Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When my hormones come together and I feel like dressing in a curvy wrap around dress, swinging my hips
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Very well put together women: when their top, skirt, shoes, brooch, sunglasses and handbag all come together. Doesn't have to be expensive or current, it's the choice of colour, size and use of accessories that pays off> My colleague is in her 60s and I always admire the way she puts together a green fitted jumper with denim pencil skirt or something else that is so timeless and fits perfectly.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Yes, women who understand colour, fits, purpose of accessories, proportions, and add a little drama to it all.
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 am petite. I realised, very belatedly, that I MUST wear fitted clothes to look good. Everything needs altering, but having correctly fitted clothes makes me look spectacular. Also, accessories-cute brooches etc, maketh the outfit.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Try on enough unexpected things to discover things you didn't initally consider. I discovered pantsuits this way. Sometimes it's good to embrace "fancy dress" and try wearing clothes from other eras for fun, in case it translates well for you know (like rockabilly, though I'm not into that).
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
My colleague told me she dressed well because she was of Dutch descent. This reassured me that I needn't worry about not being as fabulous as her as I don't have European ancestry.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Stripey t-shirts for a long time. On a quest for the ultimate stripey t-shirt, as it never lived up to my expectations but looked good on other people. I think I hadn't reconciled my love of stripey tshirts with the style/type of t-shirt that looks best on me. Maybe when I work this out, I'll be able to restrict my stripey tshirt shopping to a narrower scope
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I gave me mum a scarf. My sister in law earrings. Yes! It is a good feeling
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
So many really. Peplums, maxi dresses, cargo pants. I can evaluate if a trend looks shit or will look shit on me.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Hasn't passed down. She's slim, but she literally has no idea, and keeps shopping and buying without knowing what colours, shapes, styles suit her or what would be really great for her vintage. Sometimes dresses well but it's a fluke
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
No, I look to people with my body shape instead.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Boarding school. I watched Dogs in Space and felt reassured that the lost property box aesthetic was my style. It legitimised op shopping, flannel shirts, anti fashion, just before Grunge went crazy in the '90s. It was my era. ALthough some of this looked bad, I was young and slim and I loved the freedom of not having to chase friends or spend money: it was easy to attire yourself creatively on a budget.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I still op shop, but I'm less political. I no longer could dress like I'd gone through the lost property box. Sometimes when I've been on holidays/camping/volunteering I do this, and I notice that the rest of the group follows, enjoying the liberation from mainstream fashion and the opportunity to creatively dress from limited resources. I liked Mallory Keaton's logo from Family Ties "dress for fear of success".
16. Please describe your body.
Petite, hourglass, still curvy but curves changed since childbirth
17. Please describe your mind.
quirky, creative, logical, imaginative, socially conscious, passionate, sometimes hold onto things for for too long
18. Please describe your emotions.
Passionate, caring, sometimes insufficiently processed
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Black pants for convenience, chiffony top for dramatic effect, black hair in a bob with a sideways fringe, no make up.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It's the mask we need to get out of the house....
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My mother if forced and people (work colleagues) that require small talk
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Dress codes for work, if you're hunting for a job or anything else that has an element of unpredictability, you want to play safe
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Taste is knowing if something is cool
Style is assembling.
I have more taste than style, cos I'm lazy
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Nothing spectacular, just anything I bought brand new from a chainstore shop and realised was too boring to wear. I don't do this often as I prefer second hand and only buy new things that I've carefully thought about. I think any clothes bought online are a big waste of money-never as good as the photo promises, maybe that's indicative of the whole internet/social media marketing campaign, smoke and mirrors etc
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Unfortunately no. But a fairly legendary Adelaide weather presenter was famous for her earrings, and it kept her onscreen into her 40s or 50s.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I'm good with shoes, books, music and saying "fuck it/them"
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 tend not to do 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?
I am good at discernment. It comes from considering the pros and cons and reading a little about it. Linda Grant and Maggie Alderson write quite well about clothes, as did Luella Bartley, all English writers giving context, instead of being fashionistas about selfies.
My discernment comes from the music world, as attire is a big part of expressing your political music tastes.
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?
