Read Surveys (By Author)
Lauren Spencer King
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I am slightly sun-kissed (I have this thing about the sun). When I am working hard in the studio. When I am vulnerable and honest.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I love talking to kids about style. Especially before they reach an age where they all start to want to be like and look like their friends. Before that, they really don’t care about being different, and they have lots of opinions. They come up with some of the most amazing outfits I only wish I could pull off. And I have recently had some interesting conversations with friends about if women dress for men, or if they actually dress for other women. The verdict is still out.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
How you do one thing is how you do anything.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Chambray. Chambray anything. I also keep buying pretty things to sleep in that just sit in my drawer, waiting for someone special enough to wear them for.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
After my mum died I gave some of her clothes and the jewelry she made to the people that were important to her in her life. I left her closet exactly as she left it for four years, sometimes when I was home I would just go in there to look around, or have a good cry, it still held her smell, I loved looking at everything hanging there. Something about it made me feel her presence. And then I decided it was time. For a while I needed it to remain together, but it feels good to me now to think that parts of it exist all around the country, in the closets of those she loved. It’s like each piece has a new life, to be reinvented in the eyes of someone else, to keep adding to the story.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Usually anything that is a trend I avoid. Right now it's Berkinstocks.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I have had moments when my clothes get really specific; I would get on a kick about something. Looking back now, these are usually periods of intense personal growth, times when I was individuating, discovering and redefining a new part of myself, times that were about growing up.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I think everything we do is political.
16. Please describe your body.
17. Please describe your mind.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Like the ocean
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I am up at the crack of dawn with jet lag; the sun is just rising. I haven’t even looked in the mirror today. My hair is slept in, no make up, glasses on. I’m wearing a white cotton chemise I got when I lived in Paris that I love; it is pintucked and buttons up the front. I put on grey leggings underneath because I had to walk my dog this morning, and an old ecru colored cashmere men’s cardigan with holes, it is so soft and comfy. Bare feet.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It’s all relative, it’s only important if you want it to be.
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?
Yes. When I was very little I loved dressing very feminine, dresses and skirts only. But as soon as my body started to change more into a young woman’s body I became very uncomfortable and wanted to hide it. I felt the attention it was attracting, mostly from older men, and it did feel very unsafe for some reason, and I didn’t have control over it. That was when I started to dress like a tomboy. I think it was my way to keep my body from being objectified. Now, so many years later, I am having to undo some of that impulse to protect and hide, to find a balance for myself of being a woman and embracing it and showing it, and also having a love of being a tomboy.
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?
I learned the most about style from the women in my family. They were all so different and influenced me in specific ways. I think my style now is made up of parts of theirs. My mother was super stylish, and always setting trends. She always looked of the moment, but put her own twist on things that made the look uniquely hers. She was also a pro at taking seemingly simple clothes and putting them together in amazing ways, it really wasn’t about the clothes at all, it was all about how she wore them. That is true style.
Now, her mother, she was incredible! She taught dress design and was a painter. She mixed her classic silhouettes from the 40’s and 50’s with the kookiest accessories. She always had on so many colors, and the more jewelry the better. She had terrible arthritis and had this theory that wearing these huge intricate rings on every finger would distract people from the way her hands looked, but instead it just made them want to look closer. For a party she once wore a simple black straight dress and a real bullfighters bolero she got in Spain! She wore kimonos from Japan, Concho belts, lots of blue eye shadow, a stack of ten African necklaces, purple tie-dye, antique embroidered vestments… nothing was off limits for her. She always had so much fun with what she was wearing. I loved this about her.
And my other grandmother was quite different. She was classic, very feminine: Valentino suits, Pucci sundresses, pearls, Dior shoes and handbags to match. She was stunning and always perfectly put together, and yet comfortable and relaxed looking. She wore chic like it was a second skin.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I’ve always thought that it’s best to not try to dress as someone or something you are not. Not that I don’t think I’m sexy, but what I think is sexy is different than the typical “look” of sexy. Sexy isn’t something you can imitate, it's not a "look" at all, and I think this is the mistake people make. To really BE sexy, and embody it is something entirely different than adopting a “look”. To me it’s all about my energy, not necessarily what I have on, it is something to be embodied. It makes me sad to see young girls walking around the city like clones in skin tight short dresses and super tall shoes they can hardly walk in, because they think this looks sexy. It’s not sexy when you can hardly walk, or you are constantly pulling on the hem of your dress. You can tell they are uncomfortable and insecure, that they are doing it for someone else. This upsets me. As far as expressing it on the outside, I think that being who you are and being natural is super sexy. And, beautiful lingerie under anything you have on helps too. The sun on my bare skin always makes me feel sexy. Also, a good smile and a red lip go a long way.
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 these are things that come from the inside, it’s something you can see on someone even when they aren’t wearing anything at all. Despite what people think, clothes won’t fully take you to the depth of truly embodying what it is to be comfortable in your skin or confidant with who you are. In fact, I think that it has very little to do with clothes. I think there is a level of confidence that comes from owning who you are, exactly in the moment you are in. I mean to say that even if you are going through something painful, hurtful, messy, awful, trying, exciting, beautiful, transforming… all of it, if you are really in it, and owning it all, not denying any part of it, I think this gives you confidence and is so empowering. It’s the confidence you get when you can face all of life and all of yourself, and own who you are. And when someone has that, that thing that you can’t put your finger on, but you can feel, it shines brighter than anything they have on.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Imperfections, crying, kissing, authenticity, women of any age with naturally silver hair, intelligence (emotional and mental), laughing, pregnant women, when people who are really beautiful don’t know that they are, people marching to their own drummer, courage, being in the moment
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Trying too hard, too much makeup, fake anything, bad manners, cruelty, manipulation, objectification, Uggs and flip flops, lying
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?
