skits and dresses, too many shoes and several pairs of boots. I have several pieces from Yurman as well as John Hardy and some nice costume jewellery. (How do you spell jewellery anyway). Also, a healthy scarf collection.

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

Yurman classic cable bracelet with citrine ends, John Hardy necklace and links of London sweety bracelet to name a few.

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 black cardigan with a fake fur front.

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 stand the test of time, things I feel good in no matter what, things that are fashionable without being trendy

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 white and red polka dotted blouse my mum made me in high school.

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

A suit that belonged to my grandmother, a cashmere cardy my mum brought to Canada in 1953, that I still wear and my matchstick dark wash j crew jeans and my Hermes scarves.

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

Yes. I would buy fewer items but spend a bit more on what I do buy.

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

I suppose it would be a Coach bag I bought many years ago that I still have but rarely use.

72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?

Well, I stopped wearing mom jeans. Does that count?

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

A perfect pair of black jeans

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

Tidy, neat and orfanized by colour and season

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

Yes. When I retired from teaching in June a parent gave me a necklace from Tiffany's. The open circle on the thin chain. They also included a longer chain in case I didn't like the short one the necklace came with.

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?

Sure. All the time. The last one was a black cashmere pullover sweater from Holt Renfrew.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I try only to go shopping when I need something specific. This helps prevent impulse buying.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?


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

Since I retired in June I decided I was going to maintain my standards and not start dressing like a yoga mom just cuz I don't go to work anymore.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I try to buy on sale. But if I ever find the perfect pair of black jeans, I'll buy them, on sale or not.

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

Mascara, eye brow pencil, blush, lip gloss, watch, bracelet.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

Sometimes the kids at school, the ones I have a good relationship with, might tell me they don't like an item I am wearing. They are usually right.

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?

Probably the kilt my mum had made for me from a kilt maker in Edinburgh. I was 6.

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

July 1,/1954. I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada

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

My background is Scottish. I have golden brown hair and green eyes. I'm 5'9" and 145 lbs

What kind of work do you do?

Recently retired middle school teacher of 33 years.

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

Married no kids.

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

I love to follow fashion blogs, fashionistas on Instagram, and fashion mags.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

It was fun. Got any more surveys? It also made me think a little more carefully about what I wear and what I have in my closet.


I love fashion, makeup, jewellery, style, magazines, etc. I also like to share my opinion. LOL sometimes I even tell women what I think of things they are trying on on the change room.

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