Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I'm wearing something new and classy, a mix between tight and loose clothes, beautiful shoes and luxury accessories. And lipstick. Mostly I think just wearing clothes that feel special.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Women I notice or admire are fashionably clothed, but not in the way that everyone wears at that moment: it has to have a classic feel to it and if they have their own twist in their outfits I admire them.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Different things, it can either be a woman that is dressed very chique, in a dress or suit with the highest heels possible, or a woman that has something that is unique in her style, the je-ne-sais-quoi.
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?
About a year ago I finally saw that my style isn't colorful or bubbly or whatever. I like basic colours, black, grey, blue, white, and old men's clothes, and old leather shoes and bags. I think I finally saw it because I am a dedicated follower of fashion, but at that time I didn't like anything that was in stores. So I realised that I do have my own style.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
I never buy prints. Especially flower prints. Whenever I buy a piece of clothing I think about if it will match with other pieces I already own. Clothes have to fit well. I'll never buy a cheap, bright coloured thin summer dress, especially when it doesn't match my body type. I don't buy clothes that look cheap.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I combine loose fitting clothes with tight clothes, so no bodycon dresses, except for when they're combined with a big coat or something. High waisted jeans make my body look better. Shoes have to be classical and can never be the most outstanding part of your outfit.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I have a friend whoms style I very much admire. She wears vintage clothing and looks like a sixties lady. But in a very classical way, so not like the hipsters. I had a conversation with her about wearing clothes that are different, but still combining them so that you don't draw attention - like: look at me, I'm so special because I wear vintage, OMG. That can never be the purpose of your outfit.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I'm always pragmatic but work better on deadlines. But I don't have a unified way of approaching life and relationships. I like to think I'm very positive but in a relationship I'm also jealous and scared.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I keep buying one model of high waisted jeans from a German store. I have them in three colours now. They fit perfectly and form the basis of my outfits.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Very much. My four best friends and I gave each other silver bracelets with our initials ingraved in them, which was my idea. For my sisters birthday me and my brother bought a beautiful set of a ring, bracelet and necklace with a small heart. Also for her graduation we once bought a bracelet. Those are valuable things. And to a friend I once gave a bracelet with a butterfly which was relatively cheap (it was vintage), but she still wears and loves it.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Yes. Floral prints. I hate them. They are so fussy and just disgusting.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My body resembles my mothers body in a lot of ways. Especially the hips and thighs part... Thanks mom. Style: her style right now is different from mine, she maybe is even more fashionable and wears prints and dresses. But I do resemble her style from when she just knew my dad, I even wear clothes that she used to wear back then.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Clothing from my mother and sister. A few years back I wore all my little brother's old clothes. Also sometimes I borrow something from a friend that I forget to return. Dressing ideas from my sister and two friends whose styles I very much adore.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
In middle school I used to wear skater clothes: wide jeans, big shoes or all stars, black shirts and eye make-up. At one point I decided I was done and started to dress very girly again. I think it was because I copied the skater-style from my sister and it never really felt as my own.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Not particularly, but I like to wear men's clothes.
16. Please describe your body.
I love but also hate it. I have a pear-shaped figure, but because I am quite slender it's not out of proportion. So small but not too small boobs, thin waist, hips that are certainly there, thighs that sometimes look okay and sometimes feel like I have the Rocky Mountains on me. Very tiny feet which make blunt men's shoes look good on me.
17. Please describe your mind.
Calm, positive, pragmatic, bright, lots of fantasy, always joking, but also very ambitious.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Most of the time OK, open and positive, sometimes very very negative and all over the place and confusing.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
On my body: underwear, high waisted jeans (black denim), black shirt with a black top underneath, black sneakers with high soles. Leather jacket. On my face: just some concealer. Hey it was early this morning. Hair: Long, loose and a middle division.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
Sometimes I think: why is it even important, but clothing is my way of showing people what kind of person I am, it's about selling myself.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
Everybody except my male co-workers.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I am very much influenced by fashion magazines and webshops of the big stores like H&M and Forever 21. Also when I see a nice outfit in a movie or TV series I go after it.
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 because my style can be very different at times (although I believe it became more clear what it is over the last year). I wish I had a style that would just describe me and only me. But maybe that's also something to hide behind.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I do have this trenchcoat that I bought because I felt I really needed a trenchcoat but then it really looked weird on me because it was so wide at the bottom and it was long, and I'm quite small.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
High waisted, tight jeans with a loose shirt on top gives my body its best proportions.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Writing style and classy ways of interacting with people (I hope).
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?
Black jeans, black shirt or a big sweater when I'm uncomfortable going somewhere. So very much yes.
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 do know what I like, and I think it stams from doing a lot of things I didn't like, untill I stated for myself that in the future I would do only things that made me feel good.
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?
I just picked some things up, although my mother was very much involved with the way we dressed for events like parties. Now she doesn't care anymore.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Long hair, lipstick, clothes that show skin on unexpected places (still classy though).
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?
Almost the same thing, it's about doing and wearing things that make you feel good and match your own thoughts and beliefs. It's really about being true to yourself.
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?
Neutral colours, classical pieces and jewelry, old leater shoes and bags, dress like a classic old man.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
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 and yes, I have learned to think if my new item will match with something I already have. If not, I sometimes still buy it, but it does make you rethink your shopping behaviour.
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?
