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Janice Bowie

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

No special time, I can be getting on with my day and steel a look in the mirror and think, wow, you look lovely today

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

Those that are smiling and seem happy where they are right now. Also those that look Sad, and I wonder what is going on right then in their lives.

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

A sense of inward grace

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?

As a young teenager I suddenly stopped wearing high-heal shoes and make up and chose a more natural way to dress. This was complete Freedom. I was dressing for myself.

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

Head to the second hand stores - it is like a treasure chest of styles and choices and the price is always right!

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

Only natural fabrics for me now (I am older and I love the feel better - and there are plenty in the Charity Stores)

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

In my early 40's We moved our business to a small community and my clothes were new again. I embraced my unique style and made great use of finding second-hand gems that complemented everything. I can't remember any particular transformative conversation but I do feel, in my own little way, I did bring a unique freedom (in the way I dressed to that small town).

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

Spirit. More and More it is from this

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

I seem to be attracted to and accumulate many MANY skirts. I like the freedom of them - I prefer them flowy and not tight. I believe they are the best camping / hiking accessory (when no washroom is to be found)

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

Yes, often: I gave away my absolute favourite velvet scarf to a good friend who loved it.
I gave away one of my lovely bracelets (hand made by a close Artist friend) to another good friend

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

I tend not to follow the trends anyway, but definitely: anything that was fashionable when I was young and has come around again is / was definitely hard to get serious about (leggings...took me a few years to even consider wearing them - and they definitely have to be soft and non-confining (great under skirts in the winter).

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

I tend to take after my Dad's family rather than Mom's (she is tall and slim, I am average and no long lovely legs like my Mother). I feel the older I get the more I look like her and dress like her! (skirts!)

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

....tended to be the other way around (Friends) - great compliment, I certainly didn't mind

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

Many times: as a teenager (see 1 above) (a direct response to embracing a non-fashion culture and becoming a hippy at the ripe age of 15)
When I turned 40: really came into my own sense of style (Free, colourful, Funky, Natural) - being a creative business owner, it felt good to dress every day

When I hit my 50's: less eye-catching and now suitable to my slightly wider body shape. Just not so interested in lots of layers and flow - more conservative - probably because of career change (Fundraiser and financial services)

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

no, not really...except I don't think anyone would pass me as a Conservative with a Capital "C" (piercings are all still intact as well)

16. Please describe your body.

Slim, not as muscular as I was in my 40's
Medium height

17. Please describe your mind.

Certainly on a Spiritual Patch and my Practice is everything to me.

18. Please describe your emotions.

Calm in most cases - My outside world is a reflection of what is going on inside and vise versa - I tend to see everything as my classroom and practice from there

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

Black pants
Black and white long flowing short sleeve top
an old but faithful brown sweater swept on my shoulders (its a little cold in the house)
black socks and my old slippers
Hair blown dried and loose
(at work this morning, but relaxing at home right now)

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

I am finding this fun - it is interesting to reflect on how we dress influences who we are and the other way round.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Hardly no-one! I regularly complement a friend or co-worker on her outfit etc. but I tend not to ever "discuss" clothes (though, I will stop a stranger to ask where she got something if I really like what she is wearing)

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Yes, they certainly do affect the way I dress now - In my 40's I dressed my style for everything I did (whether it was at a folk festival, or at work, or taking my dog for a walk) but now, I certainly have toned down my dress for my Financial Services Career: (but still like to have a colourful / creative flare)
I don't mind walking around in pants and a top now but would NEVER be seen dressed like this when I lived and ran our creative business in the small community

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

Style I believe. I know what I love and what looks good on me.

I do try to be "tasteful" as I am now older (55)....(no attempting to wear items of clothing meant for the very youthful anymore)

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

Thankfully, no....sometimes there is a little guilt if I have purchased something more than I would normally spend - but if I love it, then no worries (everything is a balance)

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

Not any more...I did have a knack of wrapping sarongs around me that was very unique and very flattering and allowed me to walk fast / run / etc. ...and still hid my spider veins on my legs perfectly

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

Artwork / Design / Writing

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?

in my 20's - I tended to wear very frumpy clothes - didn't have a great sense of worth and I was probably trying to hide inside them

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 would tend to agree I have a good degree of discernment. My Mother certainly had / has a sense of discernment and tended / tends to dress for herself and what looked / looks good and tasteful. I do know what I like in other areas of my life. However, I try not to decide what is right or wrong for others these days and do try to question any type of judgement at all

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?

Mom was pretty free about the way we dressed. She was an excellent dress maker and made us lots of our clothes. We would choose styles, patterns and the fabrics together. However, she was never overly concerned about "teaching" me about how to dress or how to care for clothing. We did have to learn to do our own laundry and ironing at a reasonable age.

