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Sofie van Westrenen

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm walking outside, it's already dark and I imagine the lights reflect in my eyes. Especially around christmas it's a great feeling. Als o it's cold then, and I always feel rather attractive in a coat.

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

Either the really well-dressed, well groomed ones who still look like fun though. Or the young, beauty full ones who don't give a shit and look like they've just thrown something on after heaving lots of sex.

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

I like it when woman of a certain age (let's say 55 and above) still dress very tasteful and feminine. Not girly, I really don't like woman dressing al girls. I admire woman who are obviously not a model's size, but still radiate sexyness.

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

I can always shop. I can always go to a shop, any shop, and pick out something nice. I never think 'oh, I have enough dresses/skirts/shoes, etc.

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

I usually don't wear more than two colors. More just seems to much for me. On others I can appreciate it.

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

When I was younger, a teenager, my mom and sister told me that I could look good in anything, even wear a garbage bag. I still remember sometimes.

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

Optimistic. Basic thought: things will work out in the end. They always seem to.

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

Well, jeans, of course. I just know I'm not alone on this one. Striped tops, particularly navy/white stripes (only in the summer though). Blue knitted sweaters. Shoes. Well, duh.

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

I would not buy clothes for others, but I am rather good at picking out bags for others.

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

Skinny jeans. They're so not for me.

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

My mom is tiny, she's shorter and more petite than me. She has good taste, though it's very different from my own. She can do casual as well as dressed up.

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

I used to wear all black. Well, I had blue jeans. I think that was because people always thought I was younger and I wanted to be taken seriously. But, then I got older and now I don't mind so much that people think I'm younger. So now I don't have anything black anymore.

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


16. Please describe your body.

Not too tall, I'm not skinny but not really chubby too. You can tell that I've had kids by my stomach, but only when naked. I'm rather proud of that. I'll always be just a kilo or 3 to 5 overweight. Always have been.

17. Please describe your mind.

Sunny, overall.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I worry about what people think of me. Than I kind of tell myself off for worrying about that. I never panic. I usually see the sunny side of things, until I don't for a day or two.

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

I'm wearing a denim pencil skirt, a dark purple knitted top, blue tights. My heels are off since I'm home from work. My hair is down. Styling products I've put in this morning have faded. I'm wearing my glasses, again because I'm home.

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

I care about the way I look and about what others will think of me, and the way I look. Still I will go to the shop without make-up, or wearing old jeans. Only the local shop though.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My cousin. My sister. My mom. Colleagues.

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

I think i have taste. I can always find the god things in shops, easily get out of the rack what will look good on me. I don't have style win the sense that I have a style. Or ways to look different from everybody else. Taste to me means an eye for nice things. Style means an eye for mixing things together to look nice.

24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?

A dress, it was on sale, 50 % off but still 230 euro, or so. It's beautifully made, a black dress, very chique but I never have an occasion for it. It has a neckline that's too open and I can't find a good solution for that. That was the major one. I also have a lot of cheaper things that I hardly wear. In total they probably add op to a lot more than the black dress.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?


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

My home is rather stylish, or so everybody tells me. I always see room for improvement.

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?


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 do. I am. I don't know why, but I hardly ever doubt something.

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 grandma taught me to care for things better. Especially that you can repair and mend so much more than I thought.

30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?

Matching underwear. Fitted clothes. High heels.

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 to me usually means that there's no one around to see me, except my husband or kids. Confident is when I'm comfortable with others.

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?

Make some effort.

33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?

So much. The Dutch beach. My daughter's smile. My leather bag. Photo's by Ed van der Elsken. The city I live in.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Uggs. Crocs.

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?

Generally I am, or that is, I'm getting better at it. The best thing is to be brutally honest with yourself. If it doesn't look great on you to begin with, you'll never wear it a lot.

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

I lay my clothes out in the evening, or a least I think about what I'm wearing the next day. I have about ten minutes to get dressed, so there's not a lot of time for trying out.

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

The thing I would hate most is if people saw me, heard I have four kids and go: 'ah, yes I can see that'.

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

Dressing is the functional putting clothes on your body because you can't go out naked. Dressing up is caring what you look like.

40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?

It would be all jeans.

41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?

bright colors and patterns, animal prints, flower prints, all not me.

42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?

I'm Dutch. I take my kids to school every morning on a bike. So I have to be able to cycle in my clothes. But I don't have to be very comfortable doing it, because it's not such a long ride.

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?

Not really. I used to wear all black. That has changed. And I rarely do not wear high heels now.

44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?

To feel professional. I have to look like I made an effort. So I'll wear something nice, well fitting, clean. I'll wear high heels, I'll take care of my nails and take extra care of my hair.

45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?

There are no expectations at my workplace. It's an office, everybody looks more or less presentable, there's a lot of room for your own interpretation of presentable.

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?


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 dress. I like it that you're done with one item.

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?


51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?

London in the sixties.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

If I know I'm being photographed, I am. It's the unexpected photo's that always make me jump with horror.

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

I like that smile.

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

I have had dreams where I can't find my clothes. Or I show up somewhere in something so totally inappropriate.

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

The supermodel just-out-of-bed-look.

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?

Same things I wear now, probably, only a size smaller. Or I might try skinny jeans.

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?


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

I wear Coco Mademoiselle or Flowerbomb by Victor&Rolf. There aren't many scents I like.

61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?

They have to be washed. I don't iron.

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

I wear make-up everyday, but it's always the same makeup, I don't vary it. I wear the same color eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara. I take really good care of my eyebrows. I have a bold, red lipstick and a more modest color.
The only thing I vary with a lot, is nail polish.

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?


64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?

I hardly have jewelry, I don't like it a lot. I have a lot of clothes and shoes. I guess about 4 pairs of jeans, 4 pairs of trouwers, I have about 30 dresses, 10 skirts, 20 sweaters, 10 shirts, so many T-shirts, and 40 pairs of shoes. And that's a really conservative estimate. If I write it out like that, it seems like so much.

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

I have a bright red, A-line skirt that I like a lot.

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 would say it's my wedding dress. Even though it's not a real wedding dress, more a dress I got married in. It's a great dress, knee length, made of a tan-coloured leather with pleated, puffer sleeves. I still like it so much, but if I wear it for a party, I still feel overdressed.

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?

Usually the most valuable things were the items that I accidentally found in shops. When I'm not looking for a specific item, I find the best things. I don't know why this is.

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?

A blue tunic-style dress. I tore it accidentally with a belt. I looked so good in it. It was the first item I bought after having three kids that I looked slim in again.

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

My old jeans. Everything can be replaced, except for jeans that have become so comfortable with wearing over the years.

70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?

I would really like to do this, but don't know what I would do different. Probably I'd start out with all kind of ' rules' or principles, but I would also soon break them, I think.

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

I've never bought an investment item.

73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?

The perfect jeans.

74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?

I don't have a lot of closet space, I have the things I wear the most on hangers, the rest is folded. I change my wardrobe when the season changes. I like to hang dresses with dresses, cardigans with cardigans, etc.

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?

It was a navy and white striped T-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves. It turned out to be so good with skirts, jeans, with a jacket over it etc. I wore it a lot last summer. It was a cheap thing, and that what makes it even more fun.

80. How does money fit into all this?


81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?

My wedding ring. Mascara.

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


What kind of work do you do?

Editor at a newspaper.

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

Married. We have four kids.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I would like to fill out more questions! I would've liked to have a 'save' option and come back later, after I've given some questions more thought.

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