Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When my confidence is high and I'm wearing something slightly outlandish.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes, I notice people who are 'trying' with their look. It's ok it it is kind of an awful outfit- that's always better than looking schlubby.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Bravery. Humor. Androgyny. A pinch of vanity.
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?
It didn't happen in a flash, but during college, it became more important to look interesting than to look pretty. It probably happened because I met my husband, and wasn't trying to be a damsel anymore, I could free up and be fabulous.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Shop at garage sales, where you can afford to take fashion risks. You never know what's going to stick. I have an orange motorcycle jacket that I never would have risked buying new, but for $2 I risked it, and love it. I buy everything but socks and underwear secondhand.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I always always always wear shoes that I could run in if I had to. I feel totally vulnerable in impractical shoes, but they look great on other people.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
My sister and I decided to define our dream look in three words: a time, a place, and a thing. She came up with 1970's Spanish Nautical. It is perfect for her. I'm 1920's French Circus. It helps focus your look!
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
No. Maybe I should.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have a lot of coats. I think it's as simple as I don't like being cold, and I've moved from California to Oregon, and it's colder here!
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Yes. I gave my mom a Tiffany necklace that shocked the shit out of her since I'm not a rich person. She loves it. (I got it on ebay, I don't even know if it's real, but don't tell her.)
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Half shirts. They are so gross. I've walked around in a bikini top and shorts, but NEVER a half shirt. I don't know why. It's like a guy at a nudist colony with a t shirt and no pants.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Hmm. I'm about five inches taller than she is and I look more like my dad. It made it easier to have my own style. Her top priority in clothes is comfort, and I like to dress up a bit more.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Cutting the necks out of tshirts and sweatshirts I stole from my friend Anna. Not a huge Flashdance neck, just cutting the ribbed area out. Oh, and cutting the sleeves of a t shirt a little shorter. These tricks feminize a regular old tshirt.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
When I was pregnant I wore fantastically tight clothes. It was more flattering than wearing tentlike clothes, and it's been the only time I felt comfortable in skintight stuff without feeling slutty.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
There's a healthy dose of bohemian flair that could be read as anti establishment, but no, not too much.
16. Please describe your body.
Tall and sturdy.
17. Please describe your mind.
Loyal and creative.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Stable, unless I'm about to have my period. Then I will cry over dog food commercials. It is so bizarre.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Light blue blousey sailor shirt and dark skinny jeans. Clonky orange oxford shoes. Smokey brown eye makeup. Orange blossom perfume.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
Totally important to your sense of self, and how people perceive you. We DO make immediate judgements about each other based on looks, even though we're not 'supposed to'.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My sister. My husband- he has great taste.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Um, I don't go topless at the beach?
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Style is way more important. Good taste is boring, and bad taste can be totally stylish. God, who is more fabulous, Barbara Bush or Divine? I rest my case.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Yes. I had to go to a wedding where we would be riding bikes. I had NOTHING appropriate and rushed at the last minute to buy a poorly made $150 dress from a pompous shop up the street. To my horror, the salesman SEARCHED MY PURSE after making the sale, and made a big point of counting the dresses left in the dressing room. Needless to say, I am not a thief, and this treatment left me with such a bad feeling, I never wore the dress. I looked like Lucy in the grape stomping episode in it anyway.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Lip gloss on the eyebrows makes them groomed and prominent without being overdone.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
My house is fantastic and done totally from garage sales. I'm a painter, so there is plenty of art in it.
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?
I have a favorite pair of shoes that make me feel good. Orange Dansko Jettes size 41. It's the second pair of the same shoe I've owned. They stopped making them, but just when my first pair fell apart after ten years, this second pair was waiting for me at Goodwill. It was kind of magical.
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?
Yes. I think I've honed it at garage sales, seriously. You have to comb through a lot of shit to get the good stuff, and you have to trust your taste and make quick decisions.
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 dad was a teacher who rallied for the right for men teachers to wear skirts when the women at his school were fighting for the right to wear pants. My mom is an artist who likes to wear those oversized t shirts with a fake bikini body printed on the front to yoga class. They've taught me to respect irreverence.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Red lipstick and perfume! Cliche for a reason, and lots of fun.
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 me they go hand in hand. I'm beginning to realize that they come to you when you don't give a damn what other people think of you.
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?
Put some effort into crafting your look, clean your closet, and take some risks. Tell the world who you are though your style. Don't dress boring unless you're a spy.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
confidence and kindness.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
self absorption. It really grosses me out.
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?
Yes. I don't have a lot of money, and hardly buy anything new, so I've got to get it right. Try it on and be honest about fit. Check the care instructions. Know what kinds of things you wear the daylights out of and which things are a whim. If you never wear hats, don't buy a hat, even if it IS cute.
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?
That's a tough one
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
First, I dress for the weather, then I try to add some flair, even if it's just orange lipstick. There are a lot of times I'm throwing on a giant bracelet or red scarf at the very end because I've goofed and put on a boring outfit.
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 frequently dress as a man!
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?
Some crazy graphic Esprit shirts I've had since 8th grade. They are kind of like art pieces.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
1972, born in Sonoma, California. I live in Portland, Oregon now.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Parents are teacher/artist. white
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married, one five year old daughter
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I work out of my basement. I love to cook.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
nice to re solidify my fashion theories, and glad to see style treated as an important topic
Studied art at UCSC, self employed painter, garage sale enthusiast.