Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I feel comfortable and confident. When I know everything I'm wearing is coherent with who I am and the way I want to present myself.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes. I notice all sorts of women with different styles, and especially like those women whose style is unique and object to thought and care. The way someone creates an outfit, chooses colors and textures, and accessorizes, shows something about who that person is.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
The way some women just own what they are wearing, in the sense they make it idiosyncratic and unique. And, always, the way what they are wearing shows their self confidence and comfort in being themselves.
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?
Yes. Two moments, actually.
The first one, in my teens, when I discovered I could and should be bold in what I wore. And so of course that made way to a lot of choices that were very questionable in taste - but were always fun and special and somehow experimental. As, of course, these are the years of finding oneself and figuring out who we are. This was when I found out that clothing should be about self-expression.
The second one, in my late 20s, when i could finally put to rest the idea of experimenting with absolutely everything in clothing and pinpoint exactly what things, styles and materials made me comfortable and suited my confidence. This came with a new awareness - following the Rana Plaza tragedy - of the impact of the fast fashion industry, in terms of ecology and of human rights. And so I became a much more exigent shopper - and a less frequent one too, to which became necessary that I knew exactly what I needed and what made me feel good.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
- Never buy shoes you can't dance, run and live in;
- No plastic fibers in your clothing!
- Stick to your colors in the basics and make sure each item can be worn with several others in your wardrobe;
- Quality, always. Own less, but better.
- Avoid online shops like the plague. always try things on.
- Never skip the men section.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
- Comfort, always. But never sloppy!
- Less accessories;
- Create a palette (or two, a winter one and a summer one) and stick to it, so that everything can be worn multiple ways;
- Details are crucial - poorly made clothes never look good;
- No holes, pills, tears, etc. Take care of your things and mend it, of if it's not possible, don't use it;
- Visible logos or monograms are tacky. As are nonsense phrases or words in t-shirts.
- Love everything you own, so that you only have your favorites.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
Actually, the ones I had with my grandmother. She was an elegant lady. And now as a grown-up I realized she influenced me in many more ways than I thought. In the search for quality materials, in the way she mixed colors and avoided excess in everything - patterns, colors, accessories, etc.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Curiosity, honesty, confidence, perseverance and courage all together make strength.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
The basics, naturally: 3/4 or long sleeved cotton tops in either black, grey, khaki or white. And breton stripes.
Frankly, because they are practical and breathable and easy to layer under sweaters, vests, cardigans. etc.
And my underwear tends to be the same: black cotton panties and black cotton socks, for the same reasons. I do allow myself to go crazy with colors with the bras though.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
A pen to my father, which he wears proudly in his pocket, so I know he really liked it.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Anything that involves florals, logos, short and clingy pieces of clothing or heels.
Oh and the Birkenstocks, and the socks with sandals thing. No explanation needed for that.
And hideous 90s everything. I've been there, and it was not pretty and i won't do it again.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
I wouldn't say my mother had a huge influence in my style. She's a brunette and I'm a redhead, so the things she wore rarely looked good on me and vice-versa.
My grandmother did though.She was very careful in putting together elegantly her outfits and choosing her clothes and accessories. Plus she always wore things that she loved and that she thought to be special.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Borrowed, especially in my teens when neither me nor my friends really had any money, so we would lend each other clothing items and accessories.
Also I remember wearing my fathers too big army boots for ages.
As for my family, I'm a proud owner of some very special items that came from the closets of family members, like a stunning dark green leather trench coat from my grandmother, or a black leather clutch from the 60s from my other grandmother, and a hippie black and silver tunic from my father.
I also was given many band t-shirts from either friends of boyfriends.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I experimented a lot. In my early 20s I had this vintage thing going on, where I dressed with a 30s-40s vibe. And then I started going to a lot more heavy metal concerts and going out, so I had this spandex leggings + fringed leather jackets + spiked or bullet belts and biker boots thing going on.
My next phase, the current, my early 30s, are much (much!) less excessive. I reducing the amount of items in my wardrobe and only wearing those that I really loved. And having a wardrobe that was fit for me in all aspects of my life as a whole, instead of having a schizophrenic 'going out' wardrobe and a 'working' wardrobe, where I transformed in almost two different people.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Of course. After the Rana Plaza I became aware of what meant to feed the fast-fashion industry, and decided I wanted no more of it.
16. Please describe your body.
I'm 1,65m tall, with long red hair (straight), fair skin with some freckles, big hazel eyes, broad shoulders from practicing swimming when I was a teen, a C cup bust, and athletic legs.
