Read Surveys (By Author)

Athanassiel Romaine

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm enjoying myself and have lost my self-consciousness. Ironically, when I am most myself I am least aware of myself.

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

Yes, I do. I tend to notice women who have a sense of confidence about themselves, who seem to have a physical presence about them. I often notice women who dress differently from the "norm" (I am not sure I can define that, but I know it when I see it) and though often they are wearing things I wouldn't wear or wouldn't look good on most people, they carry themselves with a certain confidence that is really great to see. All shapes and sizes and ages. I really admire that panache.

That said, I also notice women who seem very uncomfortable with themselves, or who have worn clothing that really doesn't suit them and seem awkward with it. I suspect if anyone noticed me, I'd be one of that sort most of the time.

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

I admire self-confidence mostly (see above) but I also deeply admire (with a tinge of envy, as I recognise that I can never achieve that) women who seem elegant and graceful; who seem exuberant and playful; who delight in and enjoy how they present themselves, through clothes and makeup and attitude.

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?

Nope, never.

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

Avoid it at all costs. When you have to, buy online so as not to have to confront the death by a thousand cuts of all the things that are Not For You (not your size, not your shape, not your style), the flickering fluorescent lights that make everyone look diseased, the mirrors that show aspects of yourself you never knew existed, the overheard conversations of other women criticising themselves, criticising others, talking about how they are so fat now they have to wear a size that you haven't been able to wear since your adolescence.

Buy things that you think are pretty, or cool, or practical, or whatever, when you can find them. If they fit you well and make you feel good, buy another. Or more. You probably won't find them again.

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

Dress comfortably, in layers to allow for temperature changes. Dress unobtrusively. Try to dress to minimise yourself. The first I recommend to others; the other two are pretty much just for me.

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

I'm still waiting for that one.

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

Is anyone unified about such disparate areas of their lives?

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

Apart from obvious things like underwear, socks etc., I buy multiple pairs of exactly the same jeans when I find some that fit and are comfortable. I tend to wear through trousers very quickly and also they're difficult to find. Anything else in the same category (it fits, it's mildly flattering or at least not unflattering, it's comfortable) I will also buy in multiples, but sometimes different colours/patterns. Jumpers (sweaters for USians), t-shirts, even brands that tend to be more reliable. I keep doing this because of experience with scarcity of clothing that fits, is mildly flattering and comfortable.

Oh yes, and shoes. Shoes are extremely important. I can only wear men's shoes (women's are too small), but I have a lot of problems with feet and knees so when I find a good pair, I buy another. Maybe two.

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

Yes. Cute baby clothes (with a bit of personality) for babies; funny t-shirts for nephews and nieces; for grown-ups, some funny/pretty t-shirts (I went through a big Threadless phase) but mostly accessories like ties, jewellery. I pay attention to the people I care about and what they like, so I generally don't stuff up my presents.

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

Pretty much all of them! Most trends by definition are not created for people like me, who do not fit "average" by any stretch of the imagination. I loathe in particular the leggings-as-pants and skinny jeans trends at the moment. Not only do I find them uncomfortable physically (I like looser clothing), they cling to every bulge and imperfection, even the ones that are only in my head. I also remember hating the trend of 70s colours (avocado green, electric blue, burnt orange, mustard yellow) - they're colours that tend to suit very few. Definitely not me.

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


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

An ex-girlfriend who dressed in men's clothing inspired me to try. Although aspects were quite nice - colours, patterns, etc - ultimately I stopped because men's clothing is not cut for the extremely female shape, and I have an extremely female shape. I do wish I could dress like that, but it's not comfortable.

Actual clothes - nope. No one else's fit me. It also makes me feel strange to see a friend swimming in something of mine (if they borrow a jumper or something). Makes me feel like a midget giantess.

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

When I was about 13 or so I started dressing sort of loosely boyish. I was hitting adolescence, my body was changing, and although I never articulated it to myself, I think I hated it. I had short hair. I wore an old tweed cap of my dad's for a long time. I dressed in dull colours, usually baggy. I was inordinately pleased if anyone mistook me for a boy. I think I wanted to be a boy. I really loathed menstruation in particular, was painfully embarrassed about needing a bra, just really not happy with it.

Oddly I went through a similar type of fashion change in my 30s when I was in a relationship with a woman who dressed very mannishly. I thought it looked cool and elegant and wanted to try to pull off the same kind of thing. I think I also had it in my head that men's clothes tended to be better quality. Anyhow, I tried for a while and sometimes quite relished the contrast between the men's shirts and boobage, but ultimately it wasn't terribly practical or comfortable. I prefer clothes that fit well and men, lacking breasts and hips, don't have clothes that accommodate them.

