Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I'm all dressed up with rainbows in my hair and on my arms and on my legs. When I am covered in sparkles and colours and I feel like the outside represents the inside of me.
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 on the street (more so than men) and I'm easily attracted by unique styles, unusual lines and striking colours. I admire seeing older women dressed stylishly as well or with grey hair or hair dyed a bright colour.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I like seeing people taking risks with fashion and expressing themselves. Because I'm bisexual I also find myself more attracted to women who have a unique style and I'll be more likely to look at their fashion first before I assess whether I think they are physically attractive. I find this interesting because it differs from the things my husband looks for in a woman. He'll often comment on the shape of a face, more structural attractiveness, while I'll be more likely to think a woman is attractive depending on their style. I also think style and risk taking with style sometimes says something about people's personalities which is another reason I'm probably more drawn to women who are bold in their fashion choices.
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 went through a phase of wearing mostly black for awhile in my early 20's. Then, as I got older and more comfortable with myself and my personality, I moved back towards embracing colour. I think it was accepting the fact that I'm bold on the inside that made me want to show it on the outside.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Make sure you know when and where you would wear it and what you would wear it with.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Colour. The more colour the better, on a grey day I want to burst with light and colour. I also often think that if kids like my outfits I've won style wise.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
My husband and I often have conversations about style (and everything else for that matter). I think a great break-through for me was realizing that having an eye catching style is great for business. The more memorable the style is the better. Personal style can be an art form, it can help form first impressions and make an impact on the world just as any other art form can. It's amazing the effects style can have on people and how often style is controversial or the cause for (negative) judgement.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I try to approach life (and everything that comes with it) as logically as possible and sometimes (when it calls for it) with wild abandon. I want to live and experience life to the fullest and in order to be able to do that the behind the scenes things have to be in order. Logic and art, freedom and expression, honesty and enthusiasm - that's the way I try to live.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Striped knee socks, rainbow anything, striped tights, tutus, shrugs, shoes with wings on them, one of a kind pieces of clothing and arm bands.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I tend to stay away from giving people clothing or jewelry because I know I'm prone to trying to impose my style-will on others.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I can't stand hipster styles and try to avoid them at all costs. I just think it just looks so put on and most of the time the choices hipsters make fashion-wise are just atrocious. I want to run around and pull down girl's shorts and pants to reveal their belly buttons because I can't stand the granny-over-the-belly-button-pants-trend. I can't stand all the floopy lines, lace, 80s-glasses or loafers without socks. Gah.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
I actively try to avoid dressing like my mother (sorry mom). When I was younger she made clothes for me and she mostly tried to impose her flower loving, lace girly clothing will upon me. She likes delicate things where I like bold. She likes soft colours where I like sharp. As for bodies, I can't help that. My body has similar inclinations as hers and I can see it. I try not to let it bother me, but sometimes it does.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I'm more likely to get my ideas from clowns or circus performers than my friends and family.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I remember the time when I came into my own style, in grade seven. I went to school near Kensington Market in downtown Toronto. It was a revelation. I soon got addicted to vintage clothes and rainbow tights and coloured hair and rainbow crinolines. But I think what I was truly addicted too was the sense of freedom from the clothing choices of my mother and my new found ability to express myself with style.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
More social. I try to lead by example and hope people are socially inspired to liven up their wardrobe.
16. Please describe your body.
I have two bodies, one in my mind and one in reality. The one in my mind is full of flaws; my thighs are too big, cellulite rich and veiny, my ass is too round, my stomach always bloated and overall I'm usually not pleased. Although I have done my best with it through exercise and tattooing to keep things colourful. My reality body is pretty normal, on the small side and relatively in shape, of course with meaningful and colour tattoos that really make it an exciting landscape bearing the story of my life in ink.
