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Jennifer Wineke

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I feel my most attractive when I'm wearing something that I feel is interesting or creative, that I put together thoughtfully, and that somehow reflects my mood. And when I'm with other people, having a good time.

I feel unattractive when I didn't think at all about what I put on, or when I'm wearing something that is at odds with how I'm feeling. Or when I'm being lazy and not doing what I know needs to be done.

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

Yes! Women in Los Angeles are so beautiful and stylish. I notice them all.

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

I admire women who present themselves confidently. You can tell when someone's wearing something they feel great in. It takes a certain amount of bravery to wear whatever you want. It's crazy that that is true, but it is. I try to emulate that.

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?

In college, I cut my hair into a pixie. It was long and blonde and thick, and I got a lot of negative feedback when I cut it, which hurt my feelings at first, but then made me kind of mad, both at those who told me I "used to be prettier" and at myself for caring so much (especially seeing as the act of chopping off your hair is supposed to reflect and reinforce confidence! But it turns out that stuff doesn't just turn on). ((Most people were complimentary and kind, but of course I forget those people.))

But one realization that started brewing then, and continues to "click" more and more as I keep having these experiences, is that as long as I appear in public, and particularly if I'm wearing something bold on my face or body, there will always be people offering unsolicited [negative] comments on my fashion or makeup or hair. But it really doesn't have anything to do with me, not if I don't want it to! I don't have to let it in.

So as much as I want to cry at those meanies (I WOULD NEVER SAY THAT TO YOU, I DIDN'T ASK YOU, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT!) it is really and truly best to say, "Oh, okay!" and go on with my life.

So basically, if you want to be confident, be confident. Hair changes may or may not help in that regard.

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

Recently I've started only buying stuff if it will fit into my existing wardrobe, because I have a very small closet and not that many clothes, so they all have to sort of go together. I think I'm "finding my style."

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

I never wear flip-flops and rarely wear red. I feel sloppy in flip flops (I don't dress super put-together, so this is a totally arbitrary line to draw). And I have no idea why I don't wear red. It seems a bit abrasive, maybe.

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

I had a sort of heated argument with a friend once about what it means to follow popular trends in fashion. She looked down on trend-following as a sign of a lack of independent thought, or a sort of uncreative desire to fit in. I can't remember exactly. My friend probably doesn't even remember it. But I was very insistent that people should wear whatever they want, whether it's everywhere or nowhere, and be respected for making that choice. That fashion should be fun and personal, and that's it. That when people start censoring what they wear, or get that idea into their head that they should censor what they wear so they don't get judged or looked down on or labeled inaccurately, that something expressive and potentially joyful is squashed, and that's mean.

I know that the reality is that people judge you based on what you wear, often not consciously. And that I do that, too, without a doubt. And that's fine. It's unavoidable and okay. But I don't want to ever say anything about anyone's clothes out loud unless it's a compliment. Probably because I would like everyone else to do that, too. I just want getting dressed to be fun. It sucked so much in middle school, worrying about what people would think. It should just be fun from here on out.

I don't really know if that conversation was transformative for either one of us, but it did cement those beliefs in my head.

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

Right now I have a lot of pastel-colored clothing. A lot of polka dots, too. I'm into a cutesy retro Cali thing at the moment, probably because I recently moved back here, and it's warm.

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

No, now that I think about it. I wish!

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

Honestly, most of my clothing inspiration comes from the internet!

But I have always stolen boyfriends' shirts. They're just nice.

16. Please describe your body.

Tall-ish, pale, freckled, generally slim but also quite soft, I think!

17. Please describe your mind.

Also quite soft. Absorbent?

18. Please describe your emotions.


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

I'm wearing jeans, a polka-dot button-up, and no makeup, because I'm working from home. I dyed my hair a cotton-candy pink color yesterday, and I think it looks pretty good. The lady behind the counter at my coffee shop complimented me on it. She basically compliments me every morning, even when I'm wearing yesterday's clothes and no makeup, like this morning, and it is so awesome. Someone saying, "Hello, beautiful!" to you at 6:30 am is the best. Everyone should go to this coffee shop.

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

Most everybody wears clothes. Talking about how and why and in what ways we all do something sounds important to me.

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

I think I do. To me, "taste" or "style" is just thinking about what you're adorning yourself with. Putting some thought into it. Choosing how you present yourself. It's perfectly fine if you don't, if you just throw on whatever somebody got for you or whatever is most conveniently available in your size. But I wouldn't call that having taste or style.

It's only important if it's important to you. I know people without taste or style who seem to lead full and happy lives!

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

Yes, I think so. I like my apartment to look a certain way. If I had a car I'd probably prefer a certain car. Once I have my own house it will look like me. It's important to me to be surrounded with stuff that feels right.

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?

Definitely. Break-ups. Dressing in a way that makes me feel good and confident is crucial to gaining a sense of control over my day-to-day life. It's a decision I get to make every morning. Or afternoon or evening, whatever.

