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Lily Ann Ball

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm dressed comfortably, I'm relaxed and I'm rested. And I'm dressed right for the occasion.

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

Yes. Often I notice women who should not have left home in that -- my internal comment is they either don't have a mirror or its broken. Women who don't seem to know how old they are -- like they need to take a look at their driver's license. I admire women who have casual elegance, and dress like they know who they are and where they are.

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

See above -- women who present themselves appropriate to the occasion and who they are.

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 that when I started to see myself through my husband's eyes I became more certain of my beauty. I'm not particularly interested in fashion, I don't wear make-up. I'm confident enough in my natural attributes to be "fresh faced" and not following trends much.

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

None come to mind. I think my shopping rules should be followed by everyone. Some of my rules are: Compromises on fit and preferences almost never work out. Know what size you really are. Impulse purchases are almost always a bad idea. Chasing trends is an expensive and usually wasteful endeavor.

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

Same as #5. My rules about dressing that I think others should follow include, use your full length mirror, know where you are going and what's appropriate for the occasion, remember your age and shape and dress accordingly.

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

I've never had a transformative conversation on the subject of fashion or style.

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

Know who I am and what I'm about. Know my assets and attributes.

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

Lots of white tee-shirts. They all fit differently and are for different uses (going out, exercise, around the house, etc.)

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

I still remember giving my mother a coat I made for her. And she treasured it always.

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

Strange little boot things that are confused about what they are trying to be -- short, open-toed & wedged. Also what look like hooker shoes -- ridiculous heals.

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

My mother was shorter and heavier than me. So her body wasn't passed down to me. My mother's style was conservative, farm housewife -- and that hasn't been passed to me either. My mother was also very frugal and would never buy luxury things. I haven't inherited that either.

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?


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

I don't think so. I don't dress vegan or other "political" ways.

16. Please describe your body.

Medium height, slim, small breasted

17. Please describe your mind.

Bright, intuitive, thoughtful, insightful, rational.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Profound, heartfelt, honest.

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

Plaid PJ bottoms, grey tee-shirt, no makeup, long hair in a braid. (It's 10 PM on a Sunday night)

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

If it helps make one comfortable and happy.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

No one.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Not that I know of.

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 and style. I think taste is more important. I think taste has to do with discernment -- like knowing quality. I think style has more to do with fashion and trends.

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

Nothing comes to mind.

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?

I have a way I've decorated my home. And I think that style is apparent in other choices -- my cars, my garden, etc.

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?

I remember that when I dressed for my husband's memorial service, it was important that I felt that I looked right and that I was "together."

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, I think I'm good at discernment. I think this is a natural ability that I have also further developed and refined over the years.

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 think I learned from my mother to take care of things that I valued. Not to be wasteful or careless.

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

I always get manicures and pedicures. And I have my hair colored and cut regularly.

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?

I think there are two components to comfort -- physical comfort that comes with correct fit and design, and comfort in the moment from being dressed appropriately to the occasion. Confidence is related to the second aspect of comfort and knowing one is suitably dressed for what they are doing and where they are.

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 pass on this question.

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

Classic colors, classic materials, sometimes luxury.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Garrish, exaggerated, hooker-wear.

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?

Generally yes.

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?


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

Where am I going, what am I going to be doing.

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

Attractive, comfort, suitable.

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

Dressing is what happens every day, every morning. Dressing up is for special occasions.

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

White tee-shirt, blue Levi's.

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

Me: Basic, simple, classic, good quality.

Not me: Gaudy, hyper-trendy, one-season styles.

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

I grew up on a ranch in Northern California. I come from a conservative background. I think that this has influenced my sensibilities and preferences.

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 I worked in an office and wore 4" pumps. Then I went to work for a company that was business casual every day -- lots of Dockers and such, then shorts and flip flops. Now I'm retired and wear tee-shirts and skinny jeans every day.

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

If there was the need for this (which there isn't) then, I'd wear the appropriate business attire. My hair and make-up doesn't change.

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

I don't have a workplace -- I'm retired.

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?


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

No. (But if I went to a school with a uniform, I think it would simplify things.)

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?

There is no one outfit that I could have worn at many; points in my life.

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, never.

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

I'm quite fine and happy with the present.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

I was when I was younger.

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

In the photos from the past, I think I look fabulous.

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?

I think that "Hollywood red carpet" attire would be quite challenging.

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?

I'm quite comfortable with my body. And there isn't clothing that I wish I could wear that I feel I can't because of some body "issue."

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?

See #5 and #6 above.

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

In moderation, fine. No I don't wear perfume.

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

Nothing comes to mind.

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

I never wear make-up. And haven't for a very long time.

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?

I own lots of tee-shirts and a some skinny jeans. Most of my tees are solid color and basic, but a few are prints. I have nice silk blouses I wear occasionally for special occasions. Most of my jewelry is simple and gold. And I usually wear my Rolex.

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

My wedding band and diamond engagement 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?

My wedding dress. I keep it for sentiment. I also have some dresses I bought for special occasions that I don't wear, but there is sentiment from the occasions and the dresses were expensive.

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?

Classic leather handbags (Coach and Bally), a couple coats, some shoes. Pearls.

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 had a great little white mink fur coat that I gave away -- but it was just really nice. I don't think I could fit it now and I have no occasions to wear it, but it was just terrific.

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

My Patagonia jacket.

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

Not much.

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

Charles Jourdan pumps. I don't have the first pair I bought, but I still have a pair of these pumps. I seldom wear them.

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?

The perfect white tee-shirt. I'm looking for the perfect convergence of fit and fabric.

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

My closets are organized by color and style. My drawers are organized by garment type. Yes, things are neat.

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

Every piece of jewelry my husband ever gave me -- particularly my wedding ring and my diamond ring.

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?

None comes to mind.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Online or at Nordstroms. I only shop when I have something specific I'm looking for. I do not just go shopping to browse and to see if something might interest me.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Natural, clean.

79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

I don't know.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I have enough money to buy quality so I'm able to buy what I want. And I'm not extravagant.

81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?


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?


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

Birthyear = 1946 (you've got to be kidding to think I'd provide my whole birthdate!). I was born in Northern California and I live in Marin County.

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

Anglo Caucasian.

What kind of work do you do?


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

Widowed, no children.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Interesting exercise.

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