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Jennifer B.

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

Right after accomplishing something difficult: giving a big presentation at work, hiking a mountain, rafting a river, serving Christmas dinner to 25 family members!

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

Yes. Graceful, athletic, and usually my age. I don't really notice women more than 10 years on either side of me.

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

Grace, confidence, individuality.

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?

After college when I didn't know what to wear or who I was, a friend told me to buy only black clothes for a year. She said limiting myself to a monochrome palate --freeing myself from worrying about matching -- would help me find what other parameters mattered to me. She was right!

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

Follow where your interests take you, but don't create messes for others as you go.

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

Super soft long sleeve tshirt-type shirts. Because they're easy and comfortable but they keep getting a hole where they overlap my pants button.

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

Only my kids, especially my preteen son.

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

I haven't bought boots. I keep thinking they're going to go out of style at last, but they won't.

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

She has a different style and I am athletic while she is not. But we have the same shape face, so we always have the same hair style; and lately we color our hair the same. We are both practical and not fussy. We both wear clothes until they're tatters!

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

In college I wore one of my roommates' clothes all the time. That was when I had no style at all. She'd get so mad.

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

At age 25 I moved to a new state with my boyfriend and got an office job, and suddenly had to look like a grown up (and suddenly felt like one). So that's when I first really tried to come up with my own style. Then after I had kids and went back to work in an office again, I again felt like a different person, and realized I needed to modify my style to fit who I'd become.

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


16. Please describe your body.

Short, athletic. Lapsed gymnast. I feel graceful.

17. Please describe your mind.

Active. I need to have interesting things to think about or I go crazy.

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?

Turquoise Glasses, pretty and comfortable green turtleneck sweater, black technical pants, bare feet.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Sisters and one friend, and my husband.

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


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

If you wear a dress, people think you tried really hard to look all dressed up. But it's actually the easier than anything. It's just one pice of material you pull over your head, and boom. Done.

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?

No. I don't notice objects very much. I think thoughts. Bodies are among the objects I don't notice.

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

I wish I knew how to make myself look sexy. I have never once felt sexy. I think sexiness must be a state of mind.

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?

It means your clothes project your true self so you don't have to work to make yourself seen clearly.

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

Gracefulness. Uniquely you. Thoroughly you. Unabashedly you.

34. What do you consider very ugly?


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

Warmth for one! And comfort or ease. I don't want to be held back or distracted by my clothes. And I want to look like who I am.

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

Dressing up means trying to look wealthy.

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

White middle class educated east coast who moved to the west coast after college, from conservative parents, small town. I look a lot like everybody else my age and income bracket in my town.

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

I wear clothes that need to be dry cleaned! Seriously those fabrics just shout professional. Silk, cashmere. Heels. I do my eyes.

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

Well, I telecommute. So when I go into the office I have to counter the idea that I wear pajamas all day. So I tend to dress up more than the others ... Where in this case dressing up means being completely put together. I always blow it on the purse, though. I need to get a professional purse.

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?

Yoga, paddleboarding and snowboarding.

47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?

I think that people who have expensive, stylish yoga clothes are not taking the practice seriously. It's like they are doing yoga just to justify the clothing purchase. So I own sort of ratty yoga stuff. My paddleboarding and winter gear are really solid though, because in that case wearing inadequate clothing can make the whole experience miserable. And now that I write this down, it sounds ridiculous. I should buy nicer yoga wear just out of courtesy for my classmates!

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?

Uniforms are worse! Because there's so much pressure to make them unique, and the constraints are huge!

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?

Jeans, sneakers and a long sleeve tshirt. However jeans these days force themselves upon the wearers attention, if you know what I mean. They're tight and constraining. My favorite clothes are turning against me! Anyway, that outfit is quintessential tomboy and it used to, at least, be uber comfortable.

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?


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

You know, I love modern fabrics. I love that they're soft and that they move. I read a lot of historical fiction, and the authors talk a lot about clothing as if it would be fun to dress that way, but I would hate it. Don't even send me back to 1980.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Absolutely not.

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

Who is that?

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

Katherine Hepburn. I love those wide leg pants.

55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?


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

Sultry. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

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?

I'd wear a string bikini. Except, even spectacularly beautiful 44 yo women should not wear string bikinis. So you'd better take 20 years, too.

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

I want to Attract people like me. I want to be respected. Maybe that's why I can't achieve sexiness. What would I say???

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?

Skinny jeans. Pointy heels. They constrain movement. A person should not npbe limited by her clothes.

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?

A hat. It was so cool. It was a western hat, but not a cowboy hat. I wore it on an adventure with a guy I thought I loved, and lost it on the next adventure, when I realized he didn't love me. It's really about the hat, though. I left it in a hostel in Hungary. I still think about it.

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

A really good bra for the body I have now. A 40s body has loose skin that is a factor in what bra you choose.

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


77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

Every time the weather changes. Winter, spring, summer, fall.

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?

In 9th grade my handsome neighbor asked me why I wore sneakers every day. Until that moment I honestly had not noticed there was an alternative to sneakers!

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

1971. Born in small town Illinois, grew up in small town Pennsylvania, live in small town oregon.

What kind of work do you do?

Computer stuff.

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

Married, two kids.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I feel like I learned something about myself. I think I am judgmental about people who care about clothes, as if they were shallow or as if caring about the clothing replaced caring about the thing the clothes enable. That's simplistic. I will go buy workout clothes now.

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