Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When my skin is clear, I feel slim and my hair is co-operating. Then I'm ready to take on the world!
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Absolutely; I'm constantly making a style inventory. Negatively I notice women who slavishly follow trends. Positively, I notice women who are unafraid: who are doing their own thing, beautifully. That to me is what chic is.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Posture, ease, warmth. And when I woman is proud of and makes the best of her own beauty - minimal artifice.
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?
As I student I went abroad every summer. Away, I experimented with my wardrobe, my look. I feel in love with beautiful cuts and didn't feel self-conscious at all. Back in term, I reverted to disappearing into the crowd.
I realised then there was another me, and she adored beautiful clothes.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
It's okay to buy repeat items.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Scruffy can be good!
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Elemental. I am always looking for the most refined, systematic way of doing things. I like to have one tried and tested approach that I stick with until something better comes along. I evolve, but I don't flip flop - at least not when I've settled on something.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Do blazers count? I don't think they do - I have multiple but each is different: a purple velvet, Prince of Wales check, red, navy, nubby, tweed.
Otherwise: button-down shirts in pink or blue. They are my white shirts (which I never wear).
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
If I give someone something I love myself, I usually feel good about it. I want them to fall in love with it too.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Um most. I feel silly in trends. Although usually when a colour is the in thing it trickles into my subconscious and I'm all about oxblood or grey or olive etc.
When something has become a modern classic, like leather leggings or over-the-knee boots, I'll get on board. I like to look like I live in this decade, but not season by season!
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother's style has always been tasteful and safe. Loafers. Tweed. That conservatism has always been an anchor line. Now though, I'm consciously, deliberately trying to be more flashy/trendy.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Recently - I am consciously breaking with my previously 'approachable' style and choosing starker, more austere pieces.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I wear a lot of secondhand pieces and avoid obvious logos. I'm trying to buy less and wear things out. A stuffed wardrobe is increasingly repellant to me. Anti-consumerist?
16. Please describe your body.
I'm lucky - tall, slim, well-proportioned. People comment that I can wear most things. I don't like my skin though - it's volatile, so that makes me self-conscious.
17. Please describe your mind.
At its best, alive and buzzing with ideas and possibilities. At its worst, chaotic!
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?
Coming from the pool with my daughter, I am in navy cords and a t-shirt. I have zero make-up and my wet hair is scrapped back in a pony.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
Quite important. It matters to me at least. I'm conscious of how clothes alter people's perception of me. Also I really enjoy clothes and beautiful design gives me pleasure. I love dressing well.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My mother. Also friends know my interest and will talk to me about it. I enjoy conversations that are in depth, about emerging talents and trends in the industry. It's fascinating to me.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Institutions? Do you mean dressing appropriately for the occasion? I think it is a matter of respect so I try.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Ha ha! This is tough! Taste I think is what is accepted at the time. It is what has become mainstream in your circle/society. It is safe. Style is a little more fearless.
Personally, as I try to be more consistent in how I dress, I am more tasteful, less stylish. I'm starting to regret that - it feels anonymous, boring.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Oh the dozens of 'bargains' that I had to have.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Nothing that are particular to me I think. Colours that makes you glow and a nipped in waist, however you achieve it. I aim to flatter myself now.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I have very particular ideas about what I like/find acceptable, in literature, dining, furnishing, character. If integrity can be applied and understood, I would say integrity. I think I mean authenticity - no low quality imitations. Thing don't have to be expensive - just not imitations: if it's straight up cheap and cheerful, great!
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?
Oh dear. In new social environments, when I feel intimidated, I try to fore-guess what other there might be wearing. Then I want to fit in.
At work events, a well-cut suit is armour.
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?
By and large, I know what I value. I think I am discerning, but also practical? Amazing sofa that I can't afford. Okay, what else works?
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?
Generally yes.You removed your school uniform when you came home. Shoes were polished. Special occasions meant dressing nicely. We had our Sunday Best.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I'm uncomfortable being 'sexy'. I'm usually the most dressed down person on a night-out.
Black makes me feel sophisticated and mysterious. Showing my collar bone.
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" suggests ease. In the context of dressing, most people are stiffer the more glamorously/sophiscatedly they are dressed. Ease is wearing glamour lightly. Although women wearing clothes shoes thay are uncomfortable in should be banned. 5 in" heels and the duck strut? Ugh.
Confidence is self-acceptance, self-love. Being honest with yourself and that being okay.
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?
Dress to live. Firstly that rules out things that are restrictive or pointless. Too heavy bags,
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
A strong look. Tall powerful women who prowl. Rawness. A direct gaze. (Brunettes - because I am probably!)
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Very ugly is a little harsh, but an identikit look of blonde hair, darkly made-up eyes. Any look that becomes a uniform, a disguise.
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?
I've almost stopped buying for my alternate personality (ies)! I try to only shop for pieces that give me a surge of energy and that I want to wear immediately with everything. That's usually a good indication.
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?
Oh what a question! How telling! I used to see myself through the lens of a 'cool' guy I had a massive crush on. He had style, and I wanted him to approve of me. Recently, I'm trying to fit in with the mummies I meet at my 'baby and me' classes. Then I think that my style direction - which is a lot more black - looks threatening! I've eradicated florals and look a bit goth... That wasn't the plan!
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
My daily uniform has evolved to be something 'two piece'. A shirt+jeans. T-shirt + skirt. Jumper + trousers. I think about whether my outfit is consistent with that. Sometimes I think it's quite boring, but I haven't moved past it!
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I want to achieve 'elegant ease'. I translate this to mean minimal and flattering. I want people to look at me and think I look effortlessly great!
