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Megan Serafim

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I feel most attractive in clothes that show my body--make me feel "womanly"--but that I also give me a full range of motion.

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

I notice women who are thinner than me. I notice women whose clothes seem so rich and symbolically dense and complete to me, in a way... like every item they wear is special to them and is integrated into their being. Women who wear a lot of information. Little details fascinate me.

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

I like women whose presentation seems effortless, like a natural extension of their character. Also, women whose image is consistent--it implies a certain confidence and stable sense of self I find elusive.

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?

I recently read Adult Magazine's panel on clothing and was really inspired by what Arabelle Sicardi said about mixing signals. I also think Kate Durbin's idea that you can communicate the same ideas in your clothes as you do in your work. I want to "mean" something in my presentation. I feel like it was too recently for me to say why it happened then... I guess the unique circumstances of my life made me want to embrace individuality and symbolic purpose rather than attractiveness or agreeableness.

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

I worry too much about shopping and get anxious easily; I've since tried to tell myself to be spontaneous about clothes, pare down my closet often, and only buy odd items I love or feel some sort of spiritual connection with (i.e., don't buy something you feel ambivalent about just because it's 90% off)

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

I like to feel free... anything that makes it difficult for me to lift my arms or move around will make me anxious. I don't like looking too sexual or girly, so I tend to choose shapes that obscure my body in some way or make me look sexy in an ethereal way that intimidates/scares others. I'm uncomfortable looking simply "sexy."

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

I tend to avoid constructively working on all of these things... and then when I do get around to them, I only half-finish them/have no issue walking away from incomplete work. I'm definitely not a perfectionist.

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 pairs of American Apparel high waisted jeans and many gray t-shirts. They're boring and unexpressive items, but they make me feel sexy and cool and effortless, so I like to have a lot of them. I never really set out to buy gray t-shirts; most of mine have been stolen from friends on boyfriends.

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

I bought my mom a bracelet from this New Age healing crystal specialty store. She wears it pretty often, I'm happy about it.

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

I participated in a lot of what are considered "low culture" trends in junior high. I guess hats of any kind, mid-calf leggings, certain revealing shirt trends I felt wouldn't suit my body type, etc.

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

I'm thin like my mother. We have virtually the same proportions except for our calves... hers are about 5 inches taller than mine. She's always had an eclectic and decidedly un-mom-like style. I admire her freeness and comfort in her own skin, and I'd like to think I inherited some of that. She's not too afraid to experiment.

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

Yes, my style changed dramatically a few times in early high school. I went in dressing like a typical junior high student, for the most part, and as my freshman year progressed I began dressing more and more "dark," I guess; non-sexual, cut my hair shorter, dyed it unnatural colors, etc. This probably had something to do with first boyfriend breaking my heart early on in the school year and my mother being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I didn't really handle it, I just changed my persona.

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

I guess there is. But nothing intentionally political, really. I don't like being sexy because I'm uncomfortable with it. I like looking somewhat unusual and countercultural because I like attention. I guess these things are political in some sense.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm sort of thin but curvy... I guess I'm a pear shape, I have really narrow shoulders and thin arms with relatively large breasts and wider hips. My calves are extremely muscular, unlike any other part of my body, which sort of gives me an "athletic" look depending on what I'm wearing.

17. Please describe your mind.

I'm curious but lazy. I'm more self-doubting than I give myself credit for. Overall very inward and narcissistic, maybe shallow, but also intelligent. I like less obvious answers. I hate giving people what they want.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Anxious, untrustworthy

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

I'm in bed, I'm wearing a pair of my dad's old black fleece sweatpants that I stole a long time ago and a large men's black Tupac shirt I bought from Plato's Closet out in a rural area where my mom lives. I'm also wearing a lace bra without underwire and nice underwear from the day. I just washed my face, so moisturizer, and I'm wearing my black thick-framed glasses. My hair is up in a bun tied with a pink silk scrunchie.

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

I love the scrunchie. Maybe because I bought it most recently. I got it because my girl friends all had one. I chose the color because it is sweet and girly in an innocent way. I find this shirt funny because of where I got it and how I imagine its previous owner. I feel self-conscious wearing it sometimes because I'm white; maybe that's stupid, but I feel like some degree of cultural appropriation is taking place and I'd hate to be read as one of those obnoxious white people who pretends to identify with gangster rap etc. The sweatpants are supremely comfortable; it's weird I have clothing from my dad because our relationship is complicated. My boyfriend had these pants for awhile. He gave them back when we broke up recently, and even more recently we got back together. They make me think of him and our conflicts and whether I truly want to be with him. Very important sweatpants. I like this bra and this underwear because they are sexy yet comfortable and casual. I find the fact that these symbols were all unassumingly flung together for me to sleep in so interesting.

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

I was born May 4, 1993 in a suburb of Illinois. I live in Chicago now.

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

I'm Italian. I come from a middle class background.

What kind of work do you do?

I'm in school now for journalism. I work at a hair salon as a receptionist.

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

I'm single

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

I care a lot about art and feminism, I've been in a horrible relationship with a man for 4 years and have no idea how to get out of it.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Sort of embarrassed, but it made me more mindful about the history behind pieces of clothing, which is awesome.

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