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Barbara Donaldson

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm dressed up for a special event or party.

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

I notice women with good posture and professional clothes. Sometimes it's a scarf or a great coat that a woman is wearing that will draw my eye. I love scarves that have wonderful prints and bright colours.

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

A great haircut makes any women look polished and well turned out. I love work clothes when a woman does something unexpected with a traditional suit -- it could have beautiful topstitching or striking buttons; her outfit could have interesting shoes or belt or jewelry. it is the contrast between things that I like - formal with informal; conservative with flashy; monochrome with a bright colour.

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

I own lots of turtleneck sweaters in many colours but many of them are black. One reason I buy them is that I am often cold but I also think black turtlenecks look classy.

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

The older I get the few fashion trends I seem to follow. Partly I think that many fashion trends are not appropriate for my age group and partly I think that I have my own style that I want to express.

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

When I was a child I was fascinated with my Mom's jewelry. She had a great collection of Sarah Coventry jewelry. I have some of her pieces that I wear and whenever I'm shopping for used clothes I look for it. I also really like brooches which I think she did as well.

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

When I started my first real job, I was the youngest person in my team. I had very little money and was worried that I looked like a kid. At that time I sewed a lot. I made myself a black and white houndstooth suit and a black tulip skirt. I thought these pieces gave me a lot of credibility. I wore them during the first year of my job and I think that that look really imprinted itself on me.

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

I am currently working in a public sector role. I think it is important not to look too expensive in the city that I work in right now. I think it is good to look professional and put together but not too high end - I think it would give a negative impression if people thought I spent a lot on clothes.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm a little taller than average with an athletic build. I'm a little curvy and look good in fitted clothes. I have great legs and slim ankles - I should wear dresses and skirts more often.

17. Please describe your mind.

I'm a thinker. I like to wrestle with problems and solve them.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I'm mostly happy. I feel satisfied with the relationships I have in my life.

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

I am wearing a dusky blue navy pant suit with a dusky blue lace top. I love this combination as it looks pulled together without being boring. I am wearing a pearl necklace and simple earrings. I am better dressed than anyone else in my office, but that makes me feel more powerful. Putting on the work clothes makes me feel like I'm professional.

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 think I know what I like in fashion and clothing. Things I like are:
Black and white combinations: checks, houndstooth, stripes or polka dots
Paisley - love love love the look of paisleys
Bright pink - like fushia or magenta
My Cartier Watch
Nicely tailored suits made of good fabrics
Classic pumps

I think I have opinions in other areas of my life too. I don't know where it comes from.

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

The amount of effort. Dressing Up takes longer and includes more hair and make up.

41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?

Me = Classic, professional, quality fabrics
Not Me = flower child, bling, skimpy

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

I dress better than my colleagues: more professional.

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?

No but I do love men's shoes.

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

60's London scene

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Catherine Middleton

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

I wear make up everyday but I don't feel very good at putting it on.

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

Burberry Trench Coat

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

Buy less and buy high quality.

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

I bought a grey and burgundy silk scarf when I was about 15/16 and I still have it. I don't wear it much but I admire it.

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

July 1, 1962. I was born in Edmonton Alberta and I live in Toronto.

What kind of work do you do?

I work as an independent IT consultant. I change jobs/employment every year or two.

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

Happily married.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I thought I would have a lot to say about myself and my fashion choices. I was surprised that I didn't have an opinion or answer for many of the questions.

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