Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I am on stage performing.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I notice women all the time. I am attracted to creative style and confidence.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
This is a hard question to answer because there are so many instances of beauty I see that are very different from one another. I admire when someone has made an effort to match in an outfit, but I also love funky clashing styles. It's all about how someone wears the style s/he is exploring.
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?
I have always been obsessed with red lipstick and high heels. It's been an on going theme in my life since I could talk.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Sometimes, I just buy something with out trying it on. I'm pretty good at sizing, so most often it's not a problem. Every now and then, I've gotten something that doesn't work.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Always wear the size that fits. Some ladies can wear clothing that is too large or too small and it looks great for the look they are going for. I try to wear clothes that fit me as to not draw too much attention to the fact that I am overweight. Clothes that are too large tend to make me look larger, and clothes that are too small seem to restrict my comfort and mobility.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
When I started working at a boutique that sold bras I didn't know my correct size. I knew that most stores didn't carry bras that fit me, so I concluded that my size wasn't worth carrying in stores because sales in smaller sizes were more lucrative to carry. This in turn made me feel unworthy, though I knew that wasn't the case- I felt that way. When I put on a bra that actually fit me, I could button up my shirt without a problem, and felt like a normally proportioned human being. It was one of the more validating experiences I've ever had.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Creative chaos seems to be the most consistent thread in my life.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have multiple pencil skirts and more bras than I can count. I love how I feel when I wear these items. I like to have multiple options to choose from, and since there is a high rotation, I don't wear them out as fast as if I only have one or two.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Crop tops. No one wants to see me in a crop top.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother hated her body. I learned to be uncomfortable with my body from her. My mother also had amazing style and taste; quite the paradox. She passed away when I was 23, and I continue to wear her jewelery and scarves, one, to feel near her, and two, because they are absolutely beautiful.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Yes! Inspiration is everywhere. I give credit where credit is due, though.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I have always been in love with high heels. I love how I feel in them, I love the way they look. After my mother died when I was 23, I had a hard time feeling vibrant and cheery. I found that I didn't want to wear shoes with a heel. I didn't want to be 'that kind' of lady for a long while. I didn't feel confidant.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I don't think so. Not that I consciously intend.
16. Please describe your body.
17. Please describe your mind.
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?
My hair is up in a twisted bun resting on the very top of my head like a crown. I have light make-up on: foundation, blush, white eye liner under my eyes, mascara, light gold eye shadow, light pink lip gloss. I am wearing a red sleeveless tunic with one of my favorite green lace bras underneath, dark blue skinny jeans that are rolled up at the cuff. Ballet slippers in a neutral color. A fake gold bangle on my right arm. Long chain earrings. My family rings.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
My jewelry is very important to me. My wedding band, anniversary band, engagement ring. My earrings are from a beloved store in a city I used to live in, and my bracelet is from a vacation I took to Scotland with my husband a few years ago. My bra makes me feel sexy and well supported. My make-up makes me feel confident in how I present my self. The clothes I am wearing I don't care too much about.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I notice style trends, so I would say advertising may persuade me to purchase something.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I have taste and style. Style is the tool box and taste is how one uses the tool. They are both important concepts in the realm of creativity in fashion.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Rubbing cloth together to remove deodorant stains can allow a garment to be worn with out washing.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
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?
Yes. I am a performer, so sometimes presenting myself a certain way can calm anxieties I have about performing. How I wear the dress, costume, or outfit can do some of the work for me in terms of presenting a persona.
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 know what I like when I see it, hear it, experience it. I try not to have predetermined judgements in many areas of my life because I believe being more laid back can help me to avoid potential conflicts and problems.
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 mother taught me how to iron, I learned how to properly wash delicate clothing by hand, how to fold trousers/ pants to create a crease, what can be washed and what must go to the cleaners. I learned later to never use Woolite because it can deteriorate the fabric.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I love red lipstick. I have blond eye-lashes, and I notice that when I wear mascara and eye-liner, people respond to me differently. I'll wear beautiful bras that no one can see; I wear them just for my enjoyment.
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?