17. Please describe your mind.
I love my mind. It is a frightful and delicious thing. I love my ability to think with freedom, reason and invent. Sometimes it's weak and allows others to influence it, but so far I have always been able to fight that off, overcome and be my own person in the end. My mind is a happy ending. My mind works well with my husband's mind, in fact they are a perfect pair. I think as he doesn't and he thinks as I don't. It's like finding an extension of yourself, another mind to fill in the blanks. My mind loves to think and work out opinions and it is massively biased and flawed. My mind loves words and weaves them well and I'm lucky to have finally discovered this and to be giving my mind the ability to express itself.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Strong, overwhelming, violent, passionate, cruel, lovely, overbearing, up and down, human.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I'm wearing purple plaid pants, a black tank top and a cornflower blue hoodie (alternating between hood on and hood off - currently it is off). My hair is a bright purple mohawk with the sides shaved almost to the bone. I have remnants of sparkles on my face from yesterday (I did my very first reading at the Eden Mills Writer's Festival - I'm a writer) and I'm sure there is still a smudge of blue eyeliner left beneath my eyes.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It's important if we make it important (just as anything is). We get to decide. It's important to me because I find it interesting as an art form and for me it is just one part of my self-expression.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My husband mostly, he loves when I get new clothes and do a fashion show.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
They don't, I make sure of it. No one can tell me what to wear or when to wear it. In the past jobs had that ability, but now that I'm self employed I will never look back.
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 my own taste and style. Taste to me means having an eye or an appreciation for the form of a thing, the way it falls, the lines and the colours, the effects it has, either positive or negative. Everyone has different tastes which makes the world a diverse and wonderful place and I certainly have my own. In terms of style, although not everyone would think I'm stylish (which is different from having a style) I definitely hold my own. I have a style I call Clown Chic and I enjoy bright colours, strong lines and bold patterns. The more whimsical the better. To me having a style all your own helps you distinguish yourself visually in the world, stand out like a piece of art on a blank wall. Although, some people's style would be to blend with the wall and that's just as interesting and says just as much about the person as anything else.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
When I was younger and had less money I spent some large sum of money on a corset and medieval shirt that I never ended up wearing. C'est le vie.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
I can't even imagine what I would need to 'get away with' so no.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I like to style our apartment, although because we've moved every year for the past six years or something like that I'm not at an ideal state style wise in our place - for example I currently loathe our bedroom. I also believe we have style in our online and business presentation, we've taken care with our websites and business cards and I'm always cognizant of projecting a professional and upbeat style in our e-mails etc. I also like to express style through gift giving - I like to find unique and interesting gifts for people. And of course, I have my own personal style when it comes to my writing. I'm developing my style in the writing world every day and I am quite happy with the results of the evolution so far.
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?
No, although I think my style acts as a bit of a costume, it allows me to feel more confident. It's similar to wearing a mask I would think where it grants me a certain amount of artistic freedom. And the fact that my style typically makes people smile helps, it cheers you up when people are always smiling at you.
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 know exactly what I like in fashion and life. I've spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about it and working it out, so I should hope I have some clue about it. I've been lucky enough to lead a freelance life for the past ten-ish years which affords me plenty of time to think, write, walk and talk with my husband and on my own, so I use that time to figure out what life means to me and what I like and don't like. It's a process of course and it never ends, but overall I would say I'm pretty good at discernment.
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?
My mom taught me about matching. Once she made matching dresses for me and my Cabbage Patch doll. But beyond that I would have to say that I just decided for myself what worked and what didn't for me.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
My husband likes belly shirts, so usually I will go to those if I want to appeal to him (or stay cool in the summer). Generally I'm not really a get-sexy kind of person, I'm more cute and colourful, fun and fancy free. So sexy is more up to my husband.
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?
Comfortable means being able to sit, stretch, lounge, move. Not all of my dressy clothes are comfortable, so I mostly hang out in comfy clothes unless I have to. I like seeing people in comfortable clothes because then I know they are probably more relaxed.
People can seem confident in whatever they're wearing. You could be wearing a garbage bag and still rock that shit. It's completely about what's going on in your head. I like confident people and tend to be drawn to them, but who isn't?
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?
I have a very specific style, I call it Clown Chic and I try to buy things that suit that style. My philosophy is that style is an art form and a chance to really express yourself. I love it when people smile at me because of my clothes, I love when they stare, mouth agape, I love when they hope out of their cars to get pictures with me, I love when they frown in disapproval. Your style can say something about you, but also about those looking at you. So my philosophy is: express yourself and don't be afraid of colour!
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
So many things. I appreciate so many different styles as long as they are worn well and with confidence. I love tattoos, coloured hair, piercings, colours, boldness, stark lines, matching or artistic clashing, country, city, urban, goth, punk, rave. I love beautiful women in beautiful clothes. I love beautiful old women who aren't afraid of style. Beauty is everywhere.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Hipster styles, business attire, conservative clothing, frowns, boring clothes, beige, stains on shirts or pants, pantyhose, boring high heels, lack of effort, pants above belly buttons, too short shorts (AKA labia shorts), ill fitted clothes.