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
'Dressing up' is more stressful! It's an opportunity to have fun but my instinct is to dress-down. I want to look great having just 'thrown' something on. To be honest, I feel like a christmas tree/transvestite when I dress up. Not like me at all. Even when I make a supreme effort, I usually the most underdressed person at an event.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Top (shirt, t-shirt, jumper), bottom (jeans, trousers, skirt), topper (blazer, jacket, coat). Scarf is required. No patterns. No embellishment. To 'dress up' - luxe fabrics (silk, leather, cashmere).
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Understated, clean is "me". Trendy, attention-grabbing is "not me".
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Middle-class, modest ambitions, know-your-place. I think drawing attention to myself, other than muted admiration feels unseemly. Hmmm.
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?
In college, all of my independent spirit disappeared and I just wanted to fit in. I was some approximation of preppy.
When I visit a new country/city, I am inspired by the local style and usually it contributes to the evolution of my style. Paris: femininity. Italy: glamour. London: individuality. US: colour.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
I define my eyes and keep my hair smooth - up or down. I wear a suit in a dark colour and a contrasting shirt. My style becomes even more severe; I want to look all business, humourless even.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
In many places I've worked there has been no dress code. Nonetheless, I've tried to stay away from jeans. I forget my professional self when I am too casual.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
I am launching a fashion start-up. As I network, I'm trying to create the impression of being noteworthy for my personal style, so my dress code for this is my chicest, sleekest best...
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
Breaking into this domain, I resist the expectation to be trendy.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I wore a uniform in school. I remember it neutrally: not terrible, not terrific. Everyone made their uniform their own, even within the constraints of a dress code. I know nobody from that time who viewed it negatively.
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?
Grey bell-bottom jeans. Blush/nude silk shirt. Soft black leather 50s/Fonz style jacket. High boots. Dangling earrings. I feel perfect. Feminine. Minimal. Effortless. Rock and roll.
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?
I love androgynous style - with no feminine details to soften it. I find tall rangy strong women beautiful. But increasingly I love and appreciate the female form. Hips!
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Early 20th century. I would be a Coco Chanel acolyte. Also the 20s.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
I have strong features. I can look well, or cartoonish.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I'm surprised by what I see back.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Coco Chanel. Definitely.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
A very sexy or exposed look. I am uncomfortable showing my skin. Anything too body con.
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?
Fewer tights! Shorter sleeves! My back!
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I want smart discriminating people to think I like what she's doing: effortless chic! Ha, ha.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
You don't need to advertise your girlishness to be a woman. Flowing floral tops, pink sneakers/ trainers, glittery stuff belong on 5 year olds. But not on my 5 year old.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I have worn the same smell for15 years. Eau Dynamisant by Clarins. I still love it.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I prefer to be clean and pressed! A wash of colour on my eyelids.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
At a minimum, and presuming my skin is co-operating, I use blush and a wash of colour on my lids. I like to look polished and to flatter myself, but I find very obvious make-up unattractive and a mask. I hate the cult of mascara - I dye my lashes instead.
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?
Sometimes, especially when I admire a beautifully presented ladylike woman, my own efforts to be effortlessly chic seem childish.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Well cut button down shirts. Multiple blazers. Collard coats. Jeans. Black trousers. Boots. Leather everything. 70s silhouette. Expensive ostentatious jewellery.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I have a leather jacket that I got 12 years ago. It is soft as butter, fits like a glove and is slightly 50s menswear styled. I am bulletproof in that jacket.
My watch is perfection: tonneau case, champagne face, quite large.
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?
Dresses that I wear v occasionally. Because dresses are where I forget my rules and enjoy someone else's imagination!
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?
Coats. I have a dozen but I wear them all. I can't imagine just wearing one all winter.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My black leather jacket. No contest.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Less. Less. Less. I'm quite happy with what's in it now but it look a lot of letting go of the redundant stuff.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a trench form a heritage brand. Still looks great though.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
My first leather skirt. While it was very classic and respectable, it changed how I felt about myself. I felt slightly dangerous and I wanted more. That started my love affair with leather.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
A leather trench coat.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
There are sections for each category, but often I have to tidy up and start over
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Once my mother lost a bracelet that I remembered her wearing when I was a child. It had very strong sentimental value for me. She had it re-made just for me.
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?
Button-down shirts are a staple although in the beginning, I bought them out of a sense of... responsibility?
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I know that when I browse I find it difficult to resist buying, so I have learned to steer clear of window shopping unless I WANT to spend. When I get an idea of something I "need" e.g. a red skirt, I'll hunt ebay.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
I love the smell of aftershave.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I think so. My style is no nonsense, more sleek than fuzzy. I want to be perceived this way too I suppose.
80. How does money fit into all this?
I've overspent in the past. When I cleaned out my closets I was shocked how much I had wasted on impulse purchases that held no lasting attraction for me. Now I'm more cautious now. I'm careful of when I window shop - inevitably if I fall in love with something I convince myself I have to have it!
I always try to buy quality; often I buy consignment.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
Something subtle on my eyelids. My watch.
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 being fixated on several outfits that I had as a child, a tiered navy skirt. Red shoes. They were very defining for me.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Sept 1976. Dublin, Ireland.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
What kind of work do you do?
Third sector and start-up.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married, one baby girl.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
Clothes really matter to me. I don't aspire to look fantastic everyday, but I try to buy pieces that are perfect in every context - black cashmere I could wear to the park or dinner. I am fascinated my beautiful design.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I started off really interested, now I'm exhausted and bored!
Still trying to get the 'perfect' look!