17. Please describe your mind.
Analytical, with strong empathy traits. I am strongly driven by my ethical principles and an ever curious person.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Always under my scrutiny, I give myself the space to doubt my emotions, not allowing the negative ones to put me down of weaken me, but knowing that emotions are an important part in finding solutions. This makes me a strong person, but also flexible. I am utterly incapable of lying or faking anything, and of course this also means too many times I'm blunt. I am fully committed to my projects, my principles and to the people I love.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
On my face, no make up today. Because I'm home, I'm wearing my spectacles - they are thick rimmed and a pale brown that I think suits me. I have six silver loop earrings which basically I wear all the time, plus a silver ring in my right hand, a gift from my partner. My hair is in a bun, with a single wooden stick keeping it tight. I'm wearing burgundy leather ankle boots, skinny jeans, a striped cotton black and beige breton top, and a man's vest in dark grey wool over it.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
The boots are a gift from my mother, from a happy trip we did to Barcelona; the vest was an awesome buy from a second hand shop, and it means that quality doesn't have to be expensive (nor in the women's section). The ring is, of course, a symbol of a loving relationship.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
With my partner. And sometimes with my father.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Not much, I've found an equilibrium and always feel put together now. But of course, professionally my realm is the academic one, so There's some freedom that other jobs don't have.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I do now, I really do. I came a long way, made all the mistakes and learned with every single one of them.
I think my taste revolves around the quality and the details of things, and also their design. I became an extremely picky shopper - which also means a satisfied one.
As for style, I know what colors, shapes and materials I like and what suits me. And I also let myself be intrigued with some interesting design that I think would work on me. Ultimately, I think style is a visual narrative of who we are. And, as it is the narrative with which we present ourselves, it must be succinct.
I think both style and taste are important.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
The first one, with my first paycheck: a pair of tortoise-effect sunglasses with golden detais, which I ended giving to my mother because they had nothing to do with me.
The other one was a suede jacket with Tye-dye effect in black and red and fringes all over. So practical and versatile of course I only wore it once.
So these were two mistakes.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Always check the men section in vintage shops, for cheap sweaters in good quality materials, such as wool or even cashmere.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
In my writing.
In the way I deal with people, hopefully.
Also at home, in choosing objects or furniture, for example.
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?
Every single time I had to speak to an audience, or be evaluated for my work.
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?
Absolutely. I do know what I like and what suits me in fashion. And I do know what I want in terms of my professional life and in terms of relationships. This is the result of a fair amount of mistakes - from which I've managed to learn and reinvent myself - and also from the certainty that I act in freedom, so I can experiment in whatever way I find to be comfortable to me.
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?
I learned from my father the importance of having things you like to wear, not just accumulate pointlessly. My mother taught me the importance of neatness, in caring for your clothes and removing stains, or pills, and not wearing what is not in good condition.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
To feel sexy, I add to my subtle make-up a good vibrant lipstick, plus a perfume.
As for clothing, I plan it carefully for the occasion, with attention to detail, and the result is me put together and confident, hence the sexiness. I aim for subtle and elegant and at the same time unique, I'm never one to wear heels or short things - I'd feel uncomfortable and with my movements less free, so that would be the opposite of sexy.
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?
Well I've been writing about that in many of these answers. It's crucial, the key to style, in my opinion.
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?
It's about being able to stand out from a crowd without having to scream for attention.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
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?
Now I am, but there as a learning curve associated to that perception.
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?
No, it's an abstract impression, not from anyone in particular. I might appear as a bit distant, but the way I act would compensate that impression.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I think of one piece I'd really like to wear, and go from there.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Comfort, elegance and versatility, meaning I can wear that all day and do everything I have to do.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
The specificity of the intention of going to a certain place of situation, for which one dresses up.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Jeans, leather boots, white button-down shirt, leather jacket, black sunglasses.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Clothing with an androgynous feel and of good quality is 'me'.
High heels and bodycon dresses is not 'me'.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
Apart from the weather an activities one might do by living in Portugal, I think my interest in the arts and music and the academic professional background are the most relevant.
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?
Yes, and I already did in a previous question.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
I now dress in a way that I feel professional every time, apart from when I'm wearing my fitness outfits.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
It's the academic realm. Well, I do refuse to wear blazers with elbow-patches, if that's rebelling.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
Yes, for when I go for my walks. I wear black jogging trousers, black new-balance trainers, black shirts and black jacket. All this black is not that intentional, it's just that it has always been my #1 neutral, and this way everything goes together - plus I don't like fluorescent colors and pinks, like most athletic wear seems to be, so I stick to black for practical reasons. Plus, it looks good.
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
Well, I did so much of that in my teens, with the heavy-metal and punk outfits, I really don't feel the need to rebel in my outfits anymore. I just want them to feel like honest depictions of 'me'.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
A uniform, as a way of dressing that is streamlined, is a comforting thing. Gives more space to think about other things, knowing one is put together. A uniform as a mandatory outfit for a specific job... I never had to wear one, I wouldn't know.
