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Emma Madnick

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I am ovulating. I think there was a study done about how women look different on each day of their menstrual cycle and I am definitely more beautiful when I am ovulating.

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

I admire good fit, attention to detail, the delicate language of color. I am in awe of people that know how to do fancy things with their makeup and hair because I don't know much about them. Also, if you are wearing an outfit that says more than "I woke up and threw this on" then I might appreciate it. I am a costume designer so I try to take note of what everyone is wearing.

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

Sometimes I wish I spent a little more money on each piece of my wardrobe and wore it more often. Instead I buy often and cycle out what I am tired of constantly. That way I don't feel bad when I get a stain or a tear, or i take it home and decide it was not meant for me to own. I love the way I dress, but I have multiple personalities when it comes to getting dressed. It might be easier if I had a more coherent style.

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

I talk to everyone who is willing to talk to me about clothes. I like to see a wide range of styles. Everyone has their "character" of themselves that they dress, even if they try to tell me that the way that they dress is unconscious.

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

Many things. I keep buying them because they are good staples in my wardrobe for practical reasons or they have a great visual effect.

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

I give people clothes all the time and I am always happy if they can make use out of them. I always tell them that they cannot use them then to please pass them on.

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

I don't share anything that I don't want to give away because I never end up getting back what I loan out and I hate keeping track of things. I live in New York, so street style is a great place to get new ideas. I love being influenced by film and photography as well because they are so concrete. I feel accomplished when I make a good reference.

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

I try not to look like a consumer. Someone told me once that I dressed like an Anarchist's girlfriend. I liked that. The Punks in my small town also liked my style. I have a lot of nonconformist sex appeal.

16. Please describe your body.

5'4", size six. Small waist. large breasts and ass. Very pale skin. Quirky face but not bad-looking. Sensual. Like a nude in a museum painting that you saw once.

17. Please describe your mind.

Observing and trying to stay open

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?

Glasses, 6 earrings, red cowboy shirt tucked into a black pleated tennis skirt, Black cowboy boots, black and sterling silver octagonal onyx man's ring.

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

We can learn from it and love our bodies

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

I try to spend time with people instead of in front of my computer. I eat the fresh, minimally processed food. I try to stay away from chemicals. I do not need tons of money to be happy. I like to be surrounded by wonderful people.

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?

Sure, clothes can be my armor and my battle cry.

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 mother taught me a lot about taking care of my clothes. What to handwash, how to block a sweater, never put bras in the dryer. She taught me how to wear vintage clothing and how to make men's clothing look beautiful on a woman's body. I remember having a tie collection when I was thirteen. My mother used to take me to the cheapest thrift shops and she would buy me whatever "practical" clothes I needed and then gave me five dollars to spend on whatever I wanted. I remember being so excited by the possibilities. I would usually end up getting something wild to play dress up in. My dress-up box was pretty famous amongst my friends. I had a 1940's ballerina outfit, an amazing gypsy costume made from the thinnest and softest cotton paisley, cat's eye glasses, a 1960s pink and red polka-dot neglige, a ship captains hat, and so on. I love how clothes transform you. I am a pretty quirky, sexy gal, but not drop dead gorgeous, and I learned when I was very young how to work with clothing in order to achieve the perfect amount of drama.

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

I don't wear much makeup, but sometimes I will go for a bright red lip and a little mascara and a dash of black eyeliner. I will wear my "fuck-me" glasses (tiny little red french cat's eye glasses from the 1990s). I have a tiny little waist compared to my curvy figure, so accentuating my small waist makes the girls jealous and the boys melt. Lately I have been wearing all menswear while still accentuating my figure and that seems to make my kind of creeps climb out of the woodwork. Once I have put that look on the table it makes people bold enough to voice their approval. The inner fetishist rises to the surface. I must have forgotten about Marlene Dietrich because I was definitely surprised when I got these gentlemen all hot and bothered. They were blubbering and stuttering and at was great.