Okay and maybe that I have my own way. I do care if I look good, but not in which way. If I feel like I'm true to myself I feel good and if anyone does not like that, it's okay.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
The evening before I decide what I will wear and I lay it out. I think about what kind of day it will be and how I want to look. In the morning I just sit on my bed miserable, trying to put everything on without falling asleep. I am very much not a morning person. Whenever I choose my clothing in the morning I always regret my choices at the end of the week.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing: for normal daily life. Dressing up: for special occasions, or people that you want to look good for. You put in extra effort.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Black high waisted jeans, black shirt or sweater, my Clarks. I already have a sort of uniform, I'm afraid.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Me: simple, classic clothes, not me: screaming for attention by clothing.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Dutch and I dress like girls dress in Amsterdam.
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?
A few years ago I used to dress a lot more feminine. I wore more short skirts and tight t-shirts. But I don't think it was about something, it was just what I liked better at that moment.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Make sure my hair is clean and brushed, put on some basic make-up, wear clothes that look neat (so no teared up jeans or faded fabrics).
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
Conform by making sure my clothing is decent, rebel by wearing my platform sneakers or even a slightly see-through shirt.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
I wear a uniform at my side job.
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
No, because they are very strict about the uniform. But we do have different styles, so I tend to wear the dress more, because I feel it is sexier.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
At work I find it comforting, because it sets you apart from the visitors, and the uniform is well-made.
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 shirt. So simpel and plain and almost always right.
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?
I never wished I was a man or had a man's body, but I am very very fond of the classical old men's style: brogues, trousers, neat shirts, tweed jackets, trenchcoats. Also I had a time that I dressed up in old clothes from my little brother.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Paris: clean cut high fashion.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
Not so much, no.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Sometimes I think: this is fairly OK. Most of the time I think: noooooooo. Keep it away from me. And I look it up several times just to make sure if it really was that bad and most of the time it is.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Jackie O. and some French actresses from the sixties whose names I can't remember.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Yes. Sometimes about being naked, sometimes about being in a big shop and not being able to choose from all the beautiful things in there. Or a clothing store that serves as background in my dream.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
The sporty chic look where you combine leggings with brightly coloured crop tops and jewelry and those Céline sneakerheels. Or mixing prints.
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?
The same as I do now. I like my body. But maybe I would wear more crop tops if my skin was darker. Because my belly is very very white. But when I've tanned I still wear crop tops.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I try to attract everyone in a subtle way.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Bring out your best features. Do not dress slutty unless it is your genuine style. Be true to what you like yourself, not to what you think others will like.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Yes very much and I love it. I wear the same perfume always.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Wear perfume, brush hair, wear camouflage, wear clothes that are not too sloppy (inside of my house I wear training pants and old shirts).
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wear make-up as a basis, but very often I only wear concealer to hide the blue shades under my eyes. I wear bits of mascara. When I dress up I put on more mascara and lipstick, for special occasions.
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?
Floral dresses. I'm seriously beginning to question why I hate them. I just think they're so fussy.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Jeans, many shirts, big vintage sweaters, a lammy coat, a black oversized coat, two dresses that I still like, some vintage blouses. Jewelry I always wear the same: a gold necklace with a heart, anchor and cross, a gold bracelet with an azure and a gold mixed with white-golden ring with a diamond that I got for my graduation.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
The bracelet with the azure, it means everything to me.
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 this very beautiful thin beige trenchcoat that I got from a friend of my sister's, who lives in Vietnam. It was her pregnancy coat and it is so light and beautiful. I did wear it two times. One time I made a stain on it. On the second occasion I lost the sash. I still feel like I have to restore it's beauty, so I keep it. Also the emotional value is too great.
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?
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?
I did have this shirt with zebras on it that I very much loved but borrowed to a friend and never got back. I really missed that shirt but now, about five years later, I don't really need it back anymore.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
A black dress. That's just practical.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Buy more classical pieces, either vintage or of high quality.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
My Clarks. I still wear them very often.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
My first tight jeans after I had only worn skater jeans for three years.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
The perfect trenchcoat and trousers.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Quite messy but with a system. I have two closets, one at my parents with things I never wear but expect to wear in the future, one in my house with things I wear and things I find disgusting but can't throw away.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
The bracelet with the azure has great emotional value. Also the ring I got for my graduation but I got it recently.
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?
I once bought a turqoise vintage blouse that I thought would be cute. It turned out to be my blouse for interviews and other special career events.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I go into town after work (or until recently school). Sometimes I shop online when I don't have much time.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
Yes very much, I like to smell of Chance de Chanel (Eau Fraiche during the day, the regular one in the evening).
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I like to dress young to show the people I work with that I'm very ambitious but also much younger then them.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Sometimes I have money, I buy a lot of clothes. Sometimes I don't, I buy less.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
My jewelry: bracelet, necklace, ring.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Well my brother once started picking on me because he thought I had a big nose. Now I'm obsessed with having a big nose.
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?
In primary school when I switched to skater clothes. I went shopping with my sister and decided I wanted to dress exactly like her. (It didn't work out though).
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
March 24th, 1993. Born and raised in Leiden, The Netherlands. I now live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (since three years).
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Being Dutch never felt like a distinct cultural background.
What kind of work do you do?
I am a recently graduated political scientist who is now a journalist.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I think a lot about clothes but also wear very simple clothes. I am the first of my friends to graduate and find a job, even though I'm the youngest.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
It did take quite a while! But it also made things more clear about my vision on style.
Anne Schepers, 21 year-old, Amsterdam-based journalist.