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Barbie Insua

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

On a good hair day

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

Women with beautiful grey hair always grab my attention. Otherwise I'm a bit of a space cadet - rather oblivious.

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

I love it when women revel in certain eccentricities. I knew a mom of a friend growing up who only whore white or tan linen. I decided then that when I'm elderly I'll only wear white linen.

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?

When I first moved to New York I was in a little east village shop, having a great time with the designer there (it was her little shop). She dressed me and said "that's it. Futuristic prairie". That stuck.

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

Wedges only and not too high. I could never walk in heals, period. Avoid 50's style or mid-waist anything. Can't stand tight clothes.

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

10% punk rock. Well, now it's more like 5%, usually in the form of a rough cuff. Ha.

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

I went to art school with a lot of fashion students. Even married one. But I wouldn't call those countless fashion conversations transformative, maybe cause of the sheer number. I was one of those who'd wear Stevie Nicks gowns in art school, frowned upon by the fashion set. They got a kick out of me only because they thought I didn't care WHAT they thought.

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

Truth. Compassion. Humor. Most of all truth.

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

Bracelets. I don't know how many I have. A lot of cuffs.

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

Yes, to my best friend. She didn't take off the necklace I got her for about 2 years.

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

What do you call those? High-low shirts. High in front and low in back. Hideous.

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

I liked how my mom dressed when I was a kid, turtle necks and interesting dresses and pants suits. Interesting jewelry, like a huge Mayan calendar pendant on a long chain. I still have it. She had just the right amount of sophistication. Easy.

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

From my mom the easiness. I don't like being uncomfortable so have to be little creative, in that I find interesting things that also feel good to wear.

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

Hmmm… not really.

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

Hahaha… 20 to 30 percent flower power.

16. Please describe your body.

A lot more padded in the last couple of years. Nice legs, hair.

17. Please describe your mind.

Seeks to meet others where they are, enjoys its ability to discern and be good company for myself. Appeals to the better nature in others by trying to remember this rule: respect even those who won't. No stranger to euphoria nor despair. Accepts me, and I accept it. Prepares for a good death.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Who's got that kind of time?

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

Pajamas, just black jersey gauchos and black cotton shirt. Haven't taken my makeup off. Hair - needs a wash.

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

Not sure it is. But I'd never really studied my dress habits to this degree so it is interesting.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

One close friend, really.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?


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

A little of both. Taste is more about balance to me. I work with typography and taste is very clear there. Style feels more versatile, more loose.

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


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

Empire waist - haha

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

I'm a designer - graphic. My style is very clean, leaning toward the elegant, always seeking balance and perfect communication.

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?

Discernment is something I've learned to cultivate and I quite enjoy it. It wasn't always that way. I know what I like, but there was a time in my life when I'd think about buying something and wonder if my close friend would like it. Not anymore. Yes, I know.

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?

I remember my grandmother made me take back to the store some sandals she thought had too high a heel. I cried and cried, I was 12. I've always been grateful for it. I ended up with far cuter sandals. Now I'm the same with my 13 year old.

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.

Cuban American, moved around a lot. Grew up in New Orleans and the Dominican Republic

What kind of work do you do?

Graphic Design

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

One daughter, single

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

I'm a buddhist. I work for JPL/NASA.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

A little self indulgent, but that's fine.


Too long. Cuban American living in LA.

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