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 just try to picture it in my mind. Sometimes I'm a good judge, not always though.
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?
My judgement is all me. She's picky, she hates her glasses and her thighs and any unsightly lumps. She likes her stripes and her tutus though, so there's that. She tries to make sure I'm put together well, so I love her for that.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I consider the day, what I'm doing, who I'm seeing. I consider what outfits I've worn around the people I will be seeing and what they like. I have some favourite outfits for special occasions. I often consult my husband as he loves my fashion and is helpful in arranging my outfits.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Clown chic. Smiles on the street. Kids stopping to stare and be inspired for the future. Conservatives frowning or feeling uncomfortable.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is comfortable and a little more boring sometimes, dressing up is fun and full of flare.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Rainbows and sparkles and crinoline and stars everywhere.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Me: Colours, rainbows, sparkles, stripes, thick, bold lines, geometric shapes, yarn, armbands, fun.
Not me: Drab colours, beige, pastels, lace, floopy clothes, high heels.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I'm Italian and Scottish and it hasn't influenced me at all, ever.
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?
There was a time when I wore all black. I was in a bad place where the people I was with judged me horribly for everything so I retreated into the void of plain clothing. It was a reflection of how I felt on the inside to be sure.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Basically my dress up clothes are my professional clothes. I dress for success and for me that means being noticed, creating a bit of shock and being remembered. People don't forget a walking rainbow.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I work at home and I often conform. Both my husband and I spend a lot of time in our underwear.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
None and that's the way I like it!
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
If I had to wear one I would rebel to be sure.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
Constraining and I make every effort to avoid it.
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?
I would say my fairy dress (green with wings) and my rainbow socks/armbands. It represents all the things I love and there's a red crinoline to boot! I would have worn this even during my black-wearing times.
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, however I just finished writing a book where I did a thought experiment in which I turned into a man. The book involved discussion of my style (as well as my relationship with my husband and my definition of man-ness) and I found it very enlightening. It turns out my style means a lot to me and I would miss it if it were gone.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Here and now. I love all the choices and options what with Etsy and all the online specialty shops. I wouldn't be as happy without that.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
More or less, I have better angles than others.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I often think I'm glad to be so colourful. Sometimes I can be more negatively judgemental about the parts of myself I can't control though, like my body and face.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Mostly clowns. I love the styles in Cirque du Soleil and I admire the styles of my favorite clowns Morro and Jasp.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Not that I can recall.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Plain, work-a-day, average. Just my hairstyle and tattoos alone prevents that, but also the way I carry and express myself exudes my style, I bleed it into the world. I have an extremely difficult time not being who I am, my husband can attest to that.
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?
Exactly what I wear. I might try to wear a few more tight fitting dresses, but probably not too many because I don't like thongs (and we can't have underwear lines now can we?). I wouldn't change anything really.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
No exactly. But I like that it attracts some and repels others, it's a natural deterrent to the closed minded.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
No matter your shape you can find clothing that fits, but don't bother trying to wear something that doesn't fit you. I know what looks good on me and what doesn't and it's okay that some things just don't.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I'm very sensitive to smells and I also have asthma so I never wear perfume. I used to wear vanilla and 'dream' perfume from the Gap in high school, but who didn't? I love smells because they bring back memories. Every once in awhile I smell my kindergarten teacher and when I turn around I'm a bit disappointed it isn't her.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Nothing really. I try to make sure my hair isn't insane, but aside from that as long as I'm clothed I'm okay, depending on the situation. Obviously I prefer to look fabulous all the time, but sometimes that's just not reasonable.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I like a dab of makeup beneath my eyes (I'm both make-up lazy and ironing lazy). I never wear cover-up or lipstick. I love sparkles and bindi jewels and anything else that is geometrical or exciting.
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?
I don't know who would expect anything like that of me and if they do they can forget about it.
I suppose the only example I can think about is my mom. When I got my first tattoo (a star beneath my belly button) she took one look and asked me why I couldn't have gotten something a little softer and more delicate. But that's just not me, so what is a girl to do?
