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Daphne Phillips

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

Dressed up in fancy clothes, usually a "wiggle" dress with vintage flair, and jewels. (Jewels do not need to be real). Also, conversely, in jeans and cute sweater.

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

I love women who are really flamboyant with color and style.

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

I love it when someone dresses fearlessly. Either fully committing to a style (vintage, whatever) or just crazy patterns, outrageous style, great glasses. I rarely notice understated clothing although that's what I *think* I should wear.

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 had a great fashion time in high school in the late 80s/early 90s. I really found my groove. Great clothes (thrifted), great hair, great makeup. It was a Grand Conjunction of current fashion + my age + my circumstances (in school, no real job). Loved it. I promptly fell off the wagon when I spent a year overseas and then the grunge 90s hit and I was lost.

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

Nothing over $100.
It has to fit perfectly (I don't always follow this)
If you love it, get in several colors.
Shop for versatility, not by single item (in other words, it's better if you can wear it with lots of things)

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

Mostly neutrals with one flashy splash (scarf, blouse, jewelry)
Nothing too tight or uncomfortable
Black is always good.

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

I don't know that I've ever had one!

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

Restrained with flashes of color/surprise/sponteneaity/splurges. Mostly practical with bits of flair for fun. This seems to be a rule I follow in just about every arena.

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

Long sleeve Ts
Cardigan sweaters

Probably because I wear these things nearly every day and so i want some variety within the system.

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

Handmade jewelry that I made.

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

Babydoll dresses -- doesn't work for my figure.
Crop tops - just... no.
Neon -- doesn't look good on me.

Plenty of things. Usually for the reason that it is not practical or doesn't work for me in some way.

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

My mom and I have dissimilar bodies. She is more slender/lean and I am more curvy. We are approximately the same size but different proportions. We also have coloring that is just different enough that we can't always wear the same colors. I probably got my restrained sense of style from her. She always looks classy and classic. I like that, but I wish I could break out into something more fun.

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

My boss and I dress nearly alike after working together for almost 14 years. My friend sally and I used to trade clothes obsessively. I don't think I've stolen clothes although I've certainly wanted to!

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

When I lived in Finland for a year, somehow my idea of style went from "fun" to "practical" (mostly because I was so limited in what I could bring, and because I had no idea what to wear in unfamiliar surroundings). Then in college it was the grunge years and everyone looked terrible all the time. then I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and everything was so expensive -- I just couldn't figure it out. I feel like I am now, finally, at 40, ready to jump back into having fun with my clothes.

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

Not really, except that I am a feminist who loves to wear really dramatically sexy dress-up clothes (not trashy, but sexy)

16. Please describe your body.

Think: classic hourglass. Smallish shoulders, large round breasts, curvy arms, small waist, full hips/rear, long curvy legs. This is not always as great as you would think as modern clothes are not made for this shape.

17. Please describe your mind.

Smart, intelligent, decisive, discerning, creative, practical, thoughtful.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Generally pretty steady. I tend to be very empathic and sympathetic. Pretty happy on a regular basis with occasional dips into melancholy.

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

I'm home sick so black-and-gray pajamas (sort of sporty-style). glasses. no makeup. socks that don't match. hair is unwashed and messily pinned back.

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

I made the tiniest bit of effort with my hair since my husband is home. The pajamas are new and I love them. Otherwise, not very important -- i'm home sick!

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My boss, my husband. Sometimes one or two other friends but mostly that's it.

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

I have OK taste but I have lost my style. I am working on finding it again. By that I mean that i generally look fine, tasteful, things work well on me, etc. But real style? I have lost it.

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

Ralph Lauren linen cardigan from EBay. It was too big and I knew it, but I bought it anyway. I still wear it, it's a lovely sweater, but it's way too big. $158 down the drain, basically.

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

I wear thrifted clothes all the time. ALL THE TIME.

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

My house is fairly funky. Restrained but definitely lots of fun, unexpected art, a good mix of new and old things.

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 don't really know what I like for clothes, although it's more that I don't know how to translate what I like into a style that suits me. I have pretty good discernment elsewhere in life. Not sure why this alludes me -- probably because my figure is difficult to dress in a way that I'd like it to look.

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 mom taught me to shop for quality (at bargain prices), how to recognize fabrics, how to check labels. She taught me how to iron, how to take care of stains, etc. My dad taught me to get practical items that can take a lot of wear.

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

Great lipstick as often as possible -- always sexy.
I have great cleavage so I show that off when dressing up. I love a classic 50s-60s sexy look -- cat eye, great lipstick, curvy cocktail dress.

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

Truly well-made items in gorgeous colors or high-quality fabrics. I love things with a bit of unusual flair although I don't buy them. Probably because I am also somewhat cheap.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Garish colors on cheap fabric. It can work if the fabric is lovely. Cheap fabric wrecks clothes and colors.

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 -- I've gotten better at that. The downside is that I don't have enough "fun" stuff to rotate in with my tried-and-trues.

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

I look boring because I work in a fairly conservative office. If I had my druthers i'd wear really outrageous stuff and work in a used clothing store or something.

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?

Black tights, close-fitting black stretchy skirt, loose top, sweater, comfy flats. I can wear this anytime, anywhere and feel great. It's comfortable, looks good, is fairly stylish, suits me, and I know how to do it well.

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?

nope, never.

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

mid-60s mod/glam, new york city

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Nope. I look pretty good in person but the camera is not kind to my particular features.

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

Huge nose, shadowy eyes, small mouth, big chin.

54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?

I love Sophia Loren. I also like Auntie Mame.

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?

Closer-fitting tops, sheath dresses, maybe things that are sometimes a bit more boxy. I have very large breasts on a pretty small frame and it's difficult to find things that hang correctly.

59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?

Not really -- if you can do it, do it! (whatever "it" is)

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

I love perfume and wear it every day.

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

I don't even know. My own rules on this shift day to day.

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

Love it. I wear it nearly every day I am out in public (not a ton, just some, and almost always at least lipstick)

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

Lots of basics, a few fancy thrifted things for fun, lots of vintage jewelry (an area where I definitely know what I like!)

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

A big huge cocktail ring, probably blue topaz, that is arrestingly beautiful that I inherited when I was in highschool. So big and glamorous!

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?

A black lace dress that I have only worn once, at home. It is really sexy but it's a little short/sexy for public. Just not brave enough I guess. I love it, though.

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

My new green velvet wiggle dress. 15 years of searching and I finally have it.

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

Higher quality, more "fun" things in better fabrics. A stronger sense of style from the beginning.

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

A brooks brothers no-iron buttondown. I still wear it -- best shirts ever!

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

A terrific trench that I can wear anytime of year (preferably with a zip-out liner) that somehow looks stylish on its own (so I can just wear easy things underneath)

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

Pretty neat, except for the knit-wear items. They tend to be messy.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

a diamond ring from my grandmother. it is now my engagement ring center stone.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

online, and I try not to do it very often but I end up looking at least once or twice a week. Trying to buy much less these days -- would like to shop in person to try things on.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

clean + a little perfume.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I don't really approve of spendings lots of money on clothes -- you can find so much thrifted/consigned/on sale. However, I would like to invest a little more into certain pieces. This is hard for me. $250 for a shirt? A sweater? Can't do it.

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


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

9/15/74. Born in small-town Oregon and now I live in the outer San Francisco Bay Area (Livermore)

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

Plain old white. Some Hungarian, some German, some French, English, Scottish.

What kind of work do you do?

Corporate communications.

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

Married, no kids

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

I am a very creative AND practical person who struggles to find the balance between the two.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

like I need to pay more attention to my clothes!

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