Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I have just had a bath and my hair is perfect, and I have a nice outfit.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I admire several sorts of women, women who dress modestly, but well.
It's almost easier to say what women I DON'T admire.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Good arrangement of jewelry. Some women get really blah jewelry and arrange it badly.
Good make up.
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 it's harder for me because my tastes are very unconventional. I got a lot of flak for it growing up. I'm not frilly, but I like pretty things.
I guess at a certain point I refused to be told what to do.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
If I like it, and it's not fragile or too expensive I go ahead and get it.
Do I have in my wardrobe things which already work with it ?
If so yes.
Does it fit my unusually broad shoulders?
No infibulated or undersized pockets.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I never carry a bag if I can help it. I always look for NICE vests with pockets. I wear 2 piece outfits and use money belts.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
A lady noticed that I bear a strong physical resemblance to Frieda Kahlo. She urged me to play it up.
Advice I actually took.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
If it's not working for me, I go ahead and move on.
I try at this point to keep what I must do to a minimum.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have some things in duplicate or triplicate because it looks good on me.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Yes. I moved to a kind of bad area, so I gave my daughter my nicer things. I only wear cheap but sturdy bling. I also wear bling which doubles as self defense.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Mini skirts, tight clothes. Frosted hair.
If I don't like something I don't have to do it. It's my body, my money and my rules.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Well, my mother and I had a scary level of resemblance. Probably the line of women in my family with certain facial features can be traced back very far. My daughter and grand daughter also look like me.
Our senses of style could not be more different.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Not really. It's tended to go the other way. Mostly.
I have bought custom items from an artist friend, mostly jewelry.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Yes, I finished the compulsory part of my education. I was no longer bound by school dress codes. I finally could mostly wear what I pleased if I coulda afford it, or make it.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I think so. I am liberated, I consider beauty to be a statement of power.
16. Please describe your body.
I am at this point overweight. I used to be very thin. I have long hair. I am average height.
17. Please describe your mind.
Always busy. Always ready to learn new things.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Calm, but I can get really angry.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Denim tiered longbskirt, denim blouse. Fake turquoise necklace. Fake silver bracelet. Two pair of earrings, both gold hoops.
My hair is braided. I have a cotton scarf on.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
I braid my hair to keep it from tangling. My scarf is on because the window is open.
I do observe hijab and people can see in.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
At this point no one. Unless I am telling someone where to get something nice that they've admired.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
At this point in my life not much. Previously, work and school.
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. Not wearing flashy colors or ugly things is taste.
Style can be ugly or beautiful or neutral.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Shoes I spent $100 on which fell apart under normal use. Never again!
I now buy cheap shoes. They actually hold up better!
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Long skirts are great, but expensive new. I either make my own or get them in thrift stores.
I make my own long slips, or I actually actually plain black white or blue skirts to use as slips.
Lately I've been using dimije ( the Bosnian form of Turkish bloomers) Comfortable and you can't 'up - skirt someone who wears that.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
If I had money for that sort of thing, yes.
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 used to work nights. So I wore as close to male attire as I could get away with in the office.
There were no busses and I can't drive. The only jewelry I wore was one of those Moroccan bracelets with knobs, so I could hit an attacker.
I would only wear dresses or skirts and blouses on Fridays, because we were off early on Fridays.
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, I know what I like and don't like, in most areas of my life.
That doesn't mean I never try new things.
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 once remarked how frumpy the Queen of England was, compared to say, Liz Taylor, or Jackie Kennedy.
'Well the very rich buy for durability, and don't worry about styles changing, it's how they stay rich'
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I like eye make - up. I always look for water proof eye make - up..
I like good underclothes. I like them to match.
I like jewelry, and definitely eye - make - up. I mix my own perfumes.
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?
People who are comfortable can't fake it.
Confidence is faked a lot.
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?
You can never have shoes well made enough.
Go for a look that is sturdy enough to withstand your daily life. You can be beautiful, and put together and feminine without having stuff fall apart.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
I like a lot of things. Flowers, animals, nature itself is beautiful to me.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
SNEAKERS! Sweatpants on ANYONE!
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 do know what I should pass up, and what I like. Sometimes I will like a given item but know it's totally not for me.