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Rainbows. Stripes. Colours. Glowing things. Shiny things. Sparkly things. Shoes with wings.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My favourite piece of clothing is more of an outfit. Rainbow socks, hair and armbands with a green dress with fairy wings and a bright red crinoline to puff up the dress. I also love love love my Jeremy Scott shoes (wing shoes) I have four pairs; one in primary colours, another in gold, another in neon yellow and the last pair in a peacock colour blend with sparkles. As for jewellery I dislike it so much my husband and I got our wedding rings tattooed on so we didn't have to wear them!
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?
My wedding tutu and veil. It was made by a friend who is no longer a friend. It holds memories that are both unbearably bitter and wonderfully sweet. I'm not a hoarder, I love to throw things away. I find it liberating and satisfying to discard bits of my life. I think this comes from the time I spent traveling where my pack had to stay light and also the fact that I love to move. But I keep the tutu. It's crudely made and uncomfortable but it is a thing that I feel strongly about and so it stays.
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?
Short dresses, anything striped or rainbow, tights and colourful tank tops to layer.
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?
There was a green corset shirt that wasn't really a corset, but fit like one. I have no idea what happened to it, but it was amazing. Also there was a well worn, insanely comfortable shirt with stars on it that I loved. Lost to time and Goodwill I suspect. Sigh.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My shoes. Can I keep all four pairs please? Jeremy Scott is a fantastic designer and he makes the shoes of my dreams. Winged, rainbow and sparkly, what more could I want?
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Nothing. I love my clothes.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
It is probably a green skirt I got at a medieval clothing shop in Montreal. It has various panels and leather ties up the sides. I bought it with a corset. The corset is long gone but the skirt remains and I would wear it if I didn't have to iron it. For all my love of style I'm quite lazy when it comes to ironing.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
I remember my first pair of rainbow striped tights in grade seven. I loved those things. They inspired me to go big or go home.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Clown dresses. And coats. There's one from Cirque du Soleil I saw that I adored, purple with huge pockets and buttons, I have a picture around here somewhere...
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
I don't really fold, so everything is in bins except for the lucky pieces that get to be on hangers. It's not a mess, but it's not not a mess.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
One of my favorite dresses is from my mother-in-law. It looks like a bumblebee. It showed how well my mother-in-law understood my style which made me happy. In fact, she's sometimes better at picking things for me than I am.
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?
The blue sweater. On sale for super cheap at a clothing store that was closing. I wish I had bought ten. It was the greatest, now it's threadbare and I will never find it again.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I shop very selectively. I have a handful of stores in Toronto I frequent and I like finding things online. I also love craft shows that feature one-of-a-kind designs and you will often find me there spending too much money on pieces that I don't wear nearly enough to justify the cost. I shop whenever the fancy strikes me.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
I like to smell like me, that's how my husband prefers me.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
Favourably. I'm an ambitious person and my style suits the type of ambition I have. I recognize that in order to get places in the world it's good to be known and my style positions me perfectly in the getting known category. It's hard to forget the girl slathered in rainbows with wings on her shoes.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Before it was harder, but now business is booming so money is less of an issue. I'm still careful about the pieces I select though because I like relatively expensive things so I'm sparing about my purchases.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
No, although I do carry my blue eyeliner around in my bag in case of needing to 'dress up' quickly.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Once someone told me I was the most colourful person they had seen in a long time and proceeded to take my picture. I love bringing colour into people's lives.
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?
The very first time was in kindergarten or maybe grade one when I was wearing blue overalls and a red and white striped shirt. I had short hair (which I love to this day) and I went into the girl's change room at the pool at school. The older girls looked at me and said 'are you a boy or a girl?'. I don't know how I felt at the time, but I loved my clothes and hair so it didn't matter to me. It was probably the moment I realized how you dress can influence people's perception of you in many ways.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
August 14, 1983, Toronto & Toronto
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I'm Canadian. Middle class. Italian and Scottish.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a writer first and foremost (short stories, novels and poetry) and I'm also a producer for my husband. We have a company called Happy Creations where we do video editing, writing and filmmaking. Living the dream.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married, no kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I love clothes. I have cultivated my style and it's very important to me. What people choose to wear is interesting and I believe says a lot about who they are.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Star Spider is a writer from Canada where she lives with her awesome husband Ben Badger. Star is in the process of seeking publication for her novels while she writes and frolics on the beach. starspider.ca