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?

I think that they go together in my world. I like to feel comfortable and confident every day. When I am helping people pick out clothes and they try to ask me: "can I pull this off?" my answer is usually yes. I think that anyone can wear anything as long as it fits them well enough and they accept the choice that they have made.

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 kind of is. I am a costume designer, so dressing people is my thing. Dress to flatter your body, wear vintage or preexisting clothes as often as you can, and own your look.

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

Wearing what you think you should wear

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?


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

My clothes have a lot to say. My dress is bold but not screaming. It is smart and knowing. I dress to nod to and reinterpret history. I mix and match eras. I will wear anything if it has a good message to send. I want to be noticed and appreciated, surely. I do not want to be gawked at and bothered because of the way I dress. I do not want others to think I am a snob because I want them to learn from my talent of dressing myself and others.

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

I am a bohemian Jew. My family were tailors and artists. My mother is a vintage clothing fan and my father is an antique dealer. These things have given me the tools to dress well.

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?

There was a time during puberty when I gave up my individuality to stop the teasing. It did not make me feel good. I was still the same quirky girl on the inside and she did not like being punished with name brand clothing.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

I do like to be photographed in a studio or artistic setting but I hate candid photographs. People look awful when they smile and put their arms around each other as they stare at the camera. When I see myself in photos I try to see the beauty of myself and do not focus on my imperfections.

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

Sneakers are very hard for me to wear. Stilettos are impossible and are for some girls but not me. I definitely have trouble looking trendy. It just feels wrong. I definitely do pull from what is going on in fashion but I reinterpret it using vintage or second-hand pieces because I try not to buy many new things.

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

People that I want to talk to.

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

I blend my formula of essential oils: lavender, sandalwood, rose

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

Tuck in my shirt. Style. Accessorize.

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

I usually don't wear it.

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

Nothing sticks out. I am still waiting for some damn jewels. I buy myself presents all the time. I know myself best, but one of these days someone is going to surprise me by picking something out that I would never think of but it will be amazing. At least in my dreams this happens.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I shop more often than I buy. A lot of time I am shopping to learn what is out there and get inspiration.

I do not have a lot to spend but I do shell out for a good pair of shoes. I settle for less expensive things that I can combine and accessorize into greatness.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

I do not like when people make nasty comments about the way I dress because they have their own insecurities. I feel great and the people I want in my life support me and that is all that I care about.

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?

My mom sewed the dresses that stick out in my memory. She is a artist/bohemian type and has a great appreciation for vintage clothing, history, and old things. For my third birthday I had a simple creme-colored bib dress with pearlescent buttons decorating the entire bib part. My father is an antique dealer and bought me my first vintage dress. It was the sweetest 1930s deep red silk with a white collar and hand-sewn smocking on the bib. It was a lot like Little Orphan Annie's dress. I remember when he gave it to me I felt like the most special and unique girl in the world. The first pair of shoes I remember owning were oxblood leather t-strap mary janes with a perforated decoration on the toe caps. I remember choosing them and trying them on; the richness of the leather, the smell, the beautiful european handmade quality. They felt like little treasure boxes to slip my tiny toes in. My parents did not have a lot of money but they still managed to buy good quality clothing. They would get most of my clothes from the French company Pettite Bateau outlet store. I had fewer clothes but the quality made them last longer. They even felt better. Quality handmade or well-designed clothes fit the body better. The europeans definitely know how to do it right. There is also something to be said about companies that have been around for awhile. I have recently switched from cheap underwear that I find at Marshalls to hanes hi-cut briefs (basic fine black cotton knit with amazingly seamless but durable elastic) and it just feels right. Even though they were sewn in the east the patterns and cut seem to float on my body so I don't have to think about what is going on with my underwear.

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

Philadelphia but currently in Brooklyn, NY

What kind of work do you do?

I manage the warehouse space for a vintage clothing company

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

single, living with two gay men

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

I am an aspiring costume designer for film

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