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Pat Bitton

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

It's not really something I give much thought to, but I guess when I've finished drying my hair and I'm in a comfortable bathrobe.

BTW, this typeface is quite hard to read with my old eyes.

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

I notice female students on the campus where I work. sometimes it's hard not to, when they're tugging at too-short shorts or walking up stairs ahead of me in a microskirt and no visible underwear. I also notice that many are significantly overweight yet are wearing clothing that was clearly designed for a different body type altogether.

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

I like to see women who can confidently wear long flowing robe-y type clothes. I've never felt comfortable in a skirt.

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 finally, at the age of 63, have grown my hair long - something I always wanted to do but for whatever reason felt long hair wouldn't "work" for me. I love being free of the tyranny of having to go to the hairdresser and pretend I like what they do to me.

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

I don't really have any shopping rules (I assume we're talking about clothes shopping) because I just don't do it. I have a closet full of clothes that will last the rest of my life, so I am happy to never go clothes shopping again.

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

I don't really have any rules except that I wear what I would call "more respectable" clothes to go to work (which basically means they have minimal stains and no visible holes) and perhaps go together "better" than clothes I wear in my real life.

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

I am not sure I have ever had a conversation about fashion or style - not in the last 40 years, anyway.

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

I don't understand the question, sorry.

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

I have a load of old logoed polo shirts that chart my work history for the last 20 years. They come in handy for work. But I don't buy multiples of anything, except perhaps socks and underwear.

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

I gave some of the aforementioned logoed polo shirts (unworn) to a local charity that helps homeless people get jobs. That made me feel good.

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

I don't follow fashion or trends, so there are probably hundreds I haven't participated in ...

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 short and dumpy. My dad was skinny. I am halfway between the two. Her "style" was two-piece crimplene outfits from Marks & Spencer, which fortunately she did not pass on to me.

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

I'm sure I've borrowed ideas from friends, but I couldn't really pinpoint anything specific.

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

When I became self-employed full time, I heaved a giant sigh of relief and stopped trying to pretend I was comfortable or happy in corporate clothing.

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


16. Please describe your body.

Nice self-supporting B-cup breasts, thick waist, stockier legs than I would like, pudgy upper arms.

17. Please describe your mind.

Overactive and tired at the same time.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Currently somewhat stressed over impaired vision in my right eye.

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

On my face - sunscreen and nothing else (ever)
On my body - one of the aforementioned polo shirts, an overshirt, a pair of gramicci pants, socks with monkeys on them, and LL Bean slip-on shoes.
My hair is loose and free-flowing, as it always is.

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

It is comfortable and does not restrict me in any way.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?


22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Well, my work at the University means I need to look marginally respectable but, other than that, not at all.

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

They don't really mean anything to me. I just want to be comfortable. I don't understand the need to add adornments and frippery like makeup and jewelry.

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

Probably something "respectable" that I thought would make me look like an executive. Somehow, nothing ever really did.

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

Why would I want to "get away with something"? I don't really understand the question.

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

My home is Victorian - comfy, untidy, and a bit shabby, just like me. My garden is focused on producing food more than flowers. My car is 21 years old.

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?

These days, I do that pretty much all the time.

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?

At my age, I have long since stopped caring what anyone else thinks about me. I am who I am - take it or leave it.

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?

No. Anything my mother didn't want me to wear was fine with me.

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

Not interested in feeling sexy or alluring. Gave up all that nonsense a long time ago.

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 and confident with who you are. Most "fashion" seems to be about trying to be some invented type of person.

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?

If you're not comfortable in your clothes, you will not look good.

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

A face that is full of experience and wisdom. A starlit night. Rainbows. Ocean sunsets. Mother nature.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Most of humanity. Most urban environments. Most politics.

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. If it's comfortable and fits, it will get worn. Otherwise it goes (back) to the thrift store.

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 rarely look in a mirror except on the one or two occasions a year when I am required to "dress up", which usually means I am wearing something unfamiliar and need to check that it doesn't look totally ridiculous. Most most of the time I have no particular interest in what I look like.

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

Is it clean? Does it have any visible holes? Do these socks vaguely go with this sweater? That's about it, really.

