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Rather Not

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm happy.

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

An individual, original, extreme style.

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

if their look suits them and represents 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?


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

I try to discourage shop assistants from talking to me unless I have a question. (I hate the intrusion of small talk when I'm trying to think about the clothes I'm looking at.)
Don't use Google. It IS doing evil. But my friends are on Facebook, so what's the point of telling them.

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

Don't dress like me if you want a job with British Airways. (I just watched a documentary about BA recruits. Why do they make them dress like that? They look so old fashioned, up tight, and uncomfortable.)

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

I've never had one that was at all transformative. People have them?

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

No, that sounds a bit rigid.

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

stretch cord yoga pants in different colours

look good, comfortable, easy to wear

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

Yes. It was a God awful top, but she likes it, so I guess that's good.

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

thin, semi see through clothing

I use clothes to cover me up and keep me warm, and they do neither. Plus I really dislike how they look.

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

She would buy things, and then not want to wear them, so I would. I still have a jacket and a pair of shoes of hers that I wear a lot. (She died in 1984.)

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?


16. Please describe your body.

I don't shave any of it. I don't use soap or deodorant, just water. (Actually, I do use soap on my hands.) Otherwise it's pretty ordinary.

17. Please describe your mind.

I can't do that. Can you do that?

18. Please describe your emotions.


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

stretch cord yoga pants
black cotton underpants
cashmere sweater
that's all

plain bob haircut

no makeup

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

it's comfortable and practical, does the job

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

sometimes my sister in law as she owns a clothing store and makes all the clothes she sells herself

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

they don't

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

I think those words are fairly meaningless these days.

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

Pair of boots I couldn't break in.

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

I don't wear clothes at our local beach or hot springs - cheaper than buying a swim suit.

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

A style, I guess. Dunno about "style" exactly.

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 don't know how to do that in every day life. I guess I've worn a hard hat when riding a horse, and taken warm clothes, rain gear, etc. when high up in the mountains.

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?



my personality

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, but I wouldn't actually do any of it

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

That's not really me.

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'm not aware of them meaning anything to me that they don't to other people.

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?

Wear what you want.

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


34. What do you consider very ugly?

pink and yellow together

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?

not always

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 think it's almost impossible to really see yourself, as you would if you were another person.

I dislike the idea that any particular way of dressing is superior or inferior to any other.

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

weather forecast and plans for the day

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

Usually comfort without looking too awful.

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

not sure if you mean dressing up as in wearing your best clothes, or dressing up as in fancy dress

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

If you had a piece of string, how long would it be?

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

My favourite clothes look good as objects in their own right (IMHO). I try to be genuine. Not me would be Spanx, lots of conventional makeup, falsies etc.

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

white, middle class, lived in several different countries

I have a tendency to want to blend in with where ever I am, while also wanting to be true to myself.

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?


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

I don't feel professional and I don't know why I'd want to.

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

There are very few expectations to conform to or rebel against.

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?

I've lived in a lot of different places so there isn't one which would do for everywhere.

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?

60's, central London

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

I think what awful photos my friends take. I can make them look way better than they make me look, and we're not specially that way in real life.

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

can't think of any

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

not that I remember

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

lots of conventional makeup, tight dress, thin tights, heels, no coat while going out for the evening in an English winter.

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 apple shaped and would like to go in at the waist and out at the hips more. If my body was like that, I'd wear more clothes with a waist.

Also I have a big rib cage and proportionately small boobs, so bras never fit. If they did I might wear them more. Or not.

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

not right now

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

Your way isn't best. No-one's is.

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

It's usually just smelly - I don't really like it.
Black and grizzly bears live here - there are currently several heaps of bear poo within a few feet of my house, and I often meet them out in the woods - so wearing perfume, which would be an attractant, would be a bad idea in summer. I try and avoid smelly shampoo or fabric softener for the same reason. Not a problem when they hibernate in winter.

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

just keep them clean

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

don't use it except maybe face paint just for fun

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?

The current trend for super thin clothes.
I don't like wearing layers, and want my clothing to function as clothing - i.e. cover me up and keep me warm. I also dislike the look on other people.

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

A lot of clothing from clothing swaps, give aways, thrift stores, Las Vegas, and the internet, some made by my sister in law, who makes clothes for a living. No "real" jewelry.

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

my soft, baggy sweaters

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?

a shirt with some really cool pictures on it

it feels too odd to wear, but I like it as, well, to call it a piece of art is too pretentious a phrase, but something like that.

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?

thrift store clothes that I've worn a lot

also - sheet metal screws - to screw into the soles of my running shoes or old hiking boots so that I don't slip on the ice. Super cheap, stop me from falling and hurting myself.

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?


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

Winter's coming - my fake fur coat.

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

Have fewer clothes. (I have a room full.)

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

I don't do investment items, although I did buy some shares in Apple. Does that count?

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


However I do remember wandering around shops like Grannie Takes a Trip in the King's Rd. and the original Biba's in Kensington Church St., and realizing the world had done some paradigm shifting.

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

Last year I wanted a green coat. I think I've lost interest in that now. I'd like some soft, waterproof hiking boots that actually stayed waterproof, without round laces that come undone all the time.

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

I have a small room full of clothes, with a lot of hanging rails, and shelves, no drawers. Yes, they're pretty neat.

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?

It's hard to predict with a lot of what I buy, how much I'll actually wear it. How much I wear an item can change a lot with time.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I prefer to shop alone. I live way out in the bush, so actually going to shops has to wait until I'm on a trip to some city or other. Otherwise, on the internet.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

just OK, not bad, or not at all.

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

I don't have any ambitions beyond just wanting to be myself, which of course, is really hard. I dress a lot for how it feels, physically, as opposed to how it looks.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I very occasionally see something I'd buy if I had more money, but not very often. I live on around $2,000 a month, but money doesn't come into it a great deal.

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

flashlight - in case I stay out after dark and need it for walking home through the woods

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

No. People's comments say more about them than they do about me.

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 can remember trying to put on my Chillproof vest, and it being to complicated for me to manage. I was a toddler, and just wanted to do what other people did.

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

London, England
out in the bush in S.E. British Columbia, Canada

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

upper middle class English mother, alcoholic Canadian father, me - nouveau pauvre

What kind of work do you do?

I look after people who can't look after themselves, in their own homes.

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

single, child-free

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

I live in an area where people often garden or swim in the lake in the nude. Work or hiking clothes are de rigueur. Practical clothes are good. I wouldn't make it from my door to my truck in high heels. I hike in the alpine a lot, so protection from summer snow, mosquitoes etc. becomes very important then. Fashion isn't as important here.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

It got me thinking about the naked party I once gave.

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