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

Not currently. Unless it's political to dress practically and comfortably most of the time.

16. Please describe your body.

Midget giantess sums it up pretty well. I actually am big-boned; I am also fat. I am tall, about 6 foot. I have thick ankles and wrists and thighs. I have a bum that can flatten chairs. I have rolls of fat around my belly. I have fat sausage fingers. My belly now sticks out more than my boobs, though this was not always the case. There is a lot of me.

17. Please describe your mind.

Clever, fascinated by odd and interesting things. Always collecting little bits of information. Quick at times, needing more time to ponder and puzzle things through at others. Fond of puzzles as well, especially things that can be solved with logic. Prone to subdividing in different roles as required: the mum; the child; the rebel; the bully (to myself, not to others); the intellectual; the iconoclast; the jester. Gradually becoming slightly more aware of itself through medication and meditation.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Tending towards the intense. I have trouble dealing with the intensity, so I seek balance and try to steer a middle course. Sadness, despair and self-hatred tend to be stronger than joy and happiness, and can be difficult to resist. Sometimes the mind can be rallied to help, sometimes it's been bowled over by the tsunami and is simply gasping for air.

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

Face: glasses. No make-up. I never wear it.
Body: underwear, bra, t-shirt, old jeans, thongs (aka flip-flops). I have been doing garden work, so this is utilitarian and is what I wore yesterday. The bliss of a shower awaits.
Hair: not done. I slept on it and have done nothing at all to it today. I'll wash it with water in the shower and apply a bit of product to it. That's it.

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

Good question.

In addition to being practical and useful, I think that the things we put on ourselves (clothes, make-up, jewellery) are another language. What we wear can say a lot about our personality or what we value. What we wear communicates how we want to be treated by others (casually; respectfully; indifferently; recognising sexuality; lots of other things). I think an awareness of how you present yourself and how other people interpret that presentation is one of the primary ways we relate to the world around us. Sure, on one level it's shallow and all about the surface of things. But it also reflect our deeper selves, our deeper understanding of the place we claim for ourselves in the rest of the world, our understanding of others.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My female friends, mostly.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Not entirely sure what this means. I usually dress more thoughtfully for work. I don't really care about fashion designers or trends. If by institutions you mean larger principles like capitalism, globalisation, exploitation of women and third world countries to produce cheap clothing for westerners, I guess I am aware of that stuff. I try to avoid obvious ethical dilemmas. But I have to wear clothes and since I'm not much good at sewing for myself, I have to buy things. Hard to get away from it completely.

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

I have taste but not much style; or rather, my style is hampered by the dearth of suitable clothing. I tend to express my style more through jewellery than clothing. Taste is a sense of appropriateness, which is not limited to formal occasions. Wearing a suit to a footy game isn't terribly appropriate, even if it won't get you arrested. Taste has a more timeless and universal sense about it. Style, on the other hand, is individualistic. How you choose to interpret things within the range of appropriate options. I think they are both important, but style is harder.

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

Not really. I have, but nothing dramatically stands out.

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

Not particularly. I've learned things that make me feel more comfortable with my particular size and shape, but I don't feel like I'm getting away with anything.

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

I think I have style in my sense of interior decoration (I like organic, comfortable things rather than sleek or modern things, but not fussy or overly busy either).

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?

Comfort clothes - definitely. Usually this is if I'm cold, or have had a bad day, or am just feeling a bit fragile. If I can, it will be pajama pants or trackies, otherwise a favourite pair of jeans. The top will depend on the weather a bit, best is when I can put on a snuggly jumper that comes all the way down past my wrists and is nice and soft and warm and comforting. Like wearing a blanket. Otherwise, a well-worn comfy tee with the neck not too high.

Sense of control tends to go more with professional clothing for me, so putting on work pants instead of jeans, a nice, more formal top or shirt. I don't really do the suit thing, but if I did that would work too.

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 generally do know what I like both in terms of fashion, clothing and other things - books, music, art, interior decoration, people, food, pretty much everything. That being said, I'm also aware that there's a lot of things I don't know and will generally give things a go - not so much clothing/fashion because there are practical limitations. But I'll certainly try new music, food, books, meet new people, etc. Partly my discernment has come through this openness to experience - reading widely, listening to a wide variety of music, etc - but I also think it's something that's developed as I've gotten older and more experienced. I'll give a new book a go, but if I'm really not enjoying it at all, I'll stop reading. I know that there are plenty of other books out there and I'll never have the chance to read them all! I guess it's just more confidence with my own inclinations.

