Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I am relaxed and happy.
This is internal and is associated with having the time and presence of mind to dress thoughtfully and comfortably. This is more likely when I am on holiday and so is associated with being in warmer climates.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes, all the time, as does the man in my life.
Sometimes we will point someone out to one another and enjoy how someone is presenting themselves
It can be because they are gorgeous, or interestingly dressed or because they have an aura of good attitude and happiness. Or they are - as we said today about a woman oddly but assiduously dressed - "C'est un personage" Sometimes it's mean, "how can they dress like that?" as my eyes go out on stalks…"what were they thinking?"….sometimes it's details - colour, jewelry, shoes, hair whatever
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Good colour sense
Daring to put quirky things together
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?
When I realized that I really should not wear certain colours and that one needs to look attentively to see if a colour works.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I recognise that I cannot "have" every amazing "look" - I am slight, straight, skinny and pale - stick to what suits me
I'll never be a curvy nor a tropical goddess and I do not suit things that are designed for women made or coloured differently to me.
So in the same vein I think everyone has something they suit and I feel they should work from there, don't torture your hair to be straight/wavy if it is not! Don't fry yourself brown or bleach yourself white! Enhance what you have…that's the best way.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have an excess of grey and black jumpers and cardigans. They are failsafe at work when I am feeling dreary in a wet cold winter. But they are a bit dull.
I have a lot of "foundation wear" - cotton vests with and without sleeves of differing lengths as I hate feeling cold.
Then there are comfortable flat back shoes and boots.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Often, I have a friend who takes my stuff when I've never got on with it or when I am tired of it. She does likewise. Amongst these things are all time favourites for the other.
Last year I bought my fussy (about clothes, he always buys his own with great precision about what he likes and dislikes) husband two pairs of Miyake trousers at a sale and he fell in love with them and wore them a lot. That made me very happy
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I hate an excess of bling and tartiness especially if uncomfortable and in nasty synthetics and tacky colors. I guess it can suit a few people but I hate it.
Likewise I hate the "brown tweed everything" of my mothers generation.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
I have my mother's cheekbones, that is a gift. There is also something about the legs that is similar but I am fitter than she was at my age so it's not so bad. I have a lot of personality traits in common, some of which are good and I am frightened by the bad bits. She had poor taste in clothes and I hope I do better. As a small child I once persuaded her to try on a much nicer brown tweed ensemble than her habitual brown tweeds and then refused to leave the shop until she had bought it for herself (it was a little pricey in a nice boutique on Piccadily) - it was her favourite outfit thereafter.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
My wardrobe contains items from all the above and I go to thrift shops and second hand. My mother used to run a church thrift shop so I started this very young.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Our daily lives are political.
I practice as a doctor. Hence I feel some need to dress to fulfill that role without being in a uniform. I work in a hospital in a poor part of town, so I think it is inappropriate to appear too luxurious and invested in myself, I do not wear expensive jewelry etc but nor would I dress to be sexy at work that would just be wrong.
Likewise I dress to be comfortable and active - my shoes are always flat enough to run in, my skirts wide enough to stride in, my shirts mobile enough to stretch and reach for things. That does not mean lacking in style - but practicality - including accounting for climate are first, then the style after.
16. Please describe your body.
I am 56kg and 5'6''. I have long limbs, wide shoulders, pale skin, long thick reddish hair. I am fortunate to be pretty enough not to have to dwell on it.
I like my fairly muscular skinny bendiness. I like my waist best of all and the suprasternal notch. I also like that my breasts are small and do not get in the way but perfect - in my opinion and my partner's he called them "surprise breasts" as he'd accepted in his head before ever seeing them that I was flat and was happy discover that I'm not I'm just little.
The commonest thing people comment upon is my gait, I walk with a very straight back and apparently I float, I don't notice doing this, I just walk.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Inhibited by Englishness.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
My hair is drying - I wash it in the shower and then just let it dry, life is too short for wasting time on excess which includes mucking around with hair and drying dishes.
I have not put any makeup on as I have a nasty cold and keep coughing until I cry so there doesn't seem much point today. I generally have a touch of eye makeup only
I have on a long thick black wool skirt, cotton tights and a coral cashmere jumper (from a thrift shop - much of my wardrobe is second hand), my lovely elastic silk bra matches the jumper but no one will know that.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My husband is someone who likes clothes and holds strong opinions about them, he has all sorts of rules of thumb that he'd put on this questionnaire - such as "look for colour, fabric and then cut you need all 3 to be correct" I recall in a shop in the south of France when he tried to persuade me to buy some red patent lace ups whilst I demurred (why did I not buy them? a mistake) - the shop assistant listened for a while before announcing that she had never in her working life heard this version of the shoeshop conversation.
And his mother - a good seamstress
My friends especially my neighbour who makes clothes, and supervised my first home made items.
