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Clara Halfpenny

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

With some spicy 'pink frost' lipstick, a black leather purse to sling, and clothes that make me feel comfortable, unique, and noticeable.

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

The ones that look almost out of their own skin, who make a fashion statement, but, at the same time, you know they might be hiding behind it.

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

Hmm...I like it when a woman can take the streets as a runway without having to walk like she is, and by feeling natural in her own smile. As for what she wears, it's got to be natural, babe. I think mostly women whose appearances are kindness, as if they have some ideas at how to change the world, solar power and environmentally friendly. Women thinkers.

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?

Yeah, I think that moment was rather recent actually. It sort of came down to two throw-over jackets. I had to make a decision between a few, but it came down to one that fit the old 60's-loving me and the black-leather new style me. I chose black. But it meant re-thinking how I present myself with what I wear. And, actually, that new leather-sleeved-knitted-back overcoat made a more confidant me. I think the reason it happened was lying behind self-representation and confidence.

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

Haha...Well, I used to ask myself, and I tried this with a friend once, 'Am I going to use it? Do I need it? Do I like it?' Questions like that, basically a practical shopper. Now, however, it's become more of a destiny thing, with a practical twist, Am I meant to have this? What would it mean if I were to wear this a lot? Basically, in reverse. If I say to myself, instantly, that I love something, I walk around, weigh in the pros and cons. If I think I still love it after that, it's a yes, and if not, no. I buy cheap but look expensive. Minus furs; fur reminds me of animal slaughter. I'd rather go denim.

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

When I'm going out, I've had to ask myself if I've worn the same outfit around the same people. Now, I don't really care, but I used to, as if I had to wear a different look every time. Whenever I'm dressing now, I try to have fun with it, I think I always have, and just wear what speaks to me, what I'm comfortable in, not so much what someone else will like me in, like can happen when you're dressing to impress. I think the best way to dress is to wear what you think is beautiful that day, and sometimes that happens to be what you've got in the closet, mixed and matched. I usually keep it pretty simple. If I'm out for the day, I'm comfortable with a scarf. I live in Canada, so I have to bundle up this time of year, no matter what I'm wearing.

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

I really would like to have one of those conversations, but I think style or fashion has been sort of one of the things that women within my friends and family group don't talk much about, at least not in 'transformative' ways, yet.

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

I try to be as organized as possible, but I think I also like a little clutter in my life. I've heard of famous writers from the past keeping messy desks or very neat and tidy ones. I think that my unified approach is a balancing act between the two. For instance, it's been said, that you can tell a lot about a person by their sock drawer...I really get annoyed when people clean my things...I try to see the good in it, and stay positive around them, but, seriously, I like to make things messy, so I can clean them up after, otherwise, it would be way too much work, right.

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

Okay, I have multiple owl-featured items, like jewelry and such. Owls remind of an older woman named Minnie, who was like a grandmother to my Mom and like a great-grandmother to me. She kept collections of two different birds in two different houses. The other one, besides owls, was even named 'Hummingbird Haven.' I also collect scarves, because an old friend once tried to teach me how to knit, and I eventually got good at it, so I'd knit and knit them every year. And buy some more. Scarves and owls, yep, that's basically it.

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

I got one this year, but it's a Christmas present for my Mom so I can't tell you what it is.

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

Basically all trends. Trends equals looking the same as someone else, and I like originality. I used to avoid trending series, even, like Harry Potter. I just like things that are more authentic, something that you've found because you connected to it, not because a million other people did.

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

Yeah, my mother was actually a model at one point of her life. She didn't do it for long, and it was before I was born, but I grew up hearing about how her perspective on body and style changed, and how she wanted women's style to not be based so much on looks. I have to respect that, and it's been a really big part of me.

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

Oh, when I was a little girl, I used to get into my mother's jewelry box all the time. It was funny because I thought I was sneaking, but I think she always knew, especially when I broke that string of pearls. You know, I was just that little girl who used to trot around in her mother's hat and heels. Then, I grew up as sort of what used to be called a tomboy on cousins' hand-me-downs, until I outgrew them. I didn't borrow other peoples' stuff after that. I'd give friends clothes, like a sparkly blue top I couldn't be caught dead in, but I think it comes down to wanting to wear my own bargain deals, what I like. Because I think clothes carry with them a story, sort of, if that doesn't sound completely crazy, and I just want that to be a fresh one.