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 probably did, but I can't remember anything in particular. I remember when my siblings and I got to a certain age - maybe early adolescence? - we were responsible for doing our own laundry so that taught me a bit about caring for clothing. I remember shopping trips with my mum but don't remember any specific fashion advice.

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

Wear a nice bra and underwear. Sometimes wear something that shows a bit of cleavage. But usually I just wear something that I particularly like and feel good in, since that's as close as I can get to feeling sexy or alluring.

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 - clothing-wise, this is clothing that doesn't restrict or itch or chafe. It's warm or cool enough to suit the temperature. It doesn't ride up or dig in during different activities. It's clothing that is there without being an issue, I'm not constantly aware of it.

Confident - a sureness of self, an acceptance of self, measuring up to your own standards rather than anyone else's.

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?

I cannot even imagine this.

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

The natural world. Simplicity to an extent, but also the complexity that can be found in even the simplest things. Craftsmanship, care and attention. Handmade things. Things that aren't made at all but just are, all by themselves (wildflowers, streams, etc). People treating each other with kindness and compassion.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Entropy. Blight, disease, injuries. Misshapen or badly crafted things. People treating each other cruelly.

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?

Usually, yes. For things I buy online, I don't choose things I don't like and send them back if they don't fit (I get a refund). For things I buy in person, I try them on. Sometimes I've bought things thinking they were the same ones I'd previously gotten, only to discover the cut had changed, or I'd gotten fatter and the ones I already had stretched with me, but new ones wouldn't work anymore. I have bought some things thinking they were special occasion type clothes, and they get less wear than others. Some I haven't really wanted to admit were unflattering and I hang on to them just in case they miraculously become flattering (which would mean me losing weight, usually) but this is pretty rare.

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 don't really think about it like that. I only look at myself to make sure the basics are covered - no unzipped fly, still looks ok, I haven't misbuttoned something. I don't really make judgements about myself from an outsider's perspective, only an insider's one.

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

Sometimes I decide what I'm going to wear the night before, but usually it's the same morning. I decide either before I get in the shower or once I'm in the shower. Some days I have a strong preference for a particular outfit. Other days I really have a huge disinclination to wear anything (I just want to stay in bed) and those mornings I try to pick by colour. Is it a green day? Blue? Often black saves the day. Sort of simultaneously factored in are weather/temperature considerations, what I have to do and whether I need to make a particular effort to look nice or it's just a regular day.

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

Usually looking passable. Sometimes I will put on something I've previously been complimented on when I'm feeling a bit confident; oddly I don't do this when I'm feeling down, even though the compliments might help. Those days I'm just trying to get through with the minimum of fuss and don't want to be noticed much.

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

Dressing up is making a special effort to achieve a particular effect. Putting on ceremonial robes, as it were; breaking out of the normal, everyday clothes and putting on something fancy, unusual or special. I don't tend to do it very often. Dressing is just the usual range of looking semi-decent to professional; functional and workaday.

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

Jeans or black pants with pockets. A neutral, dark coloured top (never white), either a full-length sleeved shirt with buttons or some kind of knit top.

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

Me: dark colours, lots of black/blue/grey/green/purple, occasionally a strong red. Mostly solids, patterns stylised floral or curvy. Loose, but not too loose. Pants, always pants. V necks in preference to round, but not too revealing. Neutral, plain feminine rather than frilly or lacy. Boots, runners or (occasionally) men's dress shoes. Jewellery that complements colours and shapes: silver, wood, leather, semi-precious stones, seeds.

Not me: pastels, white, bright colours. Complicated, flashy patterns or prints. Tight clothes. Anything trendy like lace panels or cut-out elbows, leggings as pants, those horrible shoes with the back as a boot and the front as a thong. Heels. Dresses and skirts. Make-up. Diamonds or precious stones in jewellery. Gold. Shorts. Sleeveless tops. 3/4 pants. Crop tops.

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

Born and grew up in NE USA, moved to Melbourne, Australia in my 20s. Middle-class, white. The 80s were formative years. I don't think my culture has had much of an effect on my dress.

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?

I pretty much answered this in questions 13 and 14.

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

I wear trousers rather than jeans, try to pick a nice, neat top rather than a t-shirt though the nice thing about women's clothes is that if it's a nice t-shirt, it's almost indistinguishable from other not-t-shirt tops. I don't wear make-up at all. Jewellery seems more professional somehow. My hair is always the same - I wash it and put a little product in it. I try to make sure I cut it often enough and it's not getting too long and fluffy.

