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IT Geek

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

After a haircut

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

Oh yes. Women in well-tailored clothes. In the Don't Admire category that I definitely notice: Women wearing things that don't fit them well. Women wearing "big mistakes" e.g. wobbling stripes on a large backside. Horrible tattoos.

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

Well-fitting clothes. Good colour, and colour combinations. Not too busy.

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?

Still waiting for that moment.

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

No patterns.
If it needs alterations, don't buy it.

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

No more than 2 colours, or 2 attention-attracting factors per ensemble. (Black and white don't count.)

I would love to develop a mathematical formula for men's clothing, to stop excessive colours and prints in suit-shirt-tie-pocket square combinations. (This would be for you, sportscasters.)

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

None come to mind. Unless you count "having my colours done" in the '80s, by season. Although it seems terribly limiting, and I wear a lot of black (apparently I shouldn't) I cannot deny that I get the most compliments when I wear pink, because I'm a "spring." Whatever.

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

Goal oriented.

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

Simple little black dresses. I feel..."streamlined" in little black dresses. And I don't have to worry "does this black go with THIS black", whereas with colours, related colours don't always work together e.g. warm and cool browns or greys.

Scarves — an easy hit of colour on a monotone outfit.

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

Yes — black pearl earrings. The recipients wear them frequently.

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

Oh god, tattoos. Horrible, trashy disfigurement, and terrible drawing, usually. What are people thinking?

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

I am a clone of my mother. But she likes patterns.

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

Not really.

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

Options in shirts and necklines were significantly decreased after a mastectomy. Goddamn.

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

Ha! Not that I'm aware of.

16. Please describe your body.

Longish legs, short waist, large chest, wide shoulders. Not exactly made for designer clothing.

17. Please describe your mind.

Creative and analytical.

18. Please describe your emotions.

What emotions?

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

Brooks Brothers shirt, above the knee skirt. Simple makeup for the office, bob without bangs. Small diamond stud earrings.

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

We are all our own work of art when we get dressed in the morning, and present ourselves to the world to be judged. How we are perceived to be (intelligence, wealth, occupation, value) is usually based superficially on how we appear to others, and thus how we are treated. You bet it matters.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Hardly anybody, except where to buy something we admire.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Not much, but if my boss doesn't like jeans in the workplace, I don't wear jeans. It's not a "rule" but why irritate the boss?

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

Bad taste is still a style, I suppose. Virtually everyone has some kind of style or system, surely? Taste is more a flavour, good or bad being an individual preference, and whether others agree that you're well turned out.

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

A formal gown I rarely have the opportunity to wear.

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

don't understand the question of "getting away with something"

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

Sure - in my work, in my preferences for home decor, in cooking...

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 scared, I tend to wrap myself in sweaters, wraps, drapey dresses that hide my figure.

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?

Pretty much. From trial and error, I've concluded that simple, expensive and well-made is better than flashy, trashy and disposable. Some of my favorite things are a decade old and still work for me.

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?

No, clothes weren't given that much attention.

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

I don't really try to look sexy anymore. I might have exposed some cleavage once, but not after the mastectomy obviously. Wow, what a painful question.

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 means not tight or confining to me. Confident comes from within — appearing or feeling self-possessed.

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?

Well-crafted, balanced, polished objects. Reduced to the simplest elements to communicate the intended message.

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

See above.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Cheap crap. Bad tattoos. Actually, pretty much any tattoos.

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?

Either it feels right — sits right — or it doesn't.

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?


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

Weather and activities of the day.... will pants or a dress work better? Do I have to walk very far today, or can I wear less walkable shoes?

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

To look business-like and tidy, and not look like a fat slob.

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

Will other people see me? Do I have to wear the prosthesis?

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

Black jeans, tailored shirt.

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

Scots. Plaid is my exception to "no prints."

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?

As a teenager, I was more concerned about not be ridiculed because I wasn't dressed the same as the crowd. Thank god those days are far behind me.

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

Tailored suits, more geometric (not messy) hair.

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

I might wear jeans if I know the boss won't be in the office.

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

Yup. No jeans at "The Club."

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

Not a chance. On the other hand, I don't bother to compete in the expensive dress sweepstakes, since the playing field is not level, i.e., the other women usually have more money with which to compete.

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


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?

The uniform I would otherwise wear — black jeans, tailored shirt, small but high quality jewelery.

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?

Yes, I love ties. Men's clothing is usually of better quality — better fabric, better tailoring. Pockets in which to store small items. (Why don't women's jackets have an inside breast pocket?) And a good suit never looks wrong.

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

Europe in the 1920's. Only with antibiotics. And women's rights.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. The camera hates me. I don't actually believe I look as bad as my pictures suggest, at least I hope I don't.

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

Fat and geeky. I have always thought that, over any point of a 40 lb weight range.

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

Can't think of anyone.

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

No, but I once got in a car accident because I saw the most beautiful navy and white dress walking down the street, and stopped watching the traffic.

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

Anything low cut and clingy.

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?

Tightly tailored clothes.

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

Don't wear things that make your fat spill over in rolls. Don't get cruddy tattoos that show in public.

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

I like the idea of perfume, but often hate it on other people. Can rarely wear it because of other people's allergies. Am still searching for the perfect perfume; in my 20s, I wore Chanel 19, but am pretty sure they have changed the formula since then.

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

My clothes need to be perfectly ironed. I don't believe there is such a thing as no-iron shirts.

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

Only as a subtle finishing touch.

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?

No, I don't take fashion dictates to heart.

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

High quality business-suitable dresses, pants and jackets for work. Clothes for fishing. Large Tshirts and leggings to wear at home. A selection of coloured gemstone stud earrings.

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

A black silk halter blouse and skirt by Erdem. Could also qualify as the biggest waste of money since I wear it once every 2-3 years or so.

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 a sweater my father gave me that is too small, but will never be discarded.

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?

Simple tailored dresses.

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 blue Laura Asheley dress that I discarded because the sun faded one side of it while hanging in the closet. I still miss that dress.

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

My plainest black dress. It's indestructible.

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

Buy less, but higher quality.

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

A long black wool coat. It cost a fortune to me at the time, and yes I still wear it.

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

The perfectly fitted suit.

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

Middling. A little too tightly crowded.

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

Yes an incredible pair of earrings.

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?

A red wool winter coat that still feels fantastic whenever I put it on.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

When I have an hour to kill. This doesn't happen often. Or when I need something specific.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?


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

I'd like to be taken seriously, and dress with that expectation.

80. How does money fit into all this?

Good clothes aren't cheap.

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

Always earrings.

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

Not really. Women complement each other's clothes as small talk. Recently however, someone told me I looked "cute" which I took to mean that I wasn't measuring up to expectations. Nice/bitchy.

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 remember a dress I wore on a day when I had to go the doctor for shots (age 3-4.) It ruined that dress for me.

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


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

Scots-Canadian. Working class with education.

What kind of work do you do?

IT in an academic setting.

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


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

Really like clothes, but never felt i had the conformation to really look good in them.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Slightly depressed.


Uh, no thanks.

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