Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I've been eating healthy, fit into my clothes and my skin looks great.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes. I admire women who appear confident and pulled together. That's the first thing I notice; when someone "owns" a look and the clothes don't wear them. It's more about how a woman feels about herself- that confidence radiates from her.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I appreciate when it's evident that someone put a lot of thought into what they're wearing but it doesn't feel forced.
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've always loved clothes. There's this story that my mom likes to tell about how I grabbed a bunch of clothes off a rack in the shopping mall and screamed "Mine!" when I was two years old. I watched MTV's "House of Style" with Cindy Crawford a lot when I was in high school. That really informed my fashion choices back then. There was also a VH1 show with Tim Blanks. I can't remember the name of it but it was kind of a predecessor to his videos on Vogue's website.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
I only buy what fits that day. My weight fluctuates a lot, so sometimes I know that something would look better on me a month from now but I still won't buy it if I don't feel 100% confident in it.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Only wear what's flattering to your body.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I believe in serendipity and organic processes.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Everlane t-shirts. I love them and the basic V-neck style is only $15 and super soft cotton. They last a long time, fit well, and are stylish. I own at least 6-8 of them in various colors. Everlane manufactures most of their products in the USA, which is important to me.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
That's easy; my husband. I worked for Buffalo Exchange, a secondhand clothing store, for eight years, so I would come home with clothes for him all the time. My husband enjoys wearing expensive clothes, so It always made me feel good when his eyes lit up when I brought home something particularly nice.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I've passed on the 90s revival. I loved grunge in the 90s, but now if I tried to wear the "new" trend I would feel like I'm trying to compete with the teenagers and the 20-somethings. Let them have their moment.
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 constantly concerned about her weight. She's tiny- probably a size 4- and she never spends a lot of money on clothes. I also try not to spend full price on clothes but I developed the taste for better brands, so I shop secondhand (eBay, consignment stores, thrift) so I can have the best of both worlds. I used to beat myself up about not being small anymore, but over the past few years I've come to accept my size and body shape. That was a liberating moment for me.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Do I have friends that influence the way I dress? Yes. Of course. Anyone who says there's no one that influences the way they dress is a liar.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
My style has changed over the years but I tend to yo-yo back and forth from dressing conservative (for me, at least) to what I call "kooky art school teacher." The more tattoos I get, the more conservative I dress.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I don't wear t-shirts with logos, political statements, etc... but there is something subtly political about my fashion choices. I feel strongly about supporting local designers, buying products made in the USA and avoiding supporting businesses that rely on sweatshop labor. Most of my clothes and accessories are purchased secondhand, from local stores that I feel good about supporting, or are handmade.
16. Please describe your body.
Apple shaped. Round in the middle. Average. Short. Long arms, great legs.
18. Please describe your emotions.
I'm pretty even keeled, but I don't realize when I'm stressed out until I've reached my tipping point.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
pink J. Crew sweatshirt with a shawl collar and a kangaroo pocket, variegated striped cotton nightgown from Target. Hair piled into a messy bun. Barefoot. I haven't showered yet. It's 3:30 on Christmas Eve.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It's important for me to accurately represent myself.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
My good friends Charlé and Dorothy. We talk about clothes in a cultural way, not just what's "on trend."
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
It's funny because I never really think that I have a certain style, but when I look back on older pictures I most certainly do. Taste means there's a certain level of sophistication. Style is about continuity in one's appearance.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I feel like anything I don't wear is a giant waste of money, no matter how much it cost.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
I'd like to think I'm dressing to make myself look thinner than I really am but I know that's not always the case.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I wish! I'm not so great at decorating my house. I live in New Orleans, where we celebrate Mardi Gras, and I make me and my husband's costumes every year. I definitely have a style for my costumes; glamorous with a silly element.
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?
Fashion was never important to my mom; she would wear the same things for years and didn't care if they were outdated. I learned a lot from fashion magazines, going to thrift stores with my friends, and watching tv shows about fashion.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I feel sexy when my hair looks good. For me, that's when it's big and wavy, not dull and limp. I have fine, wavy hair so it usually looks best in the spring and summer when the humidity plumps it up.