Other people pick for me at their peril! :)
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?
Probably this person takes no nonsense, but likes beautiful things.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I consider what I am doing that day. DobI need to go out? Will I be on the bus? Walking? Will there be dogs? Will it be crowded ?
Sometimes I have to do things like deal with something institutional, such as go see a doctor. Once recently, I had to testify in court, so that sort of thing affects what I wear.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Comfort, utility and beauty.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
What sort of materials are used. For example, I would not wear velvet every day, but for a special occasion, I'd wear velvet or silk.
Probably I would not wear lace. I don't wearing sequins. I love how they look though.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Dark blue, or black, vary the scarf and jewelry. A vest with pockets.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Very skimpy things aren't 'me' high heels aren't 'me' fragile things aren't 'me' I don't wear loud colors often, neon colors are ESPECIALLY not 'me'
Clunky things are not 'me'
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I am from a very mixed family. There are about 12 different European royal lines in my family tree.
I am poor. I will likely never have a lot of money.
That's fine. I have had a good life.
I will not have ugly things around me.
I will have things I enjoy having.
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?
High school. We all wore jeans. I was so happy when the dress code went away and we could just go ahead and wear jeans. That also was the era of mini skirts and I did not like them!
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
I am Muslim, so my hair is covered. At work, I wore plain scarves that went with my clothes.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I don't have a job anymore. Simply wearing a scarf could be a problem in some jobs I held. I wear a small nose - ring and some bosses haven't liked that.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
No dress codes or uniforms anymore. Never did do sport.
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?
I would feel constrained. Especially if it were too short, or had no pockets.
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 pretty much love a nice long skirt, a blouse with embroidery. And a nice scarf. It's comfortable. I could sit any way I like and walk in it.
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?
Sometimes I got tired of being harassed, even though I'm officially old it still happens sometimes.
When I was younger, I did cross - dress at times, mainly to avoid such attention.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I think Bosnia before WWI, had the most marvelous clothes for women.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Not bad for my age.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
I already mentioned Frida Kahlo.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
I had one dream where I wore men's clothes, even men's underwear. I got my first real job the next morning.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Anything requiring me to wear nylons and heels.
Any look only for very thin women.
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 just what I wear now.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
At this point in life, no.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Find things that actually look good on you. It doesn't have to be expensive.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I love perfume, but I restrict my use of it for my husband's sake. He has allergies. I don't want to harm him.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Being clean is important.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I really only do eye make - up.
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?
There are certain looks for Nice Professional Muslim Ladies. I can't do that look. It's not 'me'. It's actually a really boring look.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
I have things for Spring/ Summer and Fall / Winter. I rotate things a little. We have extreme weather changes where I live.
I have a lot of jewelry.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I love a coin necklace which I wear at times. It's my favorite.
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 a very nice brown sari, I love it, I hardly wear saris any more. I bought it because the price was right. I may end up giving it to my daughter.
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?
I can't really.
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 lengha outfit that really looked nice on me. I left it at my daughter's before a long trip. I can't get together with her to get my things.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
I can't decide honestly.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I would have more comfortable underthings. I like dark denim. It's hard to come by though.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
A silver and turquoise necklace. I don't own it now. Gave it to my daughter.
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?
I would love to have a really good skirt with Indian mirror work.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Sometimes things get messy.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Yes, a turquoise colored pashmina two ladies in Bosnia gave me as a going away gift.
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?
Probably too often. I
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
At this point not much. At this age, I have no real ambitions.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Sometimes I can't afford something I'd love to have. I don't let that bother me.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
Water proof eyeliner.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
The lady who said what she did about my resemblance to Frieda Kahlo probably changed my life.
I really already admired her as an artist.
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?
I remember the first really good outfit my mother got me, it was actually a mourning dress, because my youngest sister died. It was actually new.
I loved it.
It had a black on gray checked pattern.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Feb 11, 1953, San Francisco CA.
I live in Central Washington now.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I am a person of very mixed ethnicity. Culturally, I see myself as very cosmopolitan.
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married. 2nd husband. 2 grown kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I have really disliked most modern fashion. People don't look as good as they could. It's sort of fun discussing it.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?