That Audrey Hepburn quote that everyone shares all the time, about pulling yourself together and putting on lipstick, or something? I think there's some truth to that. Lipstick, clothes, they can make you feel powerful. Obviously there are many cons to your feelings being tied up in your appearance…but putting on an awesome dress and feeling instantly better is a perk.

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?

Yes, I'm pretty picky when it comes to clothing, which makes me feel bad sometimes when it comes to gifts (just wear what your mother bought you, you ungrateful snob!). I also know what I like when it comes to books, music, and movies, but I'm a lot more open to trying new things in those areas. But I don't have to to wear those things on my body, so that makes sense.

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

Unbrushed, dirty hair and red lipstick make me feel alluring, but it is possible that washing my hair would be more effective in actually alluring.

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?

This stuff hanging off your body should make you feel better about being in the world, not worse!

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

Honesty, kindness, humor, openness.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Judgement, narrow-ness, spite.

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?

I think my "outer eye" is a loved one, but that loved one changes, depending on who's in my life. So they see me more objectively than I can see myself, but still lovingly.

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

I consider how I feel (mood-wise, about my body) but also just gravitate toward what is clean and what excites me. I tend to get fixated on one (usually new) skirt or shirt or dress for a few weeks and wear that with all the other stuff in my closet until I move onto something else. In Los Angeles you don't have to consider the weather that much.

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

I would love for my uniform to be a dusty-pink shift dress with short sleeves and brown flats. I have neither of those things.

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?

Weirdly, no, I've never wished I had a man's body. I feel like I can do pretty much everything I want to do with the one I've got. Which makes me lucky, I know.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. When I was in high school, a friend told me that I look much better in person than I do in photographs, and I really took that to heart. I think he honestly meant it as a compliment. But since then I've always had it in my head that I'm not photogenic.

Actually, my boyfriend recently told me the same thing! That photographs don't capture me well. I wasn't really hurt this time, though. It's certainly not my fault! And no one's following me around with a camera anyway.

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

Sometimes I think something negative about my appearance, but occasionally I'll think that I look good, and I'll feel glad about it. I've gotten much better about this over time. I hope that trend continues.

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

When I had trouble falling asleep as a child, my mother used to tell me to "think about the prettiest dress I could imagine" and it would help me drift off. Sometimes I still do that. So I imagine that dress might have featured in my dreams over the years.

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

Super edgy or androgynous. I'm pretty feminine.

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

Don't worry! You look great.

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

I like makeup. I think it's fun how different it can make you look. I don't like when dudes say, "I prefer girls who don't wear makeup," because it's a weird preference that is, I think, based on the assumption that girls are using makeup to correct flaws and present themselves more ideally to dudes, and the dude is saying, "Hey, no worries, you don't have to do that for me." And yeah, sometimes it works as a flaw corrector, for sure. It's hard to escape that pressure. But sometimes it's just fun. There are so many cool things you can do to your face. I love when people have fun with makeup. Saying you prefer girls with no makeup is almost a weird, arrogant pressure-statement, like "I want you to be naturally beautiful and confident about it all the time and also not have fun expressing yourself that way…" But maybe it's fine for everyone to have their preferences. Maybe I'm too serious about this subject.

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

Right now, some dresses, less pants, even less shorts, a lot of shirts, a handful of skirts, two necklaces, and no earrings or rings.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I like shopping online and in vintage or thrift stores around my neighborhood. Occasionally I'll go to the mall to get something specific. But I do feel better giving my money to little independent shops. I know this is typical and weird and sucks, but I often shop for clothes when I'm feeling sad/boring/uninspired/bad about myself. Sometimes I just see something I like, though! It's not always a symptom.

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

No. I used to wear rings my ex-boyfriends gave me, but then I realized I didn't have to do that if I didn't want to, so I stopped.

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 feel like I've always been conscious of what I am wearing. Even my earliest memories as a 4- or 5- or 6-year old revolve around clothes in some way. I can vividly remember my favorite green overalls and purple flowered swimsuit in preschool or kindergarten. I have a vague recollection looking in the mirror as a child while wearing one of my favorite outfits and thinking, "I look so cute in this!" and feeling proud. Is that weird for a tiny girl?

Clothes are like my memory signposts. When I see myself in an old photograph, that's often what triggers the larger memory for me -- the outfit, not the scene.

One of my earliest and fondest clothing-related memories is from when I was maybe 6, and my sister, who was 8, either found a jellyfish in her shoe or was irrationally terrified of finding a jellyfish in her shoe. We were living in Hawaii at the time, so it wasn't entirely irrational, I guess. My mom sat us down and had us write and illustrate little books about finding jellyfish in our shoes to work through her anxieties. Sort of a "what's the worst thing that could happen?" exercise, but cuter. I think they were titled, "What Would You Do If You Found a Jellyfish In Your Shoe?" I'm not sure where the story went from there.

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

December 29, 1988. I was born in Maryland, grew up mostly in Louisiana, and now live in Los Angeles.

What kind of work do you do?

I write for a travel company and try to make stuff on the side.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Good. I like clothes a lot, so being able to talk about that in a way that feels thoughtful is nice.

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