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Sabrina Jeria

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm wearing something I feel comfortable in and my skin isn't giving me problems.

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

Yes, I notice two types of women: the ones that look too done up and perfect, and the ones that look perfectly undone and at ease. I admire the latter.

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

I admire women who don't try too hard; those that are at ease and comfortable in what they're wearing. They opt for minimal makeup and have slightly mussed-up hair. It's clear that they wear the clothes, not the other way around.

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 was 18 and finished high school, I stopped dyeing my hair and chopped it all off to let my natural colour grow in. A few years later when I started university, I stopped following fashion trends and made a resolution to only invest in timeless, high-quality pieces I love and feel amazing in and can wear for years to come. I think these moments were just a natural part of growing up and figuring out who I am and want to be.

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

Focus on quality over quantity, stick to a neutral palette of black/white/grey/navy/cream/camel and add a few pieces in a colour or two that you love, buy online (I hate shopping)

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

I fill my closet with classic pieces in neutral colours that can be mixed or matched. I also like to stick to a simple "daily uniform" that works best for my shape and lifestyle - it makes getting dressed easier. Most days, it's an oversized top + skinny jeans/trousers + ankle boots or flats. Then I'll add simple jewelry, a scarf or belt to dress it up a bit.

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

I'm not sure I've had that conversation yet.

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

I'm very organized at home and at work, i.e. everything has its place. But I'm trying to take a more laid-back approach to life that focuses on simplicity, doing what I love and being around people I respect and admire.

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

Yes, my entire wardrobe is centred on classic, key pieces so I have multiples of everything from jeans to chambray shirts to striped tops and cashmere sweaters.

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

Yes, I bought my grandmother a pair of pearl stud earrings for her 85th birthday. She once told me a story about a pair of pearl stud earrings she once had. When she emigrated from Italy to Canada in the late 50's, she took the earrings to a jeweler to have them repaired. The jeweler was robbed a few days later and her earrings were among the stolen items. She had never been able to find a similar pair to replace them. When she opened my gift, I could tell that she was touched that I had remembered the story.

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

Yes, many of them: uggs, birkenstocks, crocs, fishnets, anything with a Coach or Michael Kors label, Longchamp bags, tna hoodies from Aritzia, white jeans, white leather shoes or bags, bandage dresses, the list goes on.

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

My mother is petite and really into fashion. I suppose I'm the same.

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

I always steal my boyfriend's flannel and chambray shirts. My grandmother always has a cardigan or shawl with her - no matter the weather - I definitely picked up this habit from her.

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

I don't think so. I've never thought about it.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm 5'4", petite, slightly larger than average feet (size 8).

17. Please describe your mind.

Sharp, curious, critical, analytical, engaged, overactive, sarcastic, creative, thoughtful.

18. Please describe your emotions.

They're always written allover my face.

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

Skinny blue jeans, grey knit sweater, no makeup, damp hair (just had a shower).

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

I think the choices you make on a daily basis about what you wear and how you present yourself are important; they say something about who you are and how you want to be perceived. It's really interesting.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Everyone, fashion always seems to come up in conversation.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I suppose having to wear a uniform to school or work can reign your creativity in and make you feel average. Or it can make getting dressed a lot easier, depending on how you look at it.

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

Good taste doesn't always mean good style. Style is about knowing who you are and dressing to reflect that. I think I have style.

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

Too many to list! That's why I stopped following trends.

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

All black everything.

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

I'm very interested in interior design and home decor. I take the same quality over quantity approach that I do with my wardrobe: I invest in timeless, well-made furniture and add interesting pieces like throw pillows or framed photographs to liven up a space.

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?

No, I can't say I've ever done this.

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 exactly what I like. I'm very discerning and take a lot of time planning out purchases. I wait months or even years to find exactly what I'm looking for, whether it's a navy crewneck sweater (still haven't found it!) or a chair. For me, I think it comes from a desire to curate and surround myself with well-made, beautiful items that I really love but also that I can't do without.

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, I just loved fashion from an early age.

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

Ankle booties, a good black cat-eye or red lipstick always makes me feel sexy.

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?

Keep it simple.

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

Being comfortable in your own skin.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Too many things to list.

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 stick to a daily uniform of pieces that look best on me and that I feel most comfortable in. I don't really veer from this.

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?

It's shameful to say, but I always think "does this make me look fat or bigger than I am?" I'm not sure where it stems from, just general insecurities about body parts I'm not satisfied with.

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

I always check the weather and go from there.

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

I want to look good but I also want to be comfortable in what I'm wearing.

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

Oversized top + skinny jeans/trousers + ankle boots or flats

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?

A lot of what I wear is definitely menswear-inspired: button-down shirts, slim trousers, oxfords, wool coats.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

Yes, Anna Karina, Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Caroline de Maigret - the french girls are masters of looking perfectly undone.

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

Anything skintight, like a bandage dress. I couldn't do that.

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?

The same things I wear now. I would just be more comfortable in a bathing suit.

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

I like it but I currently work in a "scent-free environment" so it's not a daily staple.

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

I like to tuck the front of my shirt or sweater into my jeans or a pencil skirt.

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

I wear very minimal makeup: tinted moisturizer, bit of concealer on spots that need it, touch of cream blush or bronzer, mascara and lip balm. If I'm going out, I'll add a black cat-eye or bright lipstick, but not both at once.

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

Jeans (black and blue), black trousers, black pencil skirt, little black dresses, oxford shirts, silk blouses, basic tshirts, striped tops, crewneck knit sweaters, cardigans, ankle boots, flats, supergas, men's watch, delicate gold necklaces and rings.

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

A chambray shirt from Madewell, a Saint James striped top and a dainty gold ring.

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 t-shirt that belonged to my grandfather who passed away.

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?

Jeans, sweaters, boots.

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

A pair of jeans.

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

Nothing. I'm still in the process of building it up.

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

A black leather tote. Yes, I use it almost every day.

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

Black flats. I have a few different styles: leather, suede, ballet, pointed toe, slipper. I wear them constantly and they always make me look polished.

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

A navy crewneck sweater, preferably in cashmere.

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

Neat, clothes are organized by type and colour.

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

Not yet.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I shop online and tend to plan purchases for every season.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I set aside money every month for one new item.

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

I wear two dainty gold rings every day.

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

People tend to comment on how small I am - I never really think of myself as 'that' short or small.

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?

Not the first time but I'm always conscious if I'm wearing something revealing on top - strapless, low-cut, etc. I'm fairly flat-chested but always feel like everyone's staring at me when I wear a tank top.

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

June 16, 1986. I live in Toronto, Canada.

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

I come from an Italian, working-class, single-parent family. I guess I fall into the "young professional" category.

What kind of work do you do?

Public relations/communications, writing

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

I'm in a common-law relationship

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

I like that I know who I am.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Like I know a little bit more about myself and how that translates into my style.

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