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Kristen P.

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

There are mornings when I wake up and look in the medicine cabinet mirror and I look good. My face seems fresh and glowing, my eyes seem bigger and for once my fine hair has tousled body. It always comes as a pleasant surprise because I haven't put any effort or thought into looking attractive.

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

I often notice women who have what I would characterize as a sort of quiet elegance. There are two women I see travelling to work everyday on the bus. An older woman ( 70s) who has beautifully tailored clothing, excellent posture, and just a sense of confidence about her. The other is a young woman (20s) who has excellent bone structure and dresses in a sort of minimalist mod way ( Edie Sedgwick like). There is a way she always looks as she reads and the looks out the window, lost in thought that is so appealing and attractive to me. I think both women are people that I would like to be like now and when I'm older. I get excited when I see them, and always check out their outfits as well as their mannerisms.

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

I may have already answered that in the question above! Confidence is huge, as are well-fitting clothes. I make snap judgements ( that I nonetheless believe are often accurate) about how self-conscious or self-involved women are based on their fashion choices and how they carry themselves. So I guess I admire women who seem confident and happy. They care about others, but have their own thoughts, choices and sartorial statements.

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 think after my Mom died when I was in my mid 20s, I started to care more about presentation. Before, I had little patience for it. I thought that women were too often neurotic and obsessive about their appearance; there seemed to be all of these invisible rules about how to appear and be that made me uncomfortable.
My Mom was someone who put alot of effort into her appearance. I always got the impression she enjoyed the rituals and the decadence of putting on make-up, finding the 'perfect' outfit, styling her hair, painting her nails. After she dies I started to put on lipstick, take time with my hair and I found that it was comforting because it reminded me of her, and was also something that made me feel good.

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

I don't like shopping, especially in malls, so I do it as little as possible. I also prefer to shop alone. So I suppose those are rules I follow that wouldn't make sense for other women.

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

I think women are too often subjected to rules about fashion and style as if they were universal and objective. There are many things that I would never dare wear because I think they're unattractive: the colour orange, brooches. big heels, noticeable logos,etc. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.

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

I don't know if I've ever had a really interesting, intelligent conversation person to person about fashion/style. I've read interesting things about fashion in magazines that have been surprising and useful. Probably not transformative though.

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

I try to be as honest and responsible as possible. I'm concerned about how to live ethically, and that includes relationships, work, etc. But I often feel confused and overwhelmed. It doesn't really feel that unified at all.

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

The item I own the most of are dangling earrings. I probably have about a dozen pairs, which might not even sound like that much to other people. Dangling earrings make me feel attractive, I think they draw attention to my neck ( which I like) and I like the movement of the earring while I walk. Also, since I'm a frugal and fairly poor I feel ok with buying multiple pairs of earrings because I can find cheap pairs that are still cute.

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

I bought my Mom a Fred Flinstone brooch when I was a kid on a school trip to Canada's Wonderland. When I saw it in the gift shop, I knew she would love it. I imagined what her face would look like when I gave it to her. Her reaction lived up to my expectations, and I still remember that.
Generally though I'm very hesitant to give jewellery or clothing to anyone. I always assume I won't get it right.

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

I don't really like any revivals of 80s fashion trends: acid wash, neon colours, leg warmers, oversized clothing, etc.
I also don't care for alot of ironic hipster clothing like trucker hats, or those Canadiana shirts that have pictures of wolves/trees on them. I think it's a way to sneer at other peoples genuine fashion choices and its snobby and classist.

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

I have the same hands and arms as my Mom: hairless arms and piano fingers. I think we are also the same breast size. The rest of my body is different though. My Mom hated her legs and told me I was lucky not to inherit her " Hulk" legs, instead I inherited the skinny legs on my Dad's side.
I'm not sure if our style is very similar. I always thought my Mom was stylish, but she bought clothes that I would never wear ( e.g long skirts, especially denim).

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


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

I think my style is starting to change significantly now. I just finished school and have more time and disposable income to spend on fashion and make-up. I'm also more aware in my late 20s of the power of fashion: I think it can communicate ideas and intentions. I'm more conscious at this point in my life of what I'm thinking, feeling, desiring and wearing.

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

Not overtly so. I try to buy used clothing instead of cheaper clothes at H&M because I think it is more ethical than supporting 'fast fashion'.
But I'm pretty inconsistent about it. I don't think there is anything about my appearance that is directly confrontational or antagonistic ( in the way that punks dress, for instance).

16. Please describe your body.

Tall, slim, pale. Face both delicate and severe looking.

17. Please describe your mind.

Curious, pained, wary, active, repetitious, anxious, reaching in, reaching out.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Explosions, constructions, manipulations, offerings.

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

My hair is in a bob. I just came back from the hairdresser's, so it is more stylized than it would normally be. I'm wearing glasses, and cheap dangly green earrings that are the same shade of green as my jeans. My shirt is a blue cotton button-up shirt meant to look like denim, and it has medium sized white polk-a-dots on it. I'm also wearing blacks socks and a gold wedding band on my right ring finger.

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

None of it is really important, except for the ring. The haircut makes me feel good too, which I think is important at this instant.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Mostly women: co-workers and friends. Occasionally my boyfriend.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I don't think they do.

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

I think I have taste- discerning aesthetic desires and opinions. But I'm sure most people feel this way about themselves. Style may be the means to realize taste ( e.g money and time).

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

Not really, I'm very frugal.

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

Effort and time.

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?

Comforting. There is less anxiety when working within limits sometimes.

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, simple but well- fitting t-shirt, converses. I like it more how simple and comfortable it is, but also how the right fitting pair of jeans and t-shirt can make me feel cute and confident.

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?

No. There are so few fashion choices for men. Also I think women's bodies are more beautiful and even more interesting. I would maybe like to experience the strength of a buff man and also the feeling of having a dick. But these aren't strong desires.

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

60s in urban America.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Not at all.

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

I don't like the way I look usually. My face looks less symmetrical than I think it is. Also my nose always looks too big and ill-fitting on my face.

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

I like the quirky mini dresses St. Vincent wears, also really like the dresses,make-up and demeanour of the Mad Men ladies.

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

The club girl look:high maintenance hair, face and huge heels. Also skin-tight and short dresses/skirts.

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?

Crop top and high waisted jeans, also high heels more often.

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

Probably trying to attract people of my stripe ( both sexes): bookish introverts.

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

Not a big fan, though I sometimes like it on others. It's too overwhelming most of the time. I like the smell of Moroccan oil in my hair. That's the closest I get to wearing perfume.

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

Clean hair, unwrinkled clothing.

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

Not a big part, but I feel more presentable when I'm wearing mascara

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

Minimalist: few items, more dresses than pants.

65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?

A purple dress I bought in Toronto 7 years ago, and my Mom's wedding band.

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?

An expensive formal dress from the Bay. When I was an undergraduate struggling financially, a couple I met through work offered to help me pay for tuition. It is a long story, but our friendship ended when I realized they were quite controlling, despite their generosity. The dress is a gift from them that I can't bring myself to wear. It is beautiful, but too child-like and I have bad memories associated with it. I keep it because I want to give it to someone one...just haven't found anyone interested yet.

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