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 means not in physical pain, wearing clothes that don't pinch or bind. Confident means your clothes make you feel good about how you look.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Really well made clothing.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Cheap materials, shoddy construction.
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 buy based on what I naturally gravitate towards, what looks best on my body and colors that I can easily integrate into my current wardrobe. I typically wear everything I own.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I think about what my activities will be for the day. Is it cold outside? Is it hot? Will I have to stand, sit, walk a lot? Who will I run into today? Will I drive or ride my bike? Is it raining? Will my shoes get muddy? Will this make me look fat?
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I try not to look like a jack ass and to wear clothes that flatter my body.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing up is pouring over all of the details of an outfit. It doesn't have to mean cocktail attire, but hair is done, makeup is done and the outfit is well accessorized.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
I love the idea of a personal uniform, but I never actually do it. I tend to wear a lot of skirts, so I'd probably go with a button down shirt and a knee length skirt.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
I'd say knee length or shorter fit and flare skirts are very me.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
This sounds bad but I don't really feel like I have a cultural background. I'm just a white girl that grew up in the suburbs. I was raised Catholic but I denounced my faith shortly after I graduated high school. My family dresses pretty conservative; I used to consider myself the black sheep, but I don't anymore. I have several large tattoos, (I wore outrageous clothes in high school)but I don't think I stand out very much anymore. It's more acceptable now to dye your hair purple and wear outlandish things.
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 went through a phase where I wore all black, when I was hanging out in the goth scene for a few years. I was in a dark place; my dad died when I was 21, so I embraced the goth thing. I also had a lot of friends that hung out at those bars, so it was about belonging to a community. I haven't dressed like that in a few years but I still appreciate the aesthetic and the music.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
If I need to feel professional I keep my tattoos covered, wear a full face of makeup and pull my hair back.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I've never had a dress code at work; I've either had to wear a uniform or worked with zero limitations on dress.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
Comforting, although there have been times when I found a uniform to be the most repressive thing ever. Now that I'm older (I'm 34) I'm more comfortable with myself. I don't feel like I don't have to have my personality on display as much as I did when I was in my 20s.
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?
Jeans and a t-shirt. It's a classic combination.
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?
Definitely not! I love being a woman, although men seem to have it so easy when it comes to getting dressed. As long as their clothes fit well and are of a certain quality they're deemed stylish. Women put so many expectations on getting dressed.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I've always thought there is something really seductive about a woman that doesn't show too much skin.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
The first thing I notice is if I've gained weight.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
I sometimes have a dream where I show up naked, or partially clothed, in a public place. I try to hide my nakedness but no one else seems to notice. Once I realize that no one else cares I feel like I can act like myself and stop trying to hide.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
I carry my weight in my stomach, so wearing body-con dresses and skirts are out.
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?
Nothing would be off limits.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I'm constantly trying to impress people, whether I realize it or not at the time.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Don't wear it if it doesn't fit!
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
A few years ago I used to wear perfume every day. It was important for me to smell good. I have a tendency to spray too close to my skin and I got a chemical burn on my chest from spritzing perfume on the same place. Ever since then, I don't wear perfume nearly as much.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I have to feel like my clothes are flattering. If they aren't that makes it tough to leave the house.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I wear a minimal amount of makeup: my everyday is just BB Cream, fill in my eyebrows, and lip gloss or lipstick- I prefer the latter.
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?
Sometimes people will suggest a piece of clothing to me ("Christy, this is so you!") that makes me cringe. When that happens, I question how I'm being perceived by others. I can't think of any particular item right now.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Interesting, somewhat kooky blouses, plain skirts with good details (buttons, piping, etc) and fitted t-shirts.
