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Petra Kruijt

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I get out of bed in the morning and only have underpants and a T-shirt or top of some sort on, and I walk to the bathroom and see my body in the mirror, and every single day this same thought pops up: you are skinnier than you think you are.

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

Yes, I do. The ones I admire most are women in business clothes. Also, the ones who look Parisian - whether they are or not.

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

Self-confidence. When I see other women who look beautiful, I imagine that they are worry-free. I know they are not, but I still see it.

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

I prefer not to buy clothes (or anything else important, for that matter) when I’m ‘going shopping’ with friends. They blur my judgment. I need to have the time and space to decide for myself whether I love something or not.

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

I always need to wear a camisole underneath my clothes. It's as important to me as the rest of my underwear.

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

When I was twenty, I did an internship at a women’s magazine. The conversations were mostly about celebrities, children (which most of the women working there had), and stuff you could buy – including fashion. I was a student, so I didn’t have much money. My style was also still developing. But one day, when the weather got colder, I wore a cashmere scarf that I had bought for 10 euros. It was awesome: deep green, so large I could use it as a blanket and so soft. When I walked into the office with it, the colleague I despised most told me: ‘What a nice scarf. This really is a statement piece.’ I thanked her, and then I realized: if I really love what I’m wearing, other people will notice that, too. Since then, I always ask myself when I’m considering buying something: could I love this? And I have indeed met many loves since.

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

Yes, I think so. Mostly at least. When I want something, I make sure I get it or do it. I’m impulsive, so I tend to do stuff without thinking too much, but the thinking is not important anyway, it’s about the feeling.

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

The camisoles. I keep buying them because they wrap my body so nicely. They make me feel secure. When I wear them beneath a shirt, sweater, dress or whatever I have on, I feel like everything stays in place better. I feel naked without them.

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

Oh, yes! I love giving people clothes and jewellery, if I know what their style is and feel confident they're gonna like it. I recently gave my mom a vest and it looks great on her. She thinks so, too.

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

I don't care much for fashion trends. I try to seek out what fits me. Sometimes the trends are great for me, sometimes not at all. Skinny jeans don't look good on women with big hips and thighs and all that. I'm one of these women, so I don't wear skinny jeans.

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

Our bodies look a lot alike. I think her style suits me as well. More and more, I'm beginning to find that I take after my mother in so many ways. I would have hated that ten years ago, but I don't anymore. I hope to be as amazing as she is.

16. Please describe your body.

My body is growing a baby. That's all it's about right now. I'm going to be a mom, which is scary and overwhelming to my mind, but my body feels completely at ease with this task.

17. Please describe your mind.

My mind can’t decide between the thousands of different lives I could lead. It wants to focus on something and make it great, but has trouble deciding where this greatness can be best achieved.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I have a hard time trying to get a grip on my emotions. Which are my own and which are those of others, incorporated in mine?

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

I’m wearing a pair of socks, a legging, skirt, bra, camisole, shirt and vest. My hair is down (I have long hair) and I’m wearing glasses. I have glasses because I get headaches when I look at the computer screen too long without them, but also because I like my face with glasses.

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

It's not, really. It matters, but not in the way other things matter.

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

Yes, I do think I have taste and style. They are always developing and firmly attached at the same time. What I find beautiful now I will still find beautiful in ten years, just as I’m still fond of the things I liked ten years ago. Yet I wouldn’t necessarily wear them now. I do also believe that the things I choose because they fit my taste and style, the things that I love, will last a lot longer than the stuff I buy because they’re in fashion or because I can’t find anything that fits me better.

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

Oh yes, most definitely. In home decoration, for example. I live together with my husband so we decided on the interior together, but I’m very happy with how this turned out.

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?

The only example I can think of is bathing suits. I don’t wear bikinis because I don't like the way my belly looks. So I cover it up and feel a lot better. I’m not sure if pools and beaches scare me, but the thought of people seeing me in a bikini does.

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?

They taught me to buy sensibly, e.g. not spend a lot of money on clothes. Buy comfortable shoes rather than pretty ones. Throw out the stuff that's worn down - though I still have a hard time doing this, because they're mostly the clothes I like best.

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?

They probably mean the same thing: not having to worry about what I am/one is wearing the whole time.

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

I consider a lot of different things. The weather is important, of course, but also what I’m going to do. When I go to the office, I make sure I wear something comfortable and representative at the same time. Also I don’t want to wear the same thing two days in a row.

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

The "up" part implies a lot of effort, usually for a special occasion.

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?

No, I've never thought this. Now that you bring it up though, I would like to wear a custom-made suit once. (And I don't like the way they look on women.)

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Yes, and many people have told me that I am. I do agree that there are a lot of nice photographs of myself and I’m very much pleased with that.

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

That depends on the photograph. For the most part, I think: I look fat! And then I delete it. If I don’t look fat and find myself beautiful in a picture, I keep it. And then I put it up on Facebook and admire myself whenever I feel like I look otherwise. Actually, come to think of it, the pictures in which I look fat are the ones I consider most true. But I don’t want truth in photographs. I want beauty.

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

Any look that I’d really have to think about. I go about my look as I go about mostly anything: I just do what feels right. If I’d have to name one look that I imagine I could never achieve, it’s that of a gogo dancer. I’m just not that type of girl and can’t envision myself in that role or clothing style, ever.

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?

A sleek and shiny cocktail dress.

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

I love it. Scents are very important to me. When I know that I smell good, it gives me self-confidence. Also I love the moment when I smell myself, think for a split second: what smells so good?, and then: that’s me!

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

I hardly ever wear make-up. Which is strange, because I do like how I look with it. I just hate to remove it and therefore I skip it most of the time.

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

I don’t think I ever bought an investment item. I still have trouble spending more than 100 euros on one single piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, even though I make enough money to be able to do this.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I don’t plan shopping for clothes, not in the sense that I go into town thinking: I’m going to buy stuff this afternoon. I know it doesn’t work that way. I just visit random stores every now and then and when something catches my eye, I try it on and maybe buy it. I never buy stuff online.

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’m not sure if this was the first time I was conscious of what I was wearing, but it was definitely the time I was most conscious of what I was wearing. When I was fourteen, I was developing what could be considered my own style. As I didn’t have much money, I used to make my own clothes. At this age I had made a pair of trousers from pieces of fabric that had two prints: one had a cow print, the other was green and dotted with daisies. I used the cow for the upper half of the trousers and the daisies for the flares. When I first wore these pants, it was the first time ever that this guy I had fancied for quite some time seemed to notice me. He told me how cool it was that I had the guts to wear this. It occurred to me that what I wore had an immediate effect on how people saw me and that it allowed me to express myself without saying anything. I wasn’t exactly cool or pretty, so this was a break-through moment. Despite the coolness of these pants, I can't remember if I wore them after that. I don't believe I did.

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

April 28, 1987. I was born in Hilversum (the Netherlands) and now live in Meppel (also in the Netherlands, about 100 km from where I was born).

What kind of work do you do?

I work as a freelancer and have several ‘jobs’: book editor, journalist, copywriter, writer of fiction.

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

Married, pregnant with the first.

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