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Catherine Stockhausen

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I feel most attractive when I feel thin. I feel thin on days I work out in the morning. This could be the only time I work out all month, but for that day I am thin. Also, good hair days make all the difference.

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

I appreciate the look of effortlessness. On the other side of the scale, if someone really stands out as a risk taker, I admire that too. In that case I often listen to detect a accent. I'm usually right.

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

I admire anyone who wears dresses in the winter.

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?

Letting my hair dry naturally and curl was a big one. I think the older I get, the more natural I have become. I wear less makeup too.

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

If I have to think about it twice I don’t get it.

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

I’m really stuck on the shoes matching the purse thing. It's outdated and silly but I can't get past it.

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

I once was second hand shopping with a friend many years ago and held up what I thought would be her taste in a dress. She was insulted and said “you don’t even know me”.

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

If it can be done tomorrow, why do it today.

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

I own four black tank tops at least, and one navy blue one. I pretty much just wear them under things. I don’t know why. It was also pointed out to me by my friends that I often buy sweaters the colour of “oatmeal”.

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

I had a tailor make a button-up shirt for an ex boyfriend out of fabric he chose. I think that was a pretty great gift. Who knows if he still wears it and it doesn't really matter. I was a damn good girlfriend.

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

I will never buy or wear jeans that are manufacturally "distressed". A little worn in looking, fine. But sometimes it looks like someone in the factory put on the pants and sat on a freshly painted white bench.

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

My mother had incredibly thin arms before she had kids. I did not get those. She had reddish hair. I do not have that. We do share an above average height, a bigger bottom lip than our top lips and brown eyes. I think my mother has classic style which was passed down to me, though she can't understand my unbrushed hair, untucked shirts or unbuttoned jackets.

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

Of course. When I started to develop my own sense of style I wore my father’s clothes. This was somehow subversive but not really uncommon. Also in the 80s I wore my grandmother’s broaches at the neck of my buttoned up dress shirts like Molly Ringwald would. I’m sure the first time I wore heels, they were my mother’s. We have the same size feet. Lately I’ve accepted occasionally wearing the insanely practical fanny pack after enough friends rocked them to great success. Oh and I switched wearing eyeliner from my bottom lid to my top lid after secretly obsessing over how my friend’s girlfriend did. That was 15 years ago and I still do it. She does not.

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

Don't think so

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

I used to refuse to show brand names in protest of being a walking billboard. I guess I still do but it's less of a struggle now. In the 80s it was a challenge. In the 90s I only shopped vintage but I can't say that was a political statement over a style choice. I won't wear fake leather but again, a style choice.

16. Please describe your body.

I developed an hour glass figure very early on. It was pointed out to me in the dressing room of my grade 7 dance team. Now I think I'm more of a pear which I suppose if par for the course. Things would even out more if I had large breasts but I do not. All that said, I am very tall which can be incredibly forgiving if one were to get all body conscious and analytical. Sometimes I do but at this moment I feel fine.

17. Please describe your mind.

I was thinking today that the bike I ride is like the car I drive, the house I live in, and I supposed also my mind. All a bit past their primes, somewhat rickety, but they've got good bones. That just made me sound senile I know. My mind is still expanding but there are some cobwebs in there for sure.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I'm a classic cancer. I internalize everything and keep it all in my shell until the shell breaks from the pressure.

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

I’m wearing a full length jersey skirt because my legs are a bit too hairy right now. I’m wearing a fav black tshirt which I have actually had for quite a few years. My face has my usual - moisturizer, upper lid eyeliner and mascara. My hair is freshly washed and therefor down and full.

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

If you allow yourself to feel pleasure in the way you choose to present yourself, it is all important. If your chosen exterior gives you anxiety, that is important too in a different way.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I started wearing a bit of makeup when I was 14 maybe 15. Then I quickly went crazy and wore, like, blush and eyeshadow and at one point bronzer for some reason. I even wore under eye concealer! This was all coming from the influence of girl friends. My mother never wore any makeup except lipstick. Then I enrolled in art school, felt like a feminist failure and went cold turkey (I also cut my hair off at this point incidentally). It took becoming comfortable with myself to start wearing makeup again. Pretty backwards. I’ve stuck to my same minimal routine for about 15 years now. I find it hard to look at photos from myself from those early art school days.

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

Everyone has taste. Their own taste. Thus the expression, “it’s not really my taste”. I think my taste is classic but what do I know. Re-reading this, I could say the same about the word "style".

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

I spent over $500 on a designer shirt once to look impressive at a big event. No one would have ever noticed because it was basically a grey t shirt with a bit of a strappy thing around my collar bone. I don't think I ever wore it again. I recently tried to sell it to a consignment store but it turns out there is a hole in it. So it now just sits in my closest. Every time I see it I think, never again.

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

Mens jeans.

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

I have a writing style and a photographic style. Maybe a dancing style.

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?

The only lesson I remember is to separate darks from lights which I continue not to do.

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

When I need an extra boost I put eye liner on the middle of each bottom eye lid only.

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

perfect light

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

I am weather obsessed so that is the first consideration. Will I be cold, hot, wet, seeking sun, out from day to night? Then I consider my agenda. Will I be sitting in a cold movie theatre later, attending any after work functions? I also think a lot about if I will have to look respectable during my work day. If I have a meeting I will try to wear a blouse. If I have to meet a celebrity (I do in my job) I will try to look confident and not have holes in my clothes. If I don’t have to face anyone special I will wear my clothes with holes in them.

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

I will never wear heels to work therefore I will never be the one with my own office. I do believe that.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

As someone who has photographed a lot of people I’ve taught myself what not to do in front of a camera.

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

Is that what I look like?

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

Anything slick. I am anti slick. My hair is wavy and tends to frizz. My complexion is spotty. I also don’t tuck in very much.

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

I like it but it makes me sneeze. Sometimes I make myself sneeze.

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

Ughhh. I hate this question because I always tell myself an expensive purchase is an investment but I don’t have many items I still wear from even three years ago.

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

Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. Always.

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?

My two early memories of clothes are both negative. At maybe five years old I found a spider in the roll of my rolled up jeans. I did not wear jeans again until Jr. High. I also hated the feeling of leotards ( I think because I was tall and they were always falling down) so there were a lot of corduroys in my prepubescent wardrobe. Much like my aversion toward the feel of leggings on my legs, I hated my brownie uniform. I believe this was early fabric snobbery. I couldn’t verbalize or even formulate my feelings but I knew it was cheap and it gave me an emotional rash.

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

July 12, 1972
I was born in Italy. I now live in Toronto.

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

My father was white Jamaican (via Germany). My mother is from PEI. Both Islands.

What kind of work do you do?

I produce.

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

I have a boyfriend but we're not married.

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