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?
Striped top in black and white, slightly loose, skinny jeans and black boots. A red lipstick and my hair down. It's just simple and effortless.
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?
Not really. I can wear man's clothes. I do, actually. I like sweaters and vests designed for men, I like the quality and the lose fit.
I never felt I'd have to be someone else to dress what I liked.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
Today, because it's versatile. We have all the choices today.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
That I'm not photogenic.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
I always loved characters such as the dadaist Elsa von Freitag-Lohrighoven, or Tziporah Salamon for the absolute freedom inherent to their wardrobe choices.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Not that I can remember.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Anything involving heels.
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 like my body, with all its imperfection. I live in it. It's my home, how could I not be comfortable in my own home?
The things I wear will have to adapt to my body, not the other way round.
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?
- quality over quantity, always.
- never buy online, always try things on.
- make sure you know who you are and what image you want to pass before chosing
- never go out uncomfortable and knowing your movements are less free because of what you are wearing.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Yes. All the time. I tend to stick to one in particular, a signature scent.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
To feel fresh, clean, hair combed, face and body hydrated, a bit of make up if needed, all the clothes in good condition.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
It enhances the features of my face. And it might cover some undesirable things, like dark circles, for example. Make up is something that follow my mood, in whether I chose to wear it one particular day or not.
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?
Yes. I feel there is a lot more interest in companies to sell things that are not easily mixed with other things, like pieces with bold patterns or designs, and a lack of quality basics.
Also, I feel that outfits that constrain a woman's movements, by being too short, to high-heeled, too much cleavage, are everywhere and that doesn't interest me at all. As anything 'cute' that infantilizes women.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Several basic t-shirts and long-sleeved or 3/4 sleeved shirts in cotton; button-down oversized shirts; wool sweaters and wool vests, typically menswear; skinny jeans; black biker boots, gray doc martens; ankle boots; patent leather flat shoes with laces; avarcas for summer, a black pair and a white pair; blue linen loose pants; a black smoking blazer; a black wool coat; a fringed leather jacket; a black leather trench and a green leather trench; 3 60s cocktail dresses in brocade fabric with metalics; leather shorts; two skirts: black and golden and patent white; a black and golden kimono cardigan; a brown leather bag I wear all the time; two wristlets, etc.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
The watsh that belonged to my grandmother;
The green leather trench that belonged to my other grandmother;
the black and silver tunic that belonged to my father;
The brown leather bag that I got to myself and wear all the time;
My black Sendra boots.
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?
My 60s cocktail dresses because I never go to cocktails.
But as soon as I go to one, there they are. I don't get rid of them because they are really unique vintage finds.
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?
The leather Sendra boots;
The leather bag.
The leather jackets.
They last forever.
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 pair of Doc Martens I had in a particular tone of gray that became a beautifal greenish tone with wear.
I never found the same boots again.
I wore them until they had huge holes beyond repair.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My grandmother's watch.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Not buying that fringed red and black leather jacket.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
My brown leather bag. It wasn't that expensive, but in great quality, so I wear it all the time, for the last 10 years or so.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
That same bag, actually. It's a testimony to the importance of owning less things, but of good quality.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
A perfecto leather jacket from Schott. I know I'd wear it forever. But I can't afford it right now.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Absolutely. I want my things to wear. And it's important that I can see immediately what I own in my closet.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
Yes. I'm extraordinarily picky in what concerns my purse, where I keep the documents. money, etc. My partner once gave me a perfect one - which I wear everyday.
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?
Yes. My first black and white striped cotton top. That type of top later became a staple in my wardrobe.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
When I know exactly what I need, or when something I own needs to be replaced.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
Of course, I like a particular perfume.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
It has to do with honesty, confidence, strenght and coherence.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Now I buy less, I own less, but everything is good quality and goes together. So I don't shop that oftes, and when I do I know exactly what I want.
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 silver loop earrings and my silver ring.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
Yes. When my partner once said that something I owned and never wore had nothing to do with me. And it didn't that's why I didn't wore it. So that got me thinking... why did I bought that in the first place?
And realized I did it because I liked that item as an object. It was a pretty object, not one I wore in myself. So of course I stopped doing that silly thing and got much more closet space for things that actually go well with me.
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?
Yes. When I was 13 and bought an orange faus-fur trimmed cardigan. It was an absurd thing, but an important piece I wore all the time, the first time I went out of my comfort zone and decided I would embrace the different.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
14th December 1982.
In Lisbon, Portugal. I live in Portugal.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
Middle class with higher education.
What kind of work do you do?
I'm a Sociologist.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I have a partner; we don't have kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
Like a master procrastinator because I should have been doing something else.