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Monica Fox

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm wearing something form-fitting and all black.

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

Yes. My eyes are grabbed by graphic print. Sometimes when I glance at the print it looks different than it does up close. I like those kinds of unexpected changes.

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

I admire women's' lipstick, and how some people wear it even when they aren't very dressed up otherwise. It doesn't feel like something I can wear unless I am presenting myself as dressed as possible. But I can tell that, for some women, it's just another accessory. I like that.

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 am a young professional and one of my coworkers has a very different style than I do. She always looks beautiful. Until thinking about her style, I never really understood that people use clothing to feel fancy. I thought the intent was always to reflect one's personality as much as possible, but now I understand how very creative and experimental fashion can be for some people, and how it can be a means to accessing other personalities.

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

Buy second-hand clothes whenever possible.

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

A conversation with my best friend, who explained that people treat her differently when she dresses in a masculine way.

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

I have a hard time balancing these different facets of my life. It does not feel unified.

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

No. When I was young my mom used to insist I get multiples of everything. Things feel more special to me now that I only have one of everything. I can form a connection with items in a way I didn't before.

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

Crop tops. That's not flattering.

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

My mom has always asked me to take her shopping, and I have always wanted to, but we never did it. I'm not sure if much of her style has been passed down to me, but she certainly cares about her own style, and fashion is something I'd like to share with her as adults.

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

I don't like wearing anything too low-cut. Maybe that's not political, but it seems like something that could become political.

16. Please describe your body.

My body is tall, white, and in-flux.

17. Please describe your mind.

My mind is cavernous.

18. Please describe your emotions.

My emotions are deep and inspiring.

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

I am wearing green tights, mismatched blue and purple socks, a black sweater dress, a green sweater over the dress, and my hair is curly from the rain. My face looks tired. My glasses are jammed into the crown of my hair so I can see the computer screen.

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

My clothes make me feel a certain way.
I feel frumpy right now, so I probably act frumpy too.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My friends, my mom. I talk with people about clothes more if we are close.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

My job requires me to dress a certain way at the office and at work events. I think the answer to this question is as infinite as the affect of institutions is on our daily life. The institution of marriage makes me dress for my future husband. Just kidding, I'm gay.

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

I have taste and style. Sometimes they don't align. I think taste is more important, because it is less limited to what I would wear. I can admire somebody else's style as part of my taste without ever wearing what they are wearing. Taste is better because it's bigger and more inclusive.

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

But I'm not getting away with anything.

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

I have design style. I give beautiful gifts. I'm a talented artist and writer sometimes.

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?

I am frequently scared. I don't often dress to calm myself, but I do notice when my clothing choice exacerbates fear. It's usually when I'm wearing something tight.

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?

Yes, but I'm not sure I want to know what I like. I also want to be surprised. I like that, too.
I am not great at discernment in other areas, or, alternately: I do things I "should" more often than I should.
Perhaps discernment is linked to self-concept. I think I am a certain type of person and I therefore think my actions should match. But in reality, I am infinite.

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

I wear lipstick. I straighten my hair to make it feel longer. I like the feel of tights on my legs.

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?

For me, comfort refers to a specific feeling of bodily awareness: the way things feel on my skin, the way things make my body feel constricted or left free. It also refers to what is left covered and uncovered.

Confidence and outward appearance have a relationship in which one can affect the other positively or negatively. In the end, though, confidence lives in one's consciousness.

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?

Pay attention to the silhouette. Employ sharp angles.

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

Flowers, the woods, a desert, really good writing.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

Mud, smog, violence, prejudice.

37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?

I am considering the day's requirements with regard to movement and the people I will have to impress (or not).

38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

Presently, I think I try to look as neutral as possible. Or to look demure. Or to look like somebody else.

39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?

Dressing up is intentional. It usually requires makeup.

40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?

It would be a black shift dress, tights, and ankle boots.

42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?

Sometimes I think about how I would fit in with Jews more religious than myself. When I think of this and am wearing a long skirt, I'm comforted.

44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?

I straighten my hair, I wear a dress with tights, and I wear shoes that look fairly new.

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

Sometimes I wear jeans, but never blue jeans.

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 long black top with form fitting jeans and black boots. It feels like as flattering a silhouette one can achieve without sacrificing any comfort.

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?

I have absolutely wished to dress as a man in a man's body in the past. It was a strong urge. I bought men's clothing but it never worked out on my body, and women's clothing never did the trick for me. I now wish to dress as feminine as possible. I can't explain any of these urges.

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

Right now.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

Certainly. Artists like Kiki Smith and Marina Abramovic, although their styles aren't similar or anything. New Wave bands' and Carrie Brownstein's and Miranda July's all-the-way-buttoned-up collared shirts.

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?


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?

Bright colors

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?

I don't think so. I think I dress for me to feel good. I think feeling good will do more to attract people.

I might dress to repel creepy men, but clothing doesn't have the power to do that.

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

You do you.

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

I love perfume. Nobody wears perfume where I live though. They talk about others' allergies to perfume and it makes me feel like I shouldn't wear it. But I love it when others wear perfume, and I have quite a collection myself.

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

Clothes should be clean and not wrinkled. I should also be clean and as wrinkle-free as possible.

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


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?

Leather jackets? They will always feel too midwestern.

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

A necklace with wooden geometric beads in pastel colors. The colors complement one another perfectly. I get so many compliments on it. It feels grown up and playful at the same time.

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 keep a Mt. Kilimanjaro t-shirt that a friend got for me when she visited Tanzania. She was very fashionable, but the shirt is not particularly fashionable. I wonder what she was thinking of me when she bought it. She died three years ago, so I will never know.

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?

Things I could get the most wear out of. Basic colors, and lots of black.

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?

Different clothing items that I miss frequently pop into my head. I can't think of any now, though.

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

A pair of grey jeans. They fit perfectly, and I always feel great in them.

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

I would buy a diverse array of colors and prints.

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

I bought a beautiful royal blue designer wool jacket. I wore it twice and sold it at a huge loss a few years later. It was very unflattering on me. I think my financial ability to purchase the jacket blinded me to its flaws.

72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?

Not yet, although now that you mention it, I can't wait.

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

The perfect pair of knee-high leather boots

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

Things are messy, but only because I have so little space. I'm not in a hurry to change that.

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

My mom often sends me small jewelry items. They're hardly ever things I'd choose for myself. I could just not wear them, but when I put them on, they make me feel like I could be the kind of person that could potentially buy something like that. It's a liberating and slightly un-tethered feeling.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

Like spices or wood.

80. How does money fit into all this?

Money is the number one factor that limits my fashion creativity.

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 bra. I hardly ever wash it.

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

Born: Wisconsin
Now: Oregon

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


What kind of work do you do?

Nonprofit: cultural & arts

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

Unmarried; kidless

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

I'm growing into myself, and my clothes are growing around me.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I feel moved to 1) look at more people closer 2) make my own survey about something I care about 3) take a nap

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