A lot of people including sales assistants, and random strangers when they are commenting on my clothes or vice versa.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I was at boarding school
I hate looking like I am in a uniform but it seems to emerge from me without me realizing, my husband does correct me in this.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
Everyone has tastes, whether they are innate, tutored or bad. I have some taste and style, not that great ability I see in some people who can really pull colours and outfits together.
But not bad either.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Two pairs of Robert Clergie sandals - they have never been comfortable and I have never worn them.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I like to think I am kind, courteous and have manners. I think this is a style choice. I also swear a lot so it's not about old fashioned courtesy it is about respect for others and not treating them as if they were merely objects.
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?
Yes, obviously interviews or public speaking may make one anxious and dressing well helps.
For social occasions when one might be under scrutiny I also like to be sure of myself in my outfit.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
Clean hair does feel sexier than filthy hair. Red lipstick can do the trick. But it is more about state of mind.
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?
Clothing has a relation to climate and social mores. These need to be accounted for first and then add the style.
For example you cannot comfortably wear a miniskirt when it is terribly cold, nor in Cairo. It may be perfect as a miniskirt and in the south of France. Espadrilles are useless in England as you cannot be sure that it will not rain even on a summer's day whereupon they are sludgy and smelly and never ever recover. And so on..
Then look at yourself inside and out, what do you embody and how do the colors and shapes you choose enhance and demonstrate that?
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Thick layers of foundation are my pet hate.
Artificial stuff done to skin or hair (unless it is almost in jest like green hair) - lifts, perms, hair straightening I find easily off putting.
Wearing shoes in which you cannot walk
Choosing colours that detract from your natural colouring or clothes that emphasize the "wrong" thing for you.
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 OK but I need to think hard before buying things that can be tricky to wear (Japanese or funky design can be too much work in the morning so do not get worn)
With these things I sometimes take only them on holiday forcing myself to wear them everyday until I get the hang of them.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
If I am dressing up I will take a bit more care and will be more prepared to wear something that would be uncomfortable if worn all day i.e. higher shoes, tighter skirts or heavy jewelry. It's the occasion to wear something I may not wear for these reasons at other times.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Long well cut black skirt with room to stride
A well cut T shirt and an unstructured jacket or jumper which was orange, green, or purple
Flat black shoes and knee socks (tops hidden by skirt length)
Then for summer a 50's cotton shirt-waister and Arche sandals
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I hated my school uniform. This was more to do with it being poorly cut and made of polyester than what it stood for.
I also stopped wearing a white coat just as soon as I would get away with it - after 4 years of being a junior doctor.
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 nice cotton dress and flip-flops.
A dress which you just put on and it almost wears you, nothing more to do. Fabulous.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
Yes, but then my husband is a fine photographer
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Often fairly pleased but not always!
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Surely but I cannot recall a specific one now
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 am comfortable with my body
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I love good perfume and hate nasty synthetic perfumes. My husband and I wear nearly the same perfumes which buy together, Serge Luytens is a favorite and Sisley. I spent ages finding a good deodorant that had no smell so it would not clash with my perfumes.
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?
A wedding dress.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Clothing - I keep clothes a longtime many of them are decades old as I stay the same weight, am now nearly 50 and look after the quality (Often second hand) clothes I have bought over the years
trousers - summer linen or cotton - 8 pairs
- jeans like 3
- a walking pair
- wool 5 pairs
Skirts - wool winter about half a dozen
- summer weight wool 4
Dresses - summer cotton 10
Shoes 20 pairs
Coats and jackets of differing roles 12
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
Probably my pleated long Yamamoto skirt I wear it a lot, and have done so for 10 years now
It cost £265 in a sale in Edinburgh. I sometimes calculate cost per wear for clothes when I feel a bit guilty about money…so this works out as a very cost effective skirt
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 Daniel Hechter brown pencil skirt that my mother bought for me in Harrods sale when I was 15y. It was to conform with sixth form dress code and it did. But my bottom looked divine in it. I got rid of it as I decided I did not like the colour, a regret.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Fairly well ordered but not manically so.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
I love it when my husband finds me things, particularly in second hand or thrift shops - he has a good eye and it's very touching that he will do that.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
Often on holiday I will make a list of second hand clothes shops and use it as a way to explore a town. I also go to sales and I make a few things myself.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I like to be a bit different
80. How does money fit into all this?
I do not spend a fortune on clothes, I will put money down for good shoes though. I also get things repaired and altered if needed - so I invest effort
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 Alessi watch
An Osprey handbag
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 vividly recall in kindergarten, so I was aged maybe 4 years. It was cold and we had pink and white gingham overall dresses that went over our home clothes, it was a very fine gingham and the neck and cuffs were elasticated. I was wearing my father's kilt (unisex in Scots families and obviously I mean the one he wore when he was little) which was a lovely dark plaid with very deep pleats and the overall could only just be pulled over it and when I sat on the school chair I enjoyed the feeling of a thick wad of fabric cushioning and insulating me.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
20 October 1965
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
middle class educated francophonic British celt
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
longstanding partner (>20 years), no kids or animals