My jewelry is all very personal. My jewelry is neither cheap nor expensive and it's rarely- if ever- trendy.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
My birthstone is amethyst. I bought this silver pendant necklace on a trip to Flagstaff, Arizona that's a nice chunk of amethyst with a snake wrapped around it. I wear it when I need to feel protected.
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 have a beautiful 1960s baby powder blue bejeweled cocktail dress. I never feel like I have a fancy enough occasion to wear it. I keep it because I got it for a screaming deal and it's one of those items that it doesn't matter if I never wear it.
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?
Items that were of good quality that I wear all the time. Most of my sweaters are merino wool or cashmere. I live in New Orleans, where it's perpetually hot, so I don't wear them that often. I've owned most of my sweaters for several years.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I'd like to have more cohesion to my closet; I'd like to refine my style so that it's more defined.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
My first "investment" item was a pair of jeans from Express. I was 20 at the time and thought $30 (I had a coupon) was a lot to spend on a pair of jeans! This was before the whole designer jean trend of the late 2000s.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
I bought my first full-priced designer item- a Christian Dior pouchette- from the Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall in 2002. I thought I was the shit with that bag.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
The perfect pair of dress pants. I gave up a long time ago.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
I used to be a fanatic about organizing my clothes. I would categorize everything according to color, then put all the blouses together, skirts, dresses, etc... Now they're all piled into the closet. I do store my out-of- season clothes in large plastic tubs.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My engagement ring.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I do a lot of online browsing, not a lot of buying. I tend to buy clothes early in the season. I buy clothes when I notice gaps in my current wardrobe or when I become bored with my options.
I worked at a clothing store for 8 years so I was constantly buying clothing at the store I worked at. I've been out of that industry for going on two years now, so I've had to learn how to shop again.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I try to look presentable at all times. You'll never catch me at the grocery store in sweatpants or pajama bottoms or stained clothes. I always need to feel okay with the possibility of running into someone I know. I live in a small city, so that's a very real possibility.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Money is definitely a driving force behind my purchases. I stopped working a few months ago (I work one day a week) to focus on school, so I don't have as much money to spend on clothes as I used to.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
I rarely wear a full face of makeup but I always wear BB cream. My current favorite is Dr. Jart's Dis-a-pore.
I always wear my wedding rings. I've also had my nose pierced for the past 8 years.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Yes! I'm 5'1 yet never viewed myself as short until someone pointed out my height. It was either the summer after my sophomore or junior year of high school. A friend of mine, that was quite tall, told me "Wow, I always forget how short you are." Before that point I was unaware of my small stature.
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?
When I was younger my mom always took us shopping at cheap stores such as Sears, JC Penney, etc... I friend of mine encouraged me to start shopping at other stores, so I did. I remember I went to American Eagle Outfitters (this is so cringe inducing) and another friend of ours told me it looked like I just bought my outfit right off the mannequin. I realized that I needed to go back to wearing things because I wanted to, not because someone else told me something was cool.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
February 2, 1980. I was born in a suburb of New Orleans, LA. I live in New Orleans.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I'm a caucasian female from a middle class family. My dad's side of the family is Cajun. My maw maw's (grandmother) first language was Cajun-French. Sadly, I was not taught how to speak it.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm currently an English and film student at the University of New Orleans. I've worked as a freelance writer for the past five years and have worked as a retail manager and a waitress. I also dabbled as a fashion stylist/wardrobe consultant for about a year. I'm hoping to become a magazine editor when I graduate, or at least write in a more full-time capacity.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I've been married for ten years. We do not plan on having children.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I've been on a slow evolution over time with fashion. I always thought I might want to own my own store one day, then I worked in retail for 8 years and got tired of the consumerism, the way women and girls are fed these ideas that you have to just keep buying to feel satisfied. I still love fashion, but now I feel like I can enjoy it on my own terms now that I'm not doing it professionally.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
This was cathartic for me.
I live in New Orleans with my husband, two dogs, and a healthy amount of cats. I've kept a fashion blog, Slow Southern Style, for the past five years. It's changed over the years into less fashion, more travel and personal anecdotes.