Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I've slept well and eaten well, when I'm in a happy mood, when I'm with my friends, family or boyfriend having a great time and laughing a lot!
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I do! A huge range – the other day I was amazed by the lines a woman had created in her outfit, a sleek low ponytail lining up with a thick silver zip which ran all the way up the back of her simple, loose black dress. Very clean and really satisfying to see! But there's no unifying feature to what I notice, just whatever interests me. Applies to other genders too.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
A really confidently-chosen outfit, or what looks like one. Being really well-groomed (I'm awful at it). A great, strong walk. Good shoes.
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 can't really remember any 'click' moment. I know that discovering the joys of really lovely underwear changed how I viewed clothes forever! I realised the absolute truth behind the idea that you're most attractive (or whatever) when you dress to please yourself. I loved – and still love – choosing underwear which no one on a day-to-day basis sees but me.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Don't spend too much money on any one item... This is ridiculous, of course. Pay per wear, etc, but also – if it makes you happy then how is it not worth the money?
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Dress to emphasise what you do like about your shape and disguise what you don't. I'm trying to move away from this – there's so little joy in dressing to make yourself look a certain shape, and I want to dress joyfully. It's almost never this which I love about other women's clothes – "wow, that dress is so great because it makes her waist look smaller" is a thought which has probably never entered my head...
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
At uni, unsurprisingly. Just a conversation where it turned out a friend and I had been thinking exactly the same things about feminism, clothes and style and we had the most unbelievable fun sharing our revelations over several pots of tea one night...
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I'm attempting to, but so far I've only been successful in my relationship. The idea is basically to do things consciously, or mindfully. Make whatever choices you want, but know why you're making them, pretty much. It's really hard!
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Ankle boots with a reasonably high, blocky heel. They're comfortable, make any outfit instantly less formal without being too casual or messy, and for some reason I never think about how they make my legs look because they're so comfortable and versatile. Perfect!
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I bought a friend a yellow silk slip in a Debenhams sale which was so perfect for her. She loved it, and wears it quite a lot!
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
None on principle – it's just putting fabric on your body (or not, as the case may be) after all! But there are some I don't find particularly interesting or aesthetically pleasing, like big shoulder pads or sportswear. Some I like, but I avoid because I don't feel they look good on me (trying to learn to ignore that voice). I love those sort of cigarette trousers in a really structured, patterned fabric or in something soft and easy looking.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Body, sort of. Style, no! Heavy hips and big bum, small waist, bit of weight on my stomach. I have much less delicate legs, ankles and wrists, more from my dad's side. My mum dresses for function, mostly. She likes some pretty things every now and then, but never thinks of how things go together, and she seems to find the idea of owning something for special occasions kind of self-indulgent in a bad way.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
A shirt dress from a friend, some amazing wooden platform heels from my stepmum, a general exchange of scarves and hats ad styling ideas...
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I don't think I ever made a conscious decision to 'reinvent myself' or anything like that. My style has evolved gradually, I think. Perhaps one of the biggest choices I made was in my late teens, when I decided to stop reading a fashion magazine every week. I read them very occasionally now, but generally I just see what people in the street are wearing and what's in the shops, and don't have these odd ideas of which trends I HAVE to wear in my head!
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Yes, definitely! I dress how I like, but am increasingly trying to source what I buy more carefully. Just as I won't buy cosmetics from a company which tests on animals, I'm increasingly uncomfortable buying clothes from shops with fuzzy ethical practices.
Other than that, my 'big political statement' is against body shaming. If I'm showing my legs, or my chest, or my back, or my stomach, or if the clothes are tight, or if they're loose, or if I'm entirely covered or in bright colours or all black... I don't think any of this should have more than a passing, superficial effect on how people treat me, and I afford them the same courtesy.
16. Please describe your body.
Generally functional, with interesting curvy bits and bony bits and bumpy bits. Fun to draw, and show, and hide. Strong legs, weak arms and weak lungs (bloody asthma). A teeny tiny waist and a big bum. Thighs which I struggle with, and hands from a long line of farmers! A lovely tattoo right between my shoulder blades. Lovely clavicles (but then I think they always are).
17. Please describe your mind.
Strong, independent, buzzing, hungry. Lazy, tangled, confused, despondent. Bright, optimistic, scared, loving. Squidgy, grey and in between my ears.
18. Please describe your emotions.
See 'mind' (apart from the squidgy bit).
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Body: Dark red ankle boots with black laces and soles. Black socks with a white frill on top. An A-line skirt in grey marl jersey, which ends just below my knees. A cashmere blend, white, slouchy vest top. Cream scarf with orange foxes which my boyfriend bought me. Pearl necklace, silver rough diamond ring on left middle finger, silver ring on right middle finger. Smallish, thin, beaten silver hoop earrings (or does that count as face?). A lovely black satin pair of pants and nude satin bra, both from Gossard, which I love!
Face: makeup I put on this morning, which is mostly gone now. BB cream, concealer and powder on my skin. Brown eyeshadow to fill in my brows. Black eyeshadow used as eyeliner. Black mascara. Tortoiseshell-patterned, sort of wayfarer-style glasses with wooden arms from British Laundry.
Hair: fringe blowdried so it doesn't go everywhere, the rest natural. A little way below my shoulders, chestnut brown, sort of curly and wavy.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
Self-expression, fitting into your environment, warmth or coolness. Keeping your mind active, engaging with interesting crafts and ideas. In many ways, just easing fears about how you look and making you less self-conscious, though I hope one day this motivation is gone.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
I'd love to fill in all these questions, but have to go now! Interesting survey though, sorry if I've been pretentious and over-detailed, I got a bit into it...
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Winter of 1990. Born in Devon, now living in London.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
English and Italian, would probably define myself as European if I was feeling fancy. From a middle class family who were farmers and refugees two generations ago, so apparently we're climbers!
What kind of work do you do?
I work in travel publishing, at the bottom of the ladder.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
In an open relationship, very in love, awful with kids and too young so I have none.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
Lots of struggles with my own appearance, and my family's had a lot of difficulty with weight so it was always something I thought about. Very educated family which encouraged discussion about what was on our minds. Discovered I enjoyed life modelling and ended up a strong advocate of open relationships for non-monogomously-minded people. Probably relevant!
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Like I wish I could have filled out all of it!
Born, grew up, read a lot, had a few crises. Repeated these steps (except birth) until now, and will probably keep doing so. Sounds like a pretentious arse, is actually trying to write an extremely concise summary of a whole life and ballsing it up!