To be comfortably confident is a wonderful thing. Many people don't want to step into their best self for various reasons. In the context of fashion, someone who says she wants to be comfortable means to me that she doesn't want to be objectified or that she may feel uncomfortable with her own confidence. Some one who is confident would be someone who doesn't spend too much time thinking about how others perceive her, and may have a higher sense of self worth than someone who is more concerned with being comfortable.
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?
Style is about expressing inspiration though gestures in fashion.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Something that inspires the spirit or stops my thought process to rest my attention on someone else's creative exploration.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
I think there is beauty is what is generally considered ugly, especially in term of the fashion world. True ugliness would be war, rape culture, famine, hate, etc...
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?
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 have a huge amount of negative dialogue in my head that I try to ignore or counter balance. It is a daily struggle. I have been influenced my unhealthy people's opinions about the way I look; little comments from people I had trusted that repeat over and over in my mind for years. I wish I didn't do this.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I consider where I am going and who I will see that day.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
To look great
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing happens every day. Dressing up is a way to celebrate something. Dressing up for a dinner, a wedding, a show, these are fun things in life that culturally we celebrate by wearing something special.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
I would not wear a uniform.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Something creative and sophisticated would be very "me". Crop tops, not so much.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I was raised by bohemian intellectuals in white suburban America. I dress accordingly.
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?
My style is always changing. Style is one way I express my creative spirit.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Black blazer. It is absolutely amazing what wearing a black blazer does for my self esteem. I've been wearing them for 20+ years now. I just feel "in charge".
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I rebel in little ways. I'll let my bra strap show, or wear really bright colors.
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?
I would if I had to wear a uniform.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I would not like having 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?
Tunic with slim fitting pants, blouse with a pencil skirt, long maxi dress would be archetypal outfit choices for me; I know I look great in these looks.
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?
Sometimes I wish I was a man so people would listen to what I have to say, but that is really the only time I have those feelings.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Late 1940s upper class New York, USA or late 1960s upper class Paris, France.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
Jackie O, Coco Channel, Frida Kahlo, Grace Jones
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Performer, Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, also known as M.I.A.
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?
Little dresses, high waist skinny pants, tiny skirts
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Wear what makes you feel good.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I love perfume. I wear it as long as it has a high quality alcohol in the ingredients. Most perfume sold today uses cheep alcohol that ruins the sent. Oil based perfumes tend to smell more high end.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I steam my cloths before wearing them, and I wash my body before dressing, even it is a quick rinse.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wont leave the house without foundation on my face.
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?
Leisure suits. What the hell is up with leisure suits that have words written across the ass? I just can't get into that look.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
A hoard of clothes and jewelry.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I could never pick just one or ten.
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 silly amount of clothing from a long time ago. I keep thinking that one day I will fit into the items again.
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?
Dresses to wear for my wedding and friend's weddings. Performance outfits. Comfortable cute shoes.
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?
yes. so so many. I try not to think about it.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
I can't answer this question. I would never be able to choose between my fur coats.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
A black blazer. I have replaced it many times after much wear and tear.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
Bras that fit.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Black pants that fit well.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
A complete mess.
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?
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
When I have time. I like to start at consignment shops.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I like to present my best self, put my best foot forward as the saying goes.
80. How does money fit into all this?
I am a bargain hunter. Sometimes I can not afford the items I would like to purchase, but there are ways of keeping costs down.
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 my wedding rings every day. I wear foundation and blush everyday.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
I love getting positive feed back, makes me feel good about my fashion choices. I have had negative feedback from time to time over the years, which in turn has had a negative effect on self esteem.
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 was three. I went to my grandmother's dressing table, put on the reddest lipstick I could find, and went to show my mother. She asked my why I had chosen red over pink lipstick. I replied, "because red makes me teeth look white".
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in August 1981 in Boston, MA. I have lived in NM and CA, and now I live in Dallas, TX.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Being uppity isn't always a bad thing.
What kind of work do you do?
I am a musician.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I am married to a man. We have no children.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I filled this out with the intention that I would remain anonymous.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I am amazed I could stay focused for this many questions.