I always ask the question: Would I wear this in Paris?
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Lately I have been wanting to have more of a uniform, just a few things that I really love, and I have been only wearing black, cream/white, chambray, and ultramarine blue. Simple but unique dresses you can wear multiple ways. High waisted black denim with tees and silk button downs. Blazers or oversized sweaters. Black sandals and heals, white sneakers (bensimon or vans), or oxfords. I like the idea and simplicity of this.
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 am learning to accept the shape my body naturally wants to be. Some days are better than others. But, I love being a woman and am grateful for that every day.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
I have moments when it all comes together in the right way, and something I feel slightly resembles me is captured. But for the most part no, I am uncomfortable with my photo being taken. You usually have to snap a photo when I’m not paying attention or genuinely in the moment smiling at something; those are the ones I like anyway. I always look at photos of myself and think, "that’s what I really look like?!" My maternal grandmother never liked her photo taken, in fact I have very few photos of her. In all of the photos I do have she is covering her face, or hiding behind someone taller. At the opposite end of the spectrum, my paternal grandmother looked like she was right out of Vogue, but a Vogue shoot about an international businesswoman who looks chic in a suit and heals even when visiting the Acropolis, on safari, meeting clients in Saudi Arabia or Tokyo (someone recently pointed out to me that even her passport photo looks like something out of Vogue in the 1950’s). She was classic. I try to pull this off, but I end up being more shy in front of the camera.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Right now I love the smell of goe oil that I use on my face and body during the dry summer heat. Before that it was Comme des Garcon’s Laurel. I also love Pratima’s Healing Neem Oil, or the natural sent of my skin when it has been outside in the sun and wind all day.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
or a bright lip.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My mum had the most amazing clothes, things she collected all over the world during her travels. She had this one long skirt made from different pieces of beautifully patterned vintage silk. She got it while she was living in England. I remember in high school loving this skirt and always wishing I could wear it, but knowing it was really special to her. One day I finally asked and she let me wear it. I remember feeling the importance of this, and being so mindful to take such good care of it. This act of trust made me feel very special and it made me want to meet her trust in me by showing her I was worthy of it. Now, I wear this skirt every Mother’s Day.
Later on, after her father died, my mum cut up two of the gold coins he left her (he was a banker), and she made two rings out of them. She wore one and gave the other to me. He was never very supportive of her being an artist, and I think something about the reclamation of this material felt really symbolic for her. I now wear them both, and never take them off.
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?
I don’t, I wish I did. I have a terrible memory. But my parents always said I had very strong opinions when I was little, about everything, clothes included (not much has changed). They both understood that letting me make choices regarding these things was important for me, and they always let me wear whatever I wanted. This never allowed for anything inappropriate (no rebellious Madonna phase), mostly it was just strange, personal, sartorial choices. My mum also sewed a lot of my clothes (and all of my Halloween costumes, she was such a good sport the year I wanted to be a huge bag of jellybeans, which proved to be a very cumbersome costume to walk in). Instead of this being something I was made fun of at school for (I never really cared what others thought or were wearing anyway), this was really something that was liberating and allowed me to make more specific choices regarding how I expressed myself through clothing. We would go to the fabric store and I would pick out the pattern and the material and then we would go home and she would make it for me, a new outfit to wear to school the next day. My favorites were a short-sleeved button up with matching shorts. I had this combo in a lot of wild prints from the mid/late 1980’s (a white with neon green and pink marker zigzag squiggles comes to mind, as well as a colorful print that looked like the Sunday comics section of a news paper, how I didn’t get made fun of for this I just don’t know), the more bananas the print the better. I loved mixing those items with my things from Esprit and Benetton. And for the holidays she would sometimes make us outfits that went together. These weren’t your Laura Ashley floral printed dresses. Oh no! One year they were long tiered skirts made from this crazy gold fabric. It was the best.
And while I don’t remember my first time being conscious of what I was wearing, with out stories or photos there are a few items I so remember. My mother’s petticoat from the 50’s that was white tulle and trimmed with stripes of light pink silk ribbon, this is the item I have the strongest memory of and wore a lot of. My red clogs, of course. A sweater with butterflies on it that my grandmother knit me that had a beautiful antique butterfly pin on it, along with a pink ballerina costume she made me. A flowered sundress my grandmother, Audrey, bought me in Paris that tied on the sides like a pinafore and had ruffles for sleeves. A red and blue ensemble from Norma Kamali that my dad gave me, I wore it with red tights and my red clogs, also from my dad (he would get me a pair every time he was in Sweden, I wore them with everything). A kelly green Speedo, with white stripes that I wore while on the swim team. My first swatch watch my dad brought back from Italy for me, it had colored shapes floating in a white field. My Van’s that had a custom spray-painted sunset landscape with silhouettes of palm trees.
It’s funny the things you remember, now that I am older these things still have meaning for me. Some have become only memories, but my mum was wise enough to save some of these things, and I now have them, they remain tangible links to who I was then. I am keeping them for my future daughter some day; though I laugh and think that there is a very strong chance she may not find them as special as I do.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
7th of November 1980, Belleville IL
Los Angeles, CA
What kind of work do you do?
I am an Artist.
I also am a grief counselor for kids and I teach meditation.