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

If I have a non-public-facing day with no meetings involving people I have to impress, I'll wear t-shirts and jeans. But my workplace is pretty easy-going about clothes.

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?

No, thankfully.

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 briefly wore a uniform when I was in primary school and I went to the Catholic school where my mum was relief teaching. In a way it was nice not to have to worry about what to wear in the morning. On the other hand, the uniform was pretty fugly. In general I find rules that affect such a deeply personal thing to be pretty constraining.

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?

T-shirt and jeans, boots or runners. I think I have always worn them throughout my entire life. It is just the ultimate in practical, comfortable and nice-looking. Especially the jeans, so versatile!

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?

Yeah, covered this in questions 13 & 14 too. Yes is the short answer.

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

I think now, here is pretty good. I sometimes see people who dress period (ranging from Renaissance-style garb to Victoriana steampunky stuff to 50s or 60s) and although they often look fantastic, I don't particularly envy them.

I think it would be interesting if I had always lived in a culture that didn't wear much, like some Native American or indigenous Australian tribes. But I suspect that just because they didn't wear much didn't stop them from making judgements and expressing themselves with the clothes they did wear as well as accessories or jewellery.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Not even remotely.

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

Ranges from: wanting to claim all copies ever and destroy them; mild groans of dismay; resigned sigh of I guess that's bearable; yes, okay, that one is actually okay. Except for photos of me pre-10, in which I was quite cute, and a brief phase around 17-20 in which I was pretty and didn't realise it.

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

Not really.

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

Not in a starring role, although I think I am usually wearing them.

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

Pretty much anything other than what I wear.

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 pretty much what I wear now. I don't think I could make any radical changes unless my body was much closer to what I wish it was like.

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

Not usually. On the rare occasions when I go out to meet other women I try not to look too girly, because I'm not really terribly femme. I'm not really butch either. It's kind of hard to explain and involves a lot of assumptions and knowledge of the kind of dyke uniform that is fairly common in Melbourne. Mostly I just try to be myself.

I definitely try to repel the nasty icky pervy kind of guy who stares at your chest instead of looking you in the eyes. This is why, as a reasonably well-endowed woman in the breast department, I tend not to wear deep Vs or cleavage-revealing tops.

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

Not really, I think people need to make up their own rules if they want them.

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

I am very picky about it and have a strong negative reaction to many people's perfumes. I don't know much about it, but I think the scents I prefer are more neutral or masculine rather than feminine. I like woody/floral, sometimes with hints of citrus. I used to wear sandalwood oil but sandalwood is now endangered and I'm hoarding my last bits of sandalwood, bought before I knew about the black market. I suspect it's not real sandalwood anyway. Now I wear an eau de toilette from the Body Shop men's range called Activist. Or nothing.

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

Shower, wash my hair, put product in it. Wear clothes. Preferably clean, although I get multiple wears out of jeans. I avoid things that need ironing because I loathe ironing, but if I did I'd want them to be pressed if they're the sort of thing that wrinkles.

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

It doesn't.

Once upon a time in the 80s I wore pink frosted lipstick.

In the late 90s and early 00s I would sometimes wear make-up if I was going out, say to a fancy dinner or a goth club or something.

The last time I tried wearing make-up, for an anniversary dinner with my then-girlfriend, we both tried putting on a bit of lippy and both of us wound up taking it off. It just looked wrong. Clownish. That was years ago, and I haven't tried since.

Oh wait, I just realised: sometimes I wear nailpolish. Usually odd colours. This is a recent innovation. I don't really think of it as make-up, more just a way of playing with colour.

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 don't really get this question.

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

Jeans, pants, trousers. Knit tops that drape. T-shirts, lots. Long-sleeved t-shirts. Jumpers, preferably cardigans that are cut quite long. Hoodies. Light knit cardigans that layer beautifully. Boots, runners, thongs for hot days or around the house, Birkenstocks ditto.

Jewellery - lots of earrings and necklaces. A few rings, mostly adjustable for my fat fingers that swell in the heat. I just don't wear rings in summer. I have a couple of bracelets I don't wear; one is beautiful but fragile and needs mending. I don't like tight things round my neck and wrists. I have three piercings in each ear; the top ones are sleepers I can't change. The middle ones are sleepers I can change but don't tend to. The bottom ones are the ones I change.

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

I've never been able to pick one favourite anything.