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

I tend not to put too much effort on these things:
I do not to wear make up (not since I was 15) (I am lucky enough to be a fairly natural beauty) and will only put on make up on certain occasions
I like my hair soft and alluring - but it has to come completely maintenance free! (no interest in spending too much time there)
I try to always look my best in the clothes I choose in the sense of being alluring, yet modest

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?

Comfortable: The material must be soft and feel good on my skin and cannot be constricting at all. There can't be any weird bits or straps or things that feel "complicated" or awkward.
Confident: That I can completely wear the outfit without any concerns about something might catch, fall down, ride-up or slip out!
(confidence comes from inside - if you are confident, the outfit will complement you)

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?

Dress for yourself and be confident inside out.

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

Peace - a sense of harmony and Good in the World

34. What do you consider very ugly?


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?

Yes! everything I buy will be no, I have not figured it out in advance: I certainly have to try it on before I buy - I may LOVE an item, but I won't know it Loves me until I try it on!

36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?

I can honestly say this person in the mirror is an older version of myself, who tends to play it safe but certainly has an allure that might be intriguing to some. Otherwise, I believe I pass by fairly silently these days to the outer world and that is perfectly good

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

What do I "feel" like wearing today?
Will it suit the situation?
Is it warm or cold? (do I need something to go with it?)
is it clean?

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

Depends - If I am on appointments or just at the office or staying at home or out for a social event

I like to always look good but I need not necessarily "stand out" (anymore)

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

I used to love dressing up! Any chance for a halloween party or theme party

Dressing up tends to happen less and less as I mature.... or at least the type of dressing up is quite different - Grace is the operative word

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

Depends....Nothing tight, constricting, strappy, complicated, stiff,

No women over 50 should be expected to wear a T shirt , nor gulf shirts (I have never worn a T or gulf shirt in my life)

I would be happy with a complimentary coloured blouse / shirt and nice-cut pants or skirt

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

Me: Creative / Organic / Nature / Flow

Not Me: Constricting / Sharp / Bold / Boring

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

British Parents
Born in Canada
Raised in England
Lived just outside NYC for a bit
Had numerous boyfriends from West Indies when I was very young and had the opportunity to spend time in Trinidad in my late teens
Hung with hippies in my teens
So I think I may have been more influenced by my peers than my culture (though always loved Carnaby Street in London! )

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?

Yes, all explained in earlier questions!

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


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

My bohemian style

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

not any more

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


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

a little constraining - (as mentioned above) unless the uniform was comfortable and flattering to all body types and ages, they should be banned

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?

Anything that flows

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?

I'm living it (we can pretty much wear what we like)

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

Hey that's me

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

no, not consciously

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?

starched high collar, tight pants, tight top

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?

What I wear now (I have been pretty lucky with my body shape)

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

always longer skirts to hide my spider veins (no mini skirts for me since childbirth)

no tight tops either, slightly more rounded tummy so like tops to flow

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

Dress for yourself but do take advice from an expert!

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


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

have a shower
wear clean clothes

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?

no not at all
I have never felt I needed to follow a certain "look"

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

Things I like that are me
not too much jewelry - my jewelry tend to be life-time items

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

favourite Jewelry: the wedding rings of my Great Aunt, Grandmother and Aunt

A decorative belt that I have had since I was 20 that STILL gets compliments every time I wear it

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?

There may be a couple...

A top that belonged to my sister

Favorite pieces that might one day be worn again...

a top that my Mother made me

My favourite Black Blazer that is so funky and retro that I can never throw away!

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?

a couple of Artistan outfits

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?

quite honestly, no...which is a good thing

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

hard question

Something I know would be impossible to replace (one of my artisan outfits)

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


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

Honestly can't remember

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

My funky-retro black blazer

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

I tend not to hunt for things....rather they find me

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

closet: fairly neat
drawers: definitely messy

I like things neat but I am not a neat person!
Messy is my middle name

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


76. Did you ever buy an article of clothing without giving it much thought, only to have it prove much more valuable as time went on? What was the item and what happened?

nothing comes to mind

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I tend never to go "out" to shop
I might just pass by a shop that pulls me in

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

no, except clean (except when we are camping - then I like to feel "earthy"!

79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

hard to say

80. How does money fit into all this?

I try not to spend too much on clothes - I love charity shops

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

I used to wear my lovely belt every day but not recently. I always wear my gold rings

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

not that I can remember

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 mother made me some lovely dresses when I was very young and I was always quite aware how pretty they were and how lucky I was

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

Oct 20 1960
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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

My parents were very liberal and freeing and I truly grew up in charmed environments

What kind of work do you do?

I have done so many careers but at the moment I am a financial adviser which is a complete 180 degree to my creative self!

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

Happily Married, with one 18 year-old son

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

I spent most of my life searching for meaning (why are we here?) growing up in an atheist family allowed me to truly search freely for a spiritual answer (much to the chagrin of my Father, but that's ok because I love him and he loves me)

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Fun! Well worth the thought and emotional process!


I only know know what I know right now, but here I am, and now, I go

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