Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
Right after a shower. So clean!
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Women who show individuality in their clothing choices
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Having a total "look" from head to toe.
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?
The day I realized (living in a northern climate) that being warm was so much nicer than wearing clothing that looked good, but I was FREEZING COLD all day. I also realized that I did not want to fuss with my hair - either with coloring or blow dryers (except when it is sub-zero and my hair freezes solid when I go outside). My natural hair may be a mousy brown, but it has a nice wave and turns under by itself. Why force it to do differently??
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Find winter shoes that cover up the wool hiking socks. Get polar fleece that doesn't pill - it'll look good longer
Keep to browns and reds for the main colors and use accent colors off of them. It makes matching so much easier!
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Wool socks in the winter - warm feet = warm me = happier me
Puffy down jackets for the same reason
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I think it was when my mother told me that she loved wearing the color red so much that she felt like she was a freak. The sad part is, she really doesn't own that much red clothing. I decided that I would wear what makes me happy.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Comfort. My husband loves me best when I am warm & happy, regardless of hair, or clothes or anything else. This has rubbed off into other parts of my life.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Polarfleece shirts/polarfleece pants/wool socks. While I cannot wear the fleece pants to work, sometimes I do wear the polarfleece shirts and I do wear the wool hiking socks all winter long. It is the warmth thing. While a blazer does cover a lot of warmth, the comfy stretchy warm nature of polarfleece has me hooked. It also washes/dries a lot easier than most clothing.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I purchase almost all of my husband's clothes. Before he met me, he didn't think about fabric. Now he touches the shirts and comments how soft a fabric is. In the summer he is more concerned about breathability. I try to purchase things that he feels good in & that makes me feel good.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I refuse to wear "Buddy Holly"-style glasses with the wider bows for regular glasses. It is partially a peripheral vision thing, partially remembering looking at photos of my aunts wearing big glasses like that in the '50s/'60s and thinking about how dated they looked. Can't do it. I do wear Wayfarer sunglasses though. For some reason they're OK.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother is a little birdy thing - just like my 2 sisters. I am like my father & am larger, rounder. She cleaned houses into her late 60s. She had work clothes, house clothes and church clothes. My division of clothes may differ, but I generally separate my clothes into work (office), fancy and lounging. I don't worry about what I wear for a quick run to the grocery store.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I was pretty sarcastic about the scarf thing for quite a while. What I discovered is that it is another layer of warmth & I am all for that! Hate turtlenecks, but am now a big scarf convert.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
My style was forced to change when I went from a casual clothing work environment to an office attire place. So, more dress pants, nicer blouses. What I miss most is not being able to wear tennis shoes.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
16. Please describe your body.
I am 5"5 200lbs. More apple shaped. Bigger on top, less on the bottom.
17. Please describe your mind.
I enjoy being smart.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Try to be happy & appreciative of all things.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I am wearing a gray polarfleece 1/4 zip top, black velvet leggings, blue wool socks (thin), sheepskin slippers. A peach stretch bra and some black bikini underwear. My hair is an undyed, shoulder-length bob - air dried. Some greys, otherwise medium brown.
Glasses: rose-gold metal with brown plastic bows. No makeup (it is Sunday) - only moisturizer.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
The warmth, comfort, stretch all keeps me comfortable.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
Sometimes my sister.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Work forces me to dress in business casual. I hate that there are more rules regulating women's dressing than men. When we go to fine restaurants, there is the jacket requirement for men, but really no hard rules for women. I find that interesting.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Taste to me means dressing appropriately for all events. Style is the way the pieces of clothing are assembled. I think that Style can override taste if you know/understand the person. For example, I think Tim Gunn is the epitome of taste. His personal style the past few years is atrocious in my eyes.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I bought a pair of leather boots for $100. This is a lot of money in my world! I thought the "pinch" in the toes would go away. They're evil! I still end up wearing them a few times a winter, so that they are used. I resent wearing them almost as much as heels though.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
A cardigan with a big, loopy scarf over the top covers up whatever you're wearing as the top underneath. I wear more beige, since that is the color of my pet cat - less dark colors. That way I don't have to sticky-tape everything I own when I get to work.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I enjoy outdoor photography & the photos decorate our home.
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?
I have a pair of brown leather boots that have some metal on the side. They make a little noise when I walk & they feel really good to wear. I feel powerful when I wear them - they are my armor.
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 found that while knowing what I like is nice, it also is good to try on things that are outside the comfort zone. You never know what works. I try to treat everything as potentially good unless proven otherwise.
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?
When I was a child, my mother taught me how to use a sewing machine, darn socks (who does that nowadays), iron anything cotton, wash things in the correct temps, the correct way by reading the tags. I still hem and adjust clothing to fit me if necessary. Styling wasn't really discussed - just that clothes were clean, without holes, not "dragging the ground", and were appropriate for where we were going.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
A good bra & a lower cut top to "bring out the girls". I used to put my hair up when it was longer. I also used to put on a redder lipstick & maybe add some eyeshadow in addition to the usual mascara.
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 means that one does not need to change clothes at the end of the day to "release" themselves from clothing that is not "Them". It may be a blouse with a long skirt and sandals to some, and some sweatpants with a t-shirt to another.
The confidence comes from feeling powerful in the clothing you are wearing -
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?