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

Oh, haha, um, yeah, I think it went through a lot of transitions in my adolescence. I mean I still sort of wear the same things, but the big dramatic change was probably knowing what I didn't like wearing. Like, I'm just able to pick out things I will actually wear and not just for the moment, and it's a whole lot more reliable now, then it used to be. But, as for dramatically changing style, the way I see it, that's a constant variable, perhaps throughout life, at least if you want it to be. I mean, 6 years from now, maybe my style will have progressed, but then again, it's all connected, right, to what I knew I liked before, maybe.

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

I don't think outwardly, like in a blunt way, but inwardly there may be.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm a person who focuses more on spirit or soul. My body is a representation of that. People say I'm tall, but I've known others taller. I never gained weight as a child. I used to be called 'skinny-worm,' as a pet-name my grandfather gave me, but I'm not petite, big bones long arms, I'm not gangly but it can be tricky to find fitting sleeves. Also, I'm very glad that local retail has made my shoe size, 9 1/2 wide -10 a commonly acceptable one in shoe ware, unfortunately not yet so much in fashionable shoes, those are still an 8.

17. Please describe your mind.

My mind has been called creative by others and smart. I've been known somewhat as a bookworm, but really I'm a humble person who likes to learn and treat people with kindness. I think that reflects the thought processes of my mind. Let's just say, it's always been a complex one, that finds ways to edit down to the simple.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I have them. I like to hide my emotions, I think. I'm willing to show them around a very few amount of people. I can be a very expressive person, but often, I'm acting, I used to connect a lot to Shakespeare's saying that the whole world is a stage and we are merely actors, I think that that connection influenced how I decided to portray emotions. I'm really a calm person who likes to handle things in a sensible way, but I also like sharing and showing people good-hearted caring.

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

Hair's down. I'm in my pj's, or as I used to call them, 'jammies.' Did I mention it's raining outside, and it's early morning, almost done with this survey. I almost skipped emotions, but I'll try. My face is just my face. I'm wearing glasses.

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

I'm not really sure, actually, but I thought the questions were interesting, and it sort of showed me a little bit about myself. I like to write so it made me think anyway about things, and yeah, the stuff may be trivial but it's really cool anyway.

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?

I find uniforms are constraining because they don't allow people to dress the way they normally would. It makes the person in uniform become someone else, with something that has been picked out for them, like a factory bee.

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 had my sister put a necktie on me once. I think it's a shame the stigma that is put on people by how they dress. I mean I literally couldn't muster the courage to wear it to work. Family and co-workers wouldn't approve. Same often goes for men who wear what is considered 'girly' colors. I don't think we should label people by how they dress, but somehow we do. It's like there's this inner cog built into our brains that suddenly draws up conclusions about a person by what they are wearing. It's not that I like the look of ties, but I don't always like the look of necklaces either. It's really odd how one could bring compliments and the other would, if even for a sociological test, probably bring raised eyebrows.

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

Why did I make that face?

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

Audrey Hepburn

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

Yes, probably.

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

Brazil fashion

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?

I think I'd wear the same thing

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?

Dress to show your own sense of style, and don't worry about the rest. Each day is new.

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

I tried to, but I think I may be slightly allergic, to at least one ingredient. I like natural smells.

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

A little bit, but not too showy, and not the same color everyone else is wearing. Try what you think you'll like.

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

A concave jewel piece ring

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

My new shirt

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

It's like this radar goes off, and I start the hunt. If it doesn't click in, I can't enjoy it. It's like food. You don't eat unless your'e hungry, and you don't want to eat when you're in need of comfort, it will only be junk.

80. How does money fit into all this?

$$ I buy if the price is right.

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

Someone once called me a real Renaissance lady

It sort of changed how I looked at myself

I saw how my ideas could be shared with my time

I've sort of been a classical English literature person

I even liked Jane Eyre so much as a teenager, I vowed to never pierce my ears, that is, until I did for my eighteenth birthday, it was a gift

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?

There was this next-door neighbor, a young girl who was much older than me at the time. I remember she had long black hair and she always seemed to smile. Anyway, I wanted to be just like her, I have no idea why, but I did. So, when I found this pair of pants with black and white checkered patches, I was so excited because they matched hers. So I guess that in a way was me being conscious of what I wore, I wanted her approval, so I could just like that random girl, when I grew up. Those were actually my favorite pair of pants, I think, as silly as it is.

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

April 22
I was born a small town in Connecticut and lived there for my first year

What kind of work do you do?

Customer service/ retail (for now)

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

pretty good


Clara is a part-time working class girl. In her spare time, she studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and History. Her interests include Creative Writing, and she wishes ballroom dancing was still as popular as it was in Pride and Prejudice. She enjoys spending time with her dog and starting multiple novels at a time, just to look at different writing perspectives.

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