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Rosa Lyster

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

This is hard to concede, but it's when i just got back from the hairdresser. my normal hair is unbelievably thick and pretty curly. I have never once had a hairdresser who didn't say "but your hair is so thick" with a sort of appalled fascination. I have Made Peace with this hair as much as a person can, and sometimes i am even pleased with it. But still,coming back from the hairdresser with floppy shiny princess hair makes me feel like the hottest person alive.

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

All women. I admire women who look clean and crisp and unwilted. I admire women who can wear a scarf. Women who understand how to wear a shoe and a sock without looking like a clown.

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

i admire all sorts of things. I think my best is when someone is clearly aware of what story they are telling with their clothes, like they have a coherent and whole look in their head, and they've successfully communicated it to other people. I admire rings a lot. Good sunglasses.

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 was 22, someone gave me a very beautiful pleated party dress from the fifties. It has little covered buttons and the platonic ideal of a floral print. Blue roses. This someone had bought it for herself but I think she was too tall for it, or her shoulders got squeezed maybe. It fits me perfectly. It is so clearly the silhouette and atmosphere that suits me the best that its almost hurtful. It has influenced nearly everything I've bought since then.

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

If you see a jumper you love you should always just buy it, even though you have a million jumpers.

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

It's always a bit cool to look like Penny Lane.

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

it was a series of conversations during the year i spent sharing a flat with the most well dressed person i will ever know. She has this sort of freakish eye for how to put things together, and for proportions and silhouettes. It did actually feel spooky how good she was at it, like she had an extra sense. I learned just about everything from that.

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

no. i wish i could explain this.

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

white cotton dresses
white silk tops
dresses that are fitted at the waist
yet more jumpers

these clothes make me happy in a serious way. Especially the jumpers. Every single time i buy one i feel just unadulterated joy, so i keep buying them.

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

a few things. most rewarding has been passing on clothes that i have stopped loving, but which friends are still besotted with.

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

harem pants
gladiator sandals
floral maxi dresses
imagining myself in these clothes makes me sad

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

My mum and i don't really have the same body. I think i got mine from my dad's mum. But i have inherited certain articles of faith from her, the main one being that we both think an embroidered thing is better than a not embroidered thing. My mum got married in a dark red floral embroidered dress from Afghanistan. I always thought that was just about as cool as it gets.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

Everything. I am a very avaricious and covetous soul.

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

I don't know if there was ever a dramatic change, but living in london when i was eighteen definitely set me on a track i havent ever got off.

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

i'm not sure. I know that i am totally bewildered at the idea that anyone would ever be able to categorise me as one kind of person or another. I think i dress with that in mind.

16. Please describe your body.

i think it is more athletic than i imagine. I am pretty small, but i never really look frail or waify. i have a very small waist and legs that are a bit too functional. i am besotted with my own boobs.

17. Please describe your mind.

the other day my girlfriend described my mind as being like the opening bit of this song:
I think she is right

18. Please describe your emotions.


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

my hair looks awful, like a small triangle on my head. I just washed it. I am wearing white jeans and a stripey tshirt. I am hungover, so i have a lot of moisturiser on.

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

In my heart i know that it is absolutely everything.

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

2 December 1984. I was born in Durban, South Africa, and now i live in Cape Town.

Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

i am a grownup with freckles

What kind of work do you do?

phd candidate

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

dating someone

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

i am in the process of forcing every woman i know to do this survey, because i find it so interesting

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

excited to go and look at my own clothes

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