Washing wool jumpers and avoiding moths. My nana was into sewing and taught me to take up hems, which would save me a lot of money if I wasn't lazy.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
According to my husband I like wearing clothes that fit my features and my form so I feel sexy and comfortable. He says I don't do much body grooming, nothing with hair or makeup, it's my clothes that define me. Bit of lingerie, knickers etc, underwear that creates shape. I'm asking him, cos i really had no idea myself
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 is both physically (no sore feet) and authentic. Confidence could come from authenticity or it could come externally ie a positive response from some hottie.
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?
Wear clothes that fit you
Add a little drama
Accessories can rule
Pay tribute to eras/ genres/music
Go to dress up parties
Have opportunities to wear something you made yourself with your own hands
Set yourself a challenge of wearing something entirely second hand
Get clothes fitted/repaired
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Bad material, boring colour, poor fit
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'm good. I've bought bad things that I've still worn a lot but a year or two later realised was dumb to wear or dated quickly, but I've rarely bought things that languish. That's because I buy things in a calculated manner, not for emotional escapism like Lindsay Lohan, who I would LOVE To makeover. Her clothes are a walking psychological expression.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I give myself about 2 minutes, I go through dress stages or black pants stages (if I haven't leg waxed) and I think about temperature and what shoes I want to wear.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Temperature control and at least one object on my body that says I'm a little bit cool/alternative.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing up is larger than life when you want to court attention
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
It would be a jumpsuit/boiler suit, tailored to fit me, in a cool colour like aqua or indigo, with pockets and short sleeves, and I could wear long sleeved tshirts under it during winter. Maybe I'd look like a scrub attendant in ER?
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Signature style is fitted slacks, fitted blouse or colourful fitted dresses
I don't wear brand new stuff or suits
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
mainstream anglo saxon. Has left me without cultural heritage so I've had to look to the music world for inspiration
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 wore a school uniform for 13 years and so I craved self expression, the ability to choose my own colours, shape and fit of clothes, to express my political or music allegiances and to use my clothes as a non verbal way to attract like minded people
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Clothes that fit! Clean hair, maybe lippy
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I like wearing work clothes that are second hand or have dresses with slightly crazy prints instead of suits. They are still workwear, but not corporate. They don't mind though anyway.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
The last time I wore uniform of any kind was tennis-tennis skirt and collared tshirt. That's ten years! Oh and I had to wear a work uniform about 5 years ago, which looked like graph paper
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
Calling my uniform graph paper and finding my own version of "navy pants/navy skirt" so that the way it was made, or the location of it's pockets or flared vs skinny jean approach wasn't mainstream. That would be yes.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
Yes, because it doesn't fit short people. A uniform you design yourself would be fine, as it would liberate you from the daily effort of thinking of something different each day in addition to eating/dropping kid off/commuting to work.
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?
A jumper with cut off sleeves, leaving only a small ruffle. It says 1983/1984 and brings back my memory of post punk culture, Street Hero movie, it goes over long sleeves, it is awesome.
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, girls can wear most things that are mannish but escape the whole tie vs no tie dilemma that modern men are stuck with.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Hairspray Baltimore 1960 seems cool with the dresses and colour choices.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
No but sometimes I suprise myself
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I wasn't posing
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Not wearing them or coming across a market stall with cool printed dresses
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
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?
If I was taller I could wear flared high waisted '70s denim jeans. I also wouldn't have to battle hems, but other than that, I don't think I'm too constrained. Flat waisted would mean crop tops, but is that actually a good look?
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
Sexy people that will admire us (attract) and not exactly repel, but give an "up yours" to enemies
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Maybe I should?
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
19/2/76. Born in Mt Gambier, SA, Australia and live in Adelaide, SA, Australia
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
White. Christian. Professional. Educated. Fortunately I grew up in the country and had angst riddern boarding school years otherwise I'd be a boring suburbanite.
What kind of work do you do?
Professional white collar work, think policy, project officer etc.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married, a kid
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I think fashion occupies women of leisure. I'm curious what fashion would mean to a woman who is battling for shelter, needs a job, or is experiencing relationship breakdown. My life is pretty easy, so fashion is a luxury
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I thought the questions were interesting and written by interesting people who probably thought that fashion is overrated too, but inexplicably a part of a female's life, even if she loves post punk music.
I love music more than fashion, I am a mother of one in her thirties, who rarely feels as though there is anything written about or for mothers who love music.