Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
In a dress
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I admire women who look coordinated, wearing clothes that fit.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I admire someone who can put pieces together that show a style, whether currently in fashion or not. That look like they thought about what they're wearing.
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 1968 my brother started dating a girl with long blonde hair. I realized I missed my long hair ^ have not cut mine since.
It was about that year I discovered I am allergic to mold to such an extent that face makeup is not an option. After 2 weeks there is enough mold from the air just opening it once a day to give me a rash. I stopped wearing foundation & have never missed it.
About 1980 I got tired of being hit on by almost every male I met that I stopped using eye shadow & mascara. Since then it's lipstick & eyebrow powder only.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
If it's not on sale, don't buy it unless you have to have it this week.
Don't shop when you're tired - nothing will please you.
Examine seams - if they are crooked that's bad quality control.
Look for items that will go with at least one or two things you already have, unless you're ready to change major color or style themes.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I can't make up my mind what to wear. I keep my clothes for each season separated, and just pick from the bottom of the stack for a top piece & then take the first in the row for pants or skirt. Replace the tops on the top of the stack & the bottoms on the other end of the row. It's a bit OCD but it saves time.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I don't talk much about clothes. It's either 'that looks nice on you' or ' it's not something I would wear."
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Lots of jackets and sweaters. I'm usually cold unless it's over 80 degrees.
And jacket over top gives lots of different combinations.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I gave my niece a silver bracelet from Tiffany's for graduation. She wears it a lot.
I made some sweaters that my son actually wears.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
High heels. I can't find any in my size so I have trouble balancing.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My Mom is always well dressed. But she never wears pants. I wear them every day.
Mom is short & chunky. I'm just not quite as short & not quite as chunky as she was before she lost weight.
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?
When I got my first job I started buying samples from the manufacturers - living in NYC at the time you can find lots of outlets.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
16. Please describe your body.
Legs too short for my torso, hips too wide. feet extra small & extra wide.
17. Please describe your mind.
Analytic & pedantic.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Inward, some anxiety but mostly under control.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Bathrobe over undies - not ready to get dressed yet. No face makeup. Hair brushed. Quite straight & long enough to sit on. It's Sunday morning & our meeting isn't until this afternoon.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
This should help me more than you, to understand how I think about what I wear. That will help me organize my wardrobe & see what I need.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
What do you mean by institutions?
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I have more taste than style. I know when an item is good quality & worth wearing, but I don't always know what to wear it with or whether it would be better to give it to someone else.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Don't remember anything in particular, but it was probably shoes that didn't fit.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
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?
Clothes don't help me cope.
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 what I like. Discernment is being able to tell right from wrong, good from bad, tasteful from tacky. Comes with experience & paying attention to what happens with choices you & others have made.
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?
Yes. My Mom taught me how to wash, iron, mend.
How to examine a garment for quality of fabric, construction & trimmings. How to choose colors that look well together & how to use contrasting color.
How to use style to fit the occasion.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I try to avoid looking sexy. I had way too much attention when I was young. Clean & brushed is all my husband needs to come running.
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?
Mean that my clothes fit my body & the occasion, are clean & have no holes. That my purse is under control - not filled so much that I can't find things.
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?
Buy for quality. Pick a color palette & stick to it, mostly. Have a few things to wear just for fun.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
silk. knits. jewel tones.
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. I learned to judge quality & fit so I know how it will wear in my life.
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?
I'm me & no one else is like me. I like casual pants & tops, wear a hat & usually some kind of jacket. Sneakers. For formal or business the jacket is tailored, or there's a shawl & a skirt or dress. And business shoes.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Weather is 90%. Take a top from the bottom of the stack & pants from the right side of the row. If the second piece doesn't go with the first one & go down the row till I get to one that does.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Not being naked.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is not being naked. Dressing up means jewelry, eyebrows, a nicer skirt & a top I've knitted.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in whatever color is next plus a top & a sweater or overshirt. And sneakers, which are the only shoes that actually come in my size.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Beige is not me. Bright colors, hand knits, black or white for a neutral.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Russian from New York. Russians tend to like bright colors - keeps you from getting depressed in long dark winters. New Yorkers know style & where to get it cheaper.
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?
1960's. I was young & liked to wear lots of bright colors. And purple.
Now I also wear turquoise, pink, yellow.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Lipstick, Jacket over dress or skirt & top. Leather shoes instead of sneakers.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I work for myself at home & wear whatever I have on.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
For meetings or in the ministry I wear a skirt & top & jacket. Not too loud colors.
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
It's not really a uniform.
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, silk or wool blend sweater, jacket, sneakers.
Good for walking any distance I need to & if I need to climb a fence I can do it. Or sit on the runway lights at LaGuardia & wave at the pilots coming in for a landing.
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?
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Nowadays I think 'let me photoshop the age spots off'
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
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?
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
attract my husband.
repel other people's husbands.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Wear washables if you're going to eat ribs.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
allergic to perfume.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
wash body, make sure clothes are clean & no loose seams or buttons.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
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 read fashion stories but with no sense at all of relation to me. I can't find shoes in my size so anything relating to shoe fashion I have to not think about.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
About 40 pairs of pants. 30 sweaters I have knit for various seasons. a dozen shawls, some of which I knitted, about 60 knit tops I haven't knitted. One pair of dress shoes that fits. Sneakers & backup sneakers.
One purse for everyday & a dozen for now & then.
20 or so jackets, coats & shirts for over the knit tops.
About 30 skirts.
Jewelry: wedding ring & anniversary earrings & bracelet. A gold choker with a hibiscus pendant I never take off. Lots of pins - I always wear a pin in my jacket lapel.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My gold choker I never take off.
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?
Lots of stuff I keep for the memories: wedding dress, outfit I wore when I met my husband, dress I wore for my wedding shower, bedshirt I wore when I had my son, NY Rangers jersey, my ski outfit that was my husband's wedding gift to me. I would wear them if they fit but having a baby changed my shape permanently. Even when I got so sick I was down to my pre-baby weight my shape was wrong for them to fit again.
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?
jeans, sneakers, yarn to knit with.
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 wish I still had all the clothes I bought in the 60's. They no longer fit so we sent them to families in need. But the colors were so happy. One dress was so bright my boss asked my if it glowed in the dark.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My sweater I knit with Cherry Tree Hill yarn in the colorway Walking in the Sun.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
Never bought investment items. Too poor. But I adopted a very good wool jacket once owned by a friend who died. I've been wearing it 25 years & she had it for 25 years before me. It still looks good.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
First ski outfit. It meant I was no longer 'Madame No Sport'
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Dress shoes that fit. Size 4 1/2 WW.
Before I had my son I was a 4 WW.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Neat & well organized.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
The jacket that belonged to my friend who died of breast cancer. It's become my favorite jacket for meetings.
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?
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I buy from estate sales & Costco.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
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 gold choker with the hibiscus pendant. I had the choker custom made when gold was $35 an ounce. And the pendant was my 15th anniversary present.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
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?
When I was about 3 years old I decided my shoes were too loose & told my Mom to tie them tighter. I never liked loose clothes till I hit menopause.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Oct. 8, 1947. Born in Queens, NY.
Now I live in Napa.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
We were poor growing up. Wore second hand clothes or things from outlets or sales.
What kind of work do you do?
Ebay Power Seller
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married, one son.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I work for myself, with my husband. Due to crazy person suing us we lost all our savings & due to taking care of demented relatives we were out of the job market for 15 years. So we have little savings & minimal social security. We don't have much of a clothes budget. But we trust in God & always have something to wear & never go hungry.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Not into biographies.