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Rebecca Schumacher

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

In something comfortable and stylish.

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

Elegant older women.

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

Classy, clean lines, great posture.

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?

In my late 30's - San Francisco finally sunk in; I became myself.

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

Shop mid-level price wise, but pick pieces that look more expensive.

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

Dress for comfort; work around body issues.

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

Not so heavy a topic to be transformative. Once used a personal shopper; she took me out of comfort zone and upon reflection was into the money she made on my purchases. At least I learned to emphasize my waist.

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

Yes. Honesty, me first, less is more.

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

White shirts - because they always work and the lines can be so different. Ditto for black leather jackets and slim black pants.

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

Yes, things I gave my mother while she was still alive.

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

High heels (again) - life is too short to be uncomfortable and risk another ankle fracture. Girly prints.

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

Unfortunately I got my father's body type. My mother was very suited up. I'm much more creative in my choices and more relaxed in the combinations and lines.

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

Some jewelry swaps with one friend. A few ideas from women I know in interior design.

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

Yes, after moving to SF at 30, maturing and leaving poverty behind for significant economic success.

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


16. Please describe your body.

5'4" having shrunk 2" in 40 years. A bit pear shaped.

17. Please describe your mind.

Clear, focused, strong.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Clear, stable and positive.

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

Lounging clothes, my hair is not done; I'm about to get in the shower. It's 10AM on a Sunday.

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

Nothing yet. I'll keep going. I guess I know myself pretty well and just hate it when I make poor purchases. I generally get them out of my closet in a year so I don't have to keep seeing them.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My husband, my closest woman friend.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I make minor efforts to dress in a way that honors the image of my company. I'm always on.

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

Both. My taste may exceed my style. Taste is what I know inherently; style is how I implement it.

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

Yes, a full skirt with a print, light color.

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

Covering my butt.

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

Yes, in interior design.

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?

Situations don't scare me. I'm generally quite calm.

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, yes. Discernment is a function of exposure and confidence. It can be enhanced, but a certain element of it is inherent.

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?

Not my parents, but my maternal grandmother. When I was young and she took me shopping, she would say "Why buy 2 just OK things when you can buy one fabulous piece?" And then she'd buy me 2 fabulous pieces. I just loved her and shopping with her.

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

Wear a good bra, take a shower, put on fresh eye makeup. I'm not into sexy; I'm into attractive.

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?

Inner strength.

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?

Solids, timeless, and a few fun pieces that are accessories or short term holds.

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

A fabulously designed home.

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, history is a great teacher.

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 grandmother always said a well-dressed lady looks in the mirror and removes one item of jewelry. She was into editing - I do the same. Not too much distraction from fashion - just me. I look in the mirror and see my eyes, look into my own eyes. That gives me confidence.

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

Weather, my audience.

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

Comfort, the right note of casual v. conservative.

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

Dressing up is wearing clothes for an event - and, ha, probably something less comfortable.

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

Black slacks, a sweater, leather jacket or interesting coat.

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

Me - simple, solid, clean lines.
Not me - frilly, sexy.

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

East Coast WASP. It may influence what I think is tasteful and classy, but less so now than decades ago.

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?

Never quite differently. I always put a lot of thought in it and invested in good pieces, even when a starving grad student.

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

Same things I do all the rest of the day/week/year.

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

I wear jeans less than I'd like to.

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


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

I probably put pieces together a bit more creatively than most of my realtor colleagues.

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

Don't have one, really.

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?

Black pants, good top. Hides my butt, is comfortable, not much to think about.

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, they don't need to fuss so much. They can just layer on something and make one look fit 95% of all situations.

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

San Francisco 21st century.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

I am so present.

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

Audrey Hepburn.

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

Yes, of course.

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

High heels, girly dress.

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?

More dresses - simple, clean lines and bare legs. I can't do bare legs.

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


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

Be yourself.

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

I think that women and men who wear scent are clueless. It's offensive to most people these days. And many are allergic. People who wear it just load in on over time so that it becomes oppressive to be caught in a car or elevator with them. I can smell it tables away in a restaurant. It is pollution.

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

Shave my legs, use self tanner, get out the link roller to remove any stray cat hair.

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

I am a minimalist, but never go out without tinted lip gloss.

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?


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

Lots of clothes - solids, good quality and many pairs of comfortable shoes. Jewelry is several great watches, a few diamond pieces, sterling silver.

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

A black leather jacket from 23 years ago.

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 grandmother's mink stole. Sentimental reasons. Politically incorrect to wear here.

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?

Great jackets, cloth and leather.

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?

A linen Calvin Klein collarless jacket in a blue weave that I purchased in the 1970s. I cannot imagine why I gave it to goodwill. I'd wear to today.

69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?

I guess something I could no longer find. Maybe my favorite pair of jeans.

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

Less is more. But I'm not unhappy with my wardrobe, just a bit bored from time to time. Not bored by its simplicity, but just bored.

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

A pale buff wool 3/4 length designer coat, no buttons. 1980's.

72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?


73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?


74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?

Very neat. Straighten them periodically. All arranged by color. Peaceful for me.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?


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

1950. San Francisco

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

East Coast until age 30. Well educated, professional.

What kind of work do you do?

Luxury residential real estate

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

Married, no kids.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

It was fun.



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