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Lot Oostveen

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I hardly ever feel attractive and have taught myself not to bother.

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

Women who seem to feel secure and to be comfortabke with themselves.

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

I admire women who do not dress as fashion slaves.

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?

When I found out wat colours I like. Also, when I realised thad I am not comfortable in tight and/or revealing clothes.

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

I mostly buy good quality clothes that combine with what I already have, and few items that will be glaringly out of fashion next year.
I buy colors that suit me.
I want usable pockets in my pants.
I don't buy synthetics, they are uncomfortable and sweaty.
Rule One for daily wear: Can one ride a bicycle in it?

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

Dress according to your mood en to the occasion.

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

I don't think I had one, ever.

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

Not at all. Finances need a mostly rational approach, my work a combination of the intellectual and the instinctive, chores are best approached physically, life and relationships need all of the above.

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

Anything in earth colours, because they are so hard to find. I tend buy two to four when I find them, to make then last longer.

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

Yes, my sisters-in-law and my niece love my hand-crocheted woolen shawls.

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

Oh yes, lots! I only follow trends if I happen to like them. I skip everything that makes me feel uncomfortable.

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

My mother was a bit more conformist than I, but of course she grew up in the thirties and early forties so didn't have much choice.

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

Not really. I was a bit of a tomboy and still am not a very feminine type, I had to experiment to find my own style.

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

I tend to dress slightly more formally since I turned sixty. Apparently it is not right for senior citizens to wear jeans, t-shirts and hiking boots.
I do seem to get more respect, though. Weird.

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

Yes. I signal that I am tough, independent and NOT sexually available. No cleavage, no heels, no-nonsense.

16. Please describe your body.

Medium tall, square and muscular, a bit overweight, short hair, middle blond going silver.

17. Please describe your mind.

Intellectual, independent, fast-thinking, nerdy, well-read, obstinate, tenacious, realistic, tough, humorous.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Loyal, fierce, basically positive, occasionally fearful, not overly trustful

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

Am wearing sweatpants an t-shirt, hair brushed in shale, no make-up. I never wear make-up, I am alkergic to most of it.

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

Mostly it seems more important to others than to myself.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

I don't talk much about clothes. If I do it's mostly wity my lifepartner or family.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Occasionally they make me dress more formally than Like. I also feel pressure to dress more femininely, so far I refuse.

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

Yes, I think I have taste, i.e. I know what suits me, and I have style, i.e. I can express my personality through what I wear.

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

The worst waste of money on clothes was buying a set of ten t-shirts at a sale, which became so warped after washing that they were not wearable any more. A matter of 30 Euros.

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

Not that I know.

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

Yes, in home decoration and furniture. Fortunately my lifepartner's tastes and mine are mostly similar.

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?

Yes, the 'don't mess with me' stuff: jeans, Doc Marten's, leather jacket.

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 do know what I like, in clothes, furniture, books, music, etc. My awareness of lifestyl started at home as a child. My background is North-West-European intellectual-progressive middle class, we were brought op to think independently.

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?

All kinds of subjects, including clothes, dressing and lifrstyle, were discussed at dinner and at Sunday's leisurely breakfast. Vociferously.

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

I don't, really. My seduction techniques are mostly vocal and culinary.

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?

To feel comfortable and confident, the clothes I'm wearing should make me feel good and be suitsble to the occasion/the company I'm in.

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?

1. Dress in clothes YOU feel comfortable in.
2. Be aware of social and professional dress codes, and incorporate them into your own style where needed.

The basic rule of the game: please yourself and try not to embarrass people who are important to you.

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

When style and personality are a perfect fit, a person radiates happines and confidence. I love it!

34. What do you consider very ugly?

People wearing clothes that do not suit them, in wrong colour, ot a wrong size. They are bound to feel, and look, uncomfortable.
And yes, major disfigurements are not attractive.

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?

I do by now, yes.

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?

The other person is a cross between my very stylish grandmither and my evil twin :-)

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

The weather, my plans for today (work, free time), my mood.

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

To look like myself, basically.

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

Dressing up, I consider what is proper for the occasion and the people zi will be with.

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

Rule One: I must be able to ride a bicycle in it.
So: loose pants, shirt, sweater or jacket, raincoat, sensible shoes.

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

Me: good quality sensible clothing in grays, soft greens and blues and earth colours of mostly Scandinavian design, flat shoes. Or bicycle sportswear in non-lurid colours. Or jeans, t-shirt and hiking boots.

Not me: high heels, hard colours, lurid colours, pastel colours (I hate pink!), low-necked shirts, skirts, dresses, make-up, dyed hair.

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

My background is native North-West-European intellectual-progressive middle class. I was born in the fifties and grew up in Amsterdam in the sixties. It was a good time to experiment with clothing, and I found I felt most comfortable in jeans an colourful hippie gear.

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?

When I was a little girl in the fifties, I wore skirts and dresses, as was usual at that time. I didn't like them much, fo I preferred to p,ay 'cowboys and indians' with the neighborhood boys and skirts were not very practical for that.

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

No makeup, ever, I'm allergic to most of the stuff. Short hair brushed in shape, small silver earrings, my Finnish design ensembles, simple flat shoes.
If it's just us IT people in an implementation weekend, we all wear jeans, shirts and sneakers.

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

The bank dress code for women is short tight skirt, jacket, high heels, moderate cleavage. Very not me. You get more slack in the IT department though, and I rebel cleverly enough to get away with it, so far.

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

No, not really.

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

Not applicable

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, shirt, sneakers or hiking boots. Practical, durable, gives freedom of movement.

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?

Yes, when I was little. I found girl clothes and girl play way too confining.

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

The hippie culture was right for me. You could wear anything , or nothig, as you pleased.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No, I hate cameras

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

I feel very uncomfortable being photographed, and it shows. I don't like the result.

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

I admired my maternal grandmother, she was very well-dressed.

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

Excepting stress dreams of finding myself suddenly without a stitch in the middle of a final exam, no.

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

Veri feminine and/or sexy.

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?

About what I wear now, a few sizes smaller.

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?

Mildly discouraging importune males is part of it, yes. I am not available.

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

On the contrary: please stop telling others what (not) to wear!

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

Most perfume is too strong ant gives me asthma attacks. I yse a light toch of orange flower water.

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

Basic cleanliness and neatness, and removal of a few dark facial hairs. In summer I shave my lower legs.

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

I don't use makeup

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

26 April 1954, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I live in Amsterdam

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

Native Dutch, progressive-intellectual middleclass background.

What kind of work do you do?

Authorisation management and reporting, member of ICT Security team in a bank

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

In a civic union, no children

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I see that many women spend so much of their time and energy on clothes etc. I would like to know why, and I welcome research into this subject.
I have to go somewhere now, sorry i can't complete the whole questionnaire.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

You do have to go and ask every question three times?


Dutch, independent spirit, IT, cyclist, cook, reader, cat lover.

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