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

Comfort and an appropriate level of coverage.

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

The level of familiarity I have with what I am wearing.

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

Probably similar to what I'm wearing now - t-shirt, overshirt, jeans or gramicci pants.

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

Me - see above
Not me - anything involving skirts, tights, heels, jewelry, or makeup.

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

British. I don't believe that has any influence on how I dress (but probably different 40 years ago - Carnaby Street, Mary Quant, and all that).

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?

When I was still an "executive", I wore suits, heels, etc - I guess I assumed that was what was "expected".

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

Nothing, now, because that part of my life is done.

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

I work in the IT department at a university. Dress expectations are limited to clean and without visible holes.

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?


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?

What I am wearing now - t-shirt, overshirt, gramicci pants. It's all about comfort.

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 guess I do anyway now. I'd still like to be able to pee standing up, though.

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

Probably hippie era but not geographically specific.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

Depends on whether I was having fun or being posed. If I was having fun, that's just fine. Posing, not so much.

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

I always wanted to be Cher (in her Sonny and Cher days) when I was a teenager. Now I'd like to be Emmy Lou Harris.

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

Probably, but I've had an awful lot of dreams in the past 63 years, and I don't remember many of them!

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

Anything involving skirts, rights, heels, makeup, jewelry, or hairdos.

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?

Probably much the same as I do now.

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 age-appropriate and body-appropriate. If you weight 300 pounds, don't wear short shorts. If you are 60, don't wear a miniskirt and/or a low-cut top.

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

I'm allergic to it.

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

Be clean. Not be wearing clothes with visible stains or holes.

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 have no interest in most "looks" ...

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

Large quantities of t-shirts and sweatshirts. A few comfortable pairs of pants and overshirts. A couple pairs of more respectable pants. Too many respectable shirts, which are gradually finding their way to the drift store, because I don't do ironing any more. Too many coats/jackets, which need to make their way to the homeless shelter. A few pairs of comfortable flat shoes and a couple of pairs with low heels for work. A bunch of heeled shoes I haven't worn in years that need to find a new home.

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

My gramicci pants

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 unreasonably held onto a pair of cream dress pants (wide legs and turn-ups) that live in an unrealistic corner of my brain labelled Lauren Bacall.

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?

The clothing items that give me the most pleasure are the t-shirts from places I enjoyed traveling to - Antarctica, Madagascar, Bhutan, Peru, etc. They bring back great memories, which are some of the most valuable things one can have.

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 always regret when a favorite item of clothing wears out and can no longer be worn. Usually it's a pair of comfortable pants or an overshirt - although a few of my t-shirts are starting to get moth holes.

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

A hand-embroidered t-shirt from Madagascar.

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

Skip all the stuff that's not who I am. (dresses, skirts, fancy shirts, heels).

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

Never thought of clothes as investments.

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

Not of clothing, no.

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?

Most things have a place, but they are not always in that place.

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


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 black pants I bought for $6 from a thrift store about four years ago when I needed interview clothes for my current job - they've done sterling service ever since - I wear them 2-3 days a week and they're not showing any signs of wearing out. Bargain!

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Never, unless I have to. And then it would be thrift stores.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?


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

My ambitions at the age of 63 are completely unrelated to how I dress ...

80. How does money fit into all this?

It doesn't. The last item of clothing I bought was that $6 pair of black pants in a thrift store four years ago ...

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?

March 27 1951. Born in London burbs, now living in Eureka, Calif.

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

I used to be a career person until I discovered I was happier not being that person.

What kind of work do you do?

I'm a part-time technical writer at Humboldt State University. I also do some freelance writing and editing, mostly for software companies overseas; I also blog for Humboldt Made.

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

Single, no children, four cats.

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

When I'm not working, I'm gardening, cooking, hanging out with friends drinking wine, walking, reading ... I live "behind the Redwood curtain"; we're pretty isolated up here, and that's how I like it. We have wonderful local food and wine, theater and art, forests and ocean. Cleanest air in the US.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Surprised that it was less superficial than I expected


I've pretty much said everything that's relevant about me.

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