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Rise Ruhl

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I am fully dressed -- hair, nails, face, outfit, accessories.

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

Those who look sophisticated.

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

I admire if they show confidence in their demeanor.

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 don't think so. Pretty much as long as I can remember, if I left the house (at least as a young adult and on) I was dressed, hair brushed, etc.

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

Only buy from the clearance rack! LOL I always hit there first and I have a hard time buying something if it's not on clearance. The few times I have, though, I have always been glad I did. For example, I bought a pair of high end jeans and only got 20% off the original price. But they looked GOOD!

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

Only wear classic looks. I am not a trendsetter and tend to be very unhappy when I buy trendy clothes. But some people can pull it off. I stick to the classics.

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

My sister once told me that when she can't decide if she looks good in the morning (clothes-wise) before work, she asks herself what if I would wear it! Wow! That made me really start paying attention to what I wore. What an awesome compliment!

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

Not sure I understand the question.

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

Black pants and blacks skirts. Because you can pair them with just about anything!!!

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

Yes. I bought my sisters and my daughter a necklace. I also bought myself one. It is a nice, but not overly expensive piece, that looks good with a lot of things. Plus it creates a bond between us.

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

Leggings. Sheesh. No one under the age of 25 should wear those.

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

My mom's family tends to be very heavy. And they have big backsides. I fight daily to keep my weight down. Not much I can do about the rear end though!

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

I once worked with a woman who not only always looked very put together, but if she didn't have something to wear she would go home and sew something! I definitely copied some of her classic style.

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

Not my entire style, but when I was first married, and for many years thereafter, I would always get up before my husband and do my hair and face and get dressed. I don't know if he ever saw me without makeup! Not that I wear a ton or anything anyway. At some point, with children and all, I started letting him see the real me. He didn't run away.

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

No. I work in DC so try to stay out of the political fray!!

16. Please describe your body.

Pear shaped. Very small and narrow shoulders. Big backside and thighs.

17. Please describe your mind.

Analytical thinker. Organized.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Usually pretty well under control. I am old enough to not let others influence this as much.

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

Not fair! I am doing this at 6 a.m. on a Saturday before I start my day. So pajamas and I haven't even brushed my hair yet!!!

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

In my work world (a government office in DC) it's important to convey professionalism at all times. And that should carry over into your personal life. I once had a college professor say, "If you want to be a winner, you must dress like a winner!" She wasn't wrong.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?


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?

My husband has more taste. And he knows my style. We make a good pair when we go shopping!

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

A trendy jacket in a bright color. Just not me.

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

I sure didn't invent them but can't live without Spanx-type undergarments. EVERY woman should wear them. Nobody wants to see those lines and bumps!

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

A little style in my interior decorating.

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?

Job interviews. If you feel together and confident you will project that.

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 try very hard to NOT fall into the hype of marketing and the media. I think I have a pretty good discerning skills. Not sure where it came from. Practice?

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?

We didn't have a lot when I was growing up and many clothes were handmade (very well). I mostly learned from them to take care of what you have. And to always wear clean clothes. My mom used to say, you can be poor, but you don't need to be dirty.

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

Good underwear! See comment above on Spanx. This goes for bras too. Always wear well fitting bras.

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 is not feeling out of place in my environment. Confident comes from that comfort.

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?


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

The way you treat others.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

The way some people treat others. Narcissism.

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. After buying a few trendy pieces over the years, I have discovered that I am just a classics girl. Whether a button down shirt with a pair of Levi's, or a gray skirt and jacket with a light blue blouse, I am usually dressed in a pretty classic manner.

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?

This other person would be a professional female. It probably is a compilation of many people I have known.

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

I always lay out my clothes the night before so I can spend time considering combinations and accessories.

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

An air of professionalism and confidence.

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

Dressing up is a whole 'nother part of the closet! I dress every day. Seriously. I once read about a woman who dressed, not overly but not sloppy, to clean house. I do that. Every single day, I get a shower, do my hair, sometimes skip the make up if I know I am not going out. And then I do my chores or whatever needs done for the day.

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

Skirt, blouse, low heeled pumps.

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

Trendy clothes are not me! Only the classics!

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

WASP. Probably why I stick with basics and a lot of black.

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?

Not really.

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

Buy good brands. Off the sale rack, mind you, but never buy cheap brands. It's not worth the savings.

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

I not only conform but at times have been the one the expectations are drawn from. I am pretty conservative in my dress.

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

Not anymore. I used to be in the military. That may have shaped some of my insistence on always looking very put together.

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

Just followed the rules!

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

Comforting at times. Took all the decision out of it.

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?

Levi's and an oxford button down. Classic yet comfortable.

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?

How easy do they have it?! A suit and tie. As long as it's clean and it fits, you're in business!

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

1950s and 1960s USA! I want to wear little hats and gloves!!!

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No way.

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

That I have an extra chin.

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

Audrey Hepburn to the degree a pear can look like Audrey Hepburn.

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


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

The skinny jean look. Yikes!

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?

Black skinny pants that come to my ankle and high heels.

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?

Stop wearing leggings and skinny jeans. Don't wear pj pants to the store. Yoga pants can be okay, but make sure they look good.

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

Not usually. If so, just so the one closest to your neck can smell it.

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

Always clean and pressed, even if it's casual clothes.

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

Most days I wear at least light makeup. I rarely wear heavy make up. Mostly I accent my eyes and a little blush on my cheeks.

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?

I don't think so.

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

Very classic, conservative, basic items.

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

The turtle necklace my Dad gave me. Sentimental, yes, but also a very nice gold turtle charm.

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 really don't do this much.

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?

High quality suits.

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 dress by Jones New York. Just a good looking dress that never wrinkled so great for travel. I lost weight so couldn't wear it. But it was comfortable AND stylish!

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

My grey suit. Just classic!

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

Plan better.

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

Don't really remember.

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


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

Generally tidy and organized.

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

1958. Born in Cleveland, live in DC area.

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

Background is blue collar.

What kind of work do you do?

White collar professional.

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

Married with grown children.

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