Keep to a color palette of 1 or 2 basic colors and work off of that. By buying things in both the business and comfort levels, you can mix or match for any social event. Pay attention to how your body feels in the clothes and how YOU feel about the clothes you wear.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
A flattering outfit.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Clothes that are dirty or are really unflattering that are worn in an office environment.
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. The photographic memory of what is in my closet helps. I truly take into consideration what will match the new item and how it can be worn. If the price is right, and it is flattering, it may end up going home with me.
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 try not to think too much about the outside. I wear what makes me & possibly my husband happy. I am a big girl, so I don't bring the general public into my decisions.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
The weather, the potential temperature in the workplace (cool on Mondays, warming up incrementally over the week), what I wore last week (I wear pants twice before washing), what season it is (fall colors? bright spring pastels?) What shoes go with the outfit - sandals in the summer (which ones start to smell if I wear them more than 1x a week), shoes in the winter (alternate!). Wearing pearls on Tuesdays (an alternate to Tie Tuesday), means a piece of candy from the secretary. Wearing Red on Friday - red shirt Fridays to support the troops. I walk outside on my breaks, so unless it is -50 degrees Fahrenheit, I am outside for 30 minutes of walking.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I want to be the correct temperature - no freezing or sweating in the workplace. I want to be neat & clean & professional looking.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is putting on the required clothing to make it thru the day without getting into trouble for what you're wearing.
Dressing up is for mutual pleasure - mine and the people around me. The reward may be a meal in a fancy restaurant or theatre.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
My summer uniform is a long skirt, sandals, a peasant blouse & maybe a sweater if things start to cool some.
My winter uniform is dress pants, wool socks, durable shoes (warm & leather), a long-sleeve t-shirt (decorative), a cardigan or blazer, a scarf of some sort.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
I am more hippy than structured clothing. More flats than heels. More low-maintenance.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I am a 3rd generation white American. No real culture.
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?
There was a period of about 20 years where I only wore pants, mostly jeans, and owned no skirts or dresses. I hated being forced to dress like a "girly-girl" as a child. It was only when I did it on my own terms that it felt good.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
I wear the clothing, but I work in an office that is mostly men & women like me, so the makeup is sort of optional, neat, clean hair is the norm. The clothing is somewhere between work-casual and work-professional.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
The no flip-flops rule - does that include slides? I wear them, even though they make the same noise. I wear colored jeans, even though there is a rule against it. They're more solid-colored, not faded though. I don't think they care anyways.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
Having worn uniforms in the past, it is a love-hate relationship, depending upon how much time there is to do laundry. Most uniforms also use atrocious fabrics. The black pants always fade after a while and look sloppy.
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?
Jeans and a sweatshirt. The ease of it and how it fits into a lot of different social circles.
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?
Guys do have it easier than ladies. Jeans or khakis? T-shirt or button-down? Suitcoat? Dress shoes or tennis shoes? So many less decisions on what is right or wrong.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I enjoyed Malasia. Capri pants, longer skirts, modest tops to cover the shoulders/cleavage. I liked the modesty.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Yes. Trying on clothes, buying clothes, shopping for others....
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
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?
a beautiful wrap-dress. When I was smaller they looked great on me. now they hang funny.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Yes. I wear Pacifica's Vanilla perfume or their Mexican Chocolate perfume.
I am allergic to most musky/flowery perfumes (headaches), so I am happy to have 2 scents that work without headaches.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Shower, clean hair, mascara/lipstick if there's time. Clean, neat clothes.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
Mascara & lipstick - moisturizer. Sometimes eyeshadow.
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?
Foundation/blush. My skin is so sensitive that it is nothing but a way to create breakouts.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
the hippy officeworker with freshwater pearls in many colors.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I like my colored freshwater pearl necklaces.
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 buff raw silk dress. I grew too big for it, but I can't seem to give it to Goodwill. Maybe I am waiting for my sisters to get larger so that they may fit into it!
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?
The cardigans! So versatile for all seasons & professional & comfortable. The wool socks - ugly, a little expensive but so important to me keeping warm.
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?
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
A crinkle skirt with peach flowers on it. Softest fabric. A birthday present from my mother. 20 years old & I still wear it.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Less artificial fabrics. More color in measured doses.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
The brown boots. Hell yes, I still wear them! They're my winter skirt go-to boots!
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
No. Just the realization that cheap doesn't mean that it is flattering or good to own just because it is cheap. Quantity doesn't mean shit if it is all ugly.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Nice cotton cardigans in a rainbow of colors. At a price I can afford!
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
My drawers overfloweth. I need to do a purging, but it is so difficult for me.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Pearls from my husband. The skirt from my mother. Both are valuable in my eyes.
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?
The black cotton cardigan. So versatile. Ended up retired because it faded/wore out. Loved to death.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
When I have the money & I know that the clearance racks are good. That is when I shop.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
Vanilla - like a donut! Pacifica body butter.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I dress like my boss. Don't want her job, but want to look better than my colleagues.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Buy on sale, carefully!
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
Mascara, silver hoop earrings.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Grew up with my sister calling me fat. all the time. Even when I was 120 lbs. and was not really fat.
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?
It was a brown dress with orange/green bits. I was about 6. We were at the county fair. I felt so pretty in it!
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Aug. 20, 1968. Born & still live in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
German lower-middle class.
What kind of work do you do?
I am a graphic artist working on electronic manuals for the military.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married, no kids, 1 cat
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I love fashion, but find as I get older that I don't care to apply it to myself as much.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?