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 keep a purple skirt, close to a rah-rah skirt, which I wore when I was at uni. I love the colour, I love the way I felt when I wore it, I loved everything about it. I wore it till it started to get holes. I keep it because it has memories for me and I still love the colour. Maybe someday I'll take up quilting (I do other types of craft, so it's not unimaginable) and can incorporate pieces of it. Similarly, I have a very bedraggled denim jacket that is nearly white now, which I wore all through uni and the first half of my 20s. I drew a picture of Death (from the Sandman comic) on the back along with some quotes from the comic. It's falling to bits and is unwearable but again, it's nostalgia and reminds me of who I was then. Plus it was an awesome picture.

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?

Major things like car, technology, furniture, appliances were obviously the most expensive and thus are the most valuable things I have. In terms of their value to me personally, probably either books or music. In terms of their value to me overall, possibly shoes. Good shoes when you have bad feet are pretty damn important.

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 kind of wish I had samples at least of many of the things I wore when I was young. Some of the amazing prints and patterns that my grandmother used to make dresses for me. I don't fret about it much though. Usually I spend more time fretting about how I can't fit into things anymore.

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

It depends if I'm allowed to get any other clothes or not! If not, probably my dressing gown as it would be the only thing that could save me from being arrested for public indecency. If I am, probably my favourite pair of jeans.

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

If money were no object, I would buy the best quality things and multiples of them.

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

I have never done such a thing.

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

My car. I'm not kidding, I learned to drive late and having spent most of my life dependent on other people with cars, my own two feet and public transport, having my own car that I could drive whenever and wherever I wanted to has been pretty life-changing.

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

I am always on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans! Whenever I find one, I wear them to death and mend them many times before I finally consign them to the bin. So I'm always on the lookout for others.

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

When I have just done the washing and put it away, it's pretty neat. Things are folded or rolled or on hangers. This tends to happen on my days off. As the week goes on, I accumulate a floordrobe of things that have been worn once but aren't dirty yet, things that I haven't quite managed to move the extra three feet into the washing basket, etc.

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

A friend of mine who sews made me some trousers once, which I thought was just really lovely. She knows how hard it is for me to find nice trousers.

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?

I am not really sure what you mean by valuable, but I don't think so.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I get some catalogues in the mail and will look at those when they arrive, sometimes buy things - especially if they are on sale. Otherwise it tends to be to meet a specific need. My underwear is approaching sainthood, I need new jeans, etc. Sometimes I have gotten dressed in the morning and at work taken a massive dislike to what I put on and gone out to Target or Big W (it's kind of like Australian Kmart) to buy an emergency cheap top to replace it. I try to keep it as brief and task-oriented as possible, and prefer to leave anything about which I have doubts overnight. I can always go back for it later.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Clean. Faintly aromatic in a woody/lightly floral way (see the question about perfume) but not in a lingering way.

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

It doesn't.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I tend not to buy very expensive clothing - spending $80 on a single item is a big deal. Partly this is because my size keeps changing (usually growing) and I don't want to invest a lot of money in something that won't fit me. Partly this is because I am pretty tough on clothes - when your thighs rub together with every step you take, not even the most expensive, beautifully-crafted pair of pants will last terribly long. Maybe if you only wear them once or twice a year, but then see the changing size thing. I do spend quite a bit on shoes because of my horrible feet; I won't balk at $350 for a good pair of boots that I know will be comfortable and supportive to my poor suffering feet. But the emphasis here is on practicality, never on appearance. I never buy shoes because I just like the way they look.

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

The sleepers in my ears that I can't take out.

Do tattoos count? Cause those.

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

Not that I can think of.

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?

Couldn't tell you.

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

October 1973. Born in NE US, live in Melbourne, Australia now.

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

I think I did this in whatever question it was that asked about it.

What kind of work do you do?


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

Single, queer, ex-husband, no kids.

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

It probably comes across in my answers, but I have a strong ambivalence about clothing and fashion. On the one hand, I'm very iconoclastic about it, particularly haute couture which I really do not see the point of. On the other hand, I really enjoy looking at fashion and dresses and thinking about these things. I can get quite bitter about the limitations I personally experience with regard to clothing - lack of sizes, lack of interesting clothes in my size, the higher cost of plus-size clothing compared to "normal" people - but I'm sometimes aware that I have become so accustomed to these limitations that I don't want to choose anything different. I was trying to buy some summer shoes, for example, and went to a shop that I thought might have some women's shoes that would fit me. The sales assistant helpfully brought out things that could but they were shiny and gold or white and flowery and just completely not me. I realised that I have been wearing men's shoes for so long that I have actually come to prefer them. Or is it just internalised conservativism on my part? I'm really not sure. So yes, despite some bitterness and resentment, I actually really enjoy clothes. And you've probably worked out the body image and self-confidence issues too.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Amazed that I got through it all! Thoughtful, mostly.

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