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Taffeta V.

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

Ingarments with good fit that are comfortable (wrap dresses, for example), or in Elaine Stritch-esque white tailored shirt & leggings w/chunky accessories.

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

Anyone who looks like they'd be at home on Advanced Style! Older ladies with drama get my attention and appreciation the most.

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

Confidence first, of course. But also I love a look that is both tailored and quirky - a tough combo to achieve well, but when it's done right, it is wonderful.

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?

When I first dyed my mousy auburn hair BRIGHT red as a teen in the 80s. Never looked back. I adopted dramatic lip color then, too.

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

Try it on! Try it on! Try it on!

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

I like stuff on my head! I love a hat (berets in every color!), or a scarf tied Rosie the Riveter style.

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

A few months afterI had a nervous breakdown, and a dear friend who is a genius costume designer gently said, "your clothes look sad." It was true - i was wearing giant shapeless, bulky grey sweaters, torn, ill fitting black t shirts, etc. I had dyed my hair black, and wore no makeup for months.
A few years leter, we were backstage and she said she was so happy to see me in a DVF wrap drss in a bright print, with red hair and lipstick. She told me I finally looked myself again, and I think she was right.

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

Does chaos count?

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

Wool berets (I have a rainbow of them!), black boots with low/flat heels (lace up, zip up, whatever!), wrap dresses in various colors/patterns. And cardigans for can be chilly here in the Pacific NW.

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

I don't believe I have, sadly.

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

Sky high stilettos! I have things to do, and I can't accomplish anything or get anywhere if I'm walking in a manner somewhere between Bambi on the ice and Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein!

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

My Mum is a waif - teeny tiny; I am zaftig. This has always been a challenge. She also tends to wear more severe clothing than I do. There is a certain clash between us, but now a friendly ribbing, rather than all out war.

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

I don't believe so...

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

Yes! I had been a serious goth chick in the 80s and much of the 90s, but came to a point when I no longer felt that the look accurately reflected my personality. I still love goth-y details or accessories, but incorporate them into a more grown up wardrobe.

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

I dress how I want to. I believe that "not giving a fuck" is one of the most radical things one can do.

16. Please describe your body.

Short (barely over 5ft), zaftig (plump but not obese, roughly size 10). Busty, with a but of tummy and hip.

17. Please describe your mind.

Whip smart.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I am bi polar, so this is a loaded question; I am emotional, sometimes chaotic.

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

Red hair in large bun/topknot with bangs, large tortoise statement eyeglasses, white tailored menswear style shirt, jeggings, sparkly black ballet flats. And red lipstick.

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

Because it makes me feel good!

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Everyone! (I'm a costume designer)

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I used to work in publishing, and modified my style to tone it down. Know your audience.

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

Ooooh - style, maybe not taste in all things...i grew up a huge John Waters fan, and I have a soft spot for bad taste...and reflect it frequently in accessories, etc.

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

Ugh - many pairs of heels that I intended to wear but never seem to...

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

A million.

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

My home is a similar reflection of my interests and preferences.

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?

Definitely - when working in more conservative areas, I choose a slightly more sedate version of myself. Credibility, sadly, can be enhanced or diminished by one's appearance. I don't love that, but it is a fact.

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 have it, my gut tells me what to wear/do, but i have no idea where it comes from. Life experience, I suppose.

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?

My Mum always taught me to buy good quality basics in neutral palettes, which is excellent advice. I have come to know a great deal about garment care in my years as a wardrobe mistress.

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

Big hair, red lips- confidence!

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?

Entirely too complicated to answer here....

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?

Do what suits you, buy the best quality basics, don't be afraid to accessorize.

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

Brains. Confidence.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Shallowness. Self involvement.

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?

Sadly, 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'm not sure that I do that...

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

What will happen in my day, where I will be going, who I will encounter.

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

Depends on what I'm doing that day.

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

Dressing up means full drag, or an actual costume.

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

Big white menswear shirt, snug pencil skirt, comfy shoes, red lips, giant glasses.

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

Not me = trends, "too youthful" dressing, etc.
Me= quirky, classic

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

Whitbread midwestern upbringing; being an odd child and outcast definitely pushed me to explore style in a wider variety of ways than my peers.

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

5/16/1970 born in Indianapolis, have lived in Seattle since 1988

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

Whitebread midwest, white, dull.

What kind of work do you do?

Costume designer, teacher

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

Married, no kids (one crazy French Bulldog, though)

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Ok - didn't quite finish due to time, though.


Taffeta V. Is a Seattle based costume designer specializing in burlesque, geekery, and fine hand embellishment.

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