Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
in my bathing suit, in a pool or in the sea. I feel about 17 years old in water. On land, I am 53.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
brave women who express themselves and who pull it off, which is of course a subjective analysis on my part. women who look happy. women who can walk normally in what they are wearing.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
attention to detail. Happiness.
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?
I worked for a fashion magazine in the late 1980s. I realized it is a relevant form of self expression and need not be trivialized. also, I decided I would never wear anything that would inhibit my ability to walk.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
shop hand me downs from your nephews who are younger and cooler than you'll ever be.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
ask yourself, would Dad wear this?
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
a friend defended use of make-up as "fun" and I had to agree she had a really good point. Other friends abandon ship at a certain age and I now think they are missing out on fun. Fun, the joy of self expression, is a solid reason to spend.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
sadly at this point it's largely utility. with a few scarves as accessories.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
black skirts, grey sweaters. because they are the bomb.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I gave my husband a gold wedding band and I feel great every time I see it on his beautiful hand.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
very high heels. not happening.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
both my parents are a huge influence. Because they are both Protestants and a few hundred years ago the church passed down a lot of rules about colour and who could wear what and this continues to affect us. therefore the humble colours of grey, blue, white and of course the most aristocratic of all, black, are the basis of our wardrobes. Same for many people.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
cardigans. Like my Dad and mr. Rogers.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
I went to visit my sister in Paris and I bought a pair of crazy patterned jeans - really more suitable for St. Tropez than the city - and I wore them all over Paris and realized that being bright in a sea of conservativism could be really fun, especially when you are in your twenties.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I value my right to walk freely.
16. Please describe your body.
I'm strong and healthy and well upholstered.
17. Please describe your mind.
bigger than the sky
18. Please describe your emotions.
a jagged lunar landscape with the occasional luscious oasis
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
fresh pre-Paris pedicure with Marc Jacobs polish in purple
white flip flops to preserve
light cotton khaki joggers
cool grey technical fabric tee shirt with faint pebbling pattern
silver Tiffany bracelet
gold wedding band and grandmother's diamond ring
drugstore cheater glasses at level 2 magnification
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
self expression is part of the joy of life and of course clothing, hair, makeup, jewelry are all important signifiers that can be read easily by anyone you encounter. What messages are you sending?
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
any one who will listen but mostly with my close girl friends as we try to sort out what it all means and how we fit in - an interesting journey as you get older.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
work - gotta make sure you're not shooting yourself in the foot by the way you look. church - I'm not particularly religious but the influence of those sumptuary laws is not to be discounted.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
taste all the way. Style comes and goes with the day; taste is bred much deeper in the bone. wish I had both but if I had to choose it would be taste.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
nothing really springs to mind. I'm so careful.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
there are certain words I think about when buying clothes or getting dressed, such as: polished, well-brushed, cool, poised. I find when I hold these ideas in my mind I can work toward them.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I'm a big fan of the Chicago Manual of Style, and Strunk and White. Words are my favourite form of expression.
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?
how long have you got? yes, I do that a very great deal and I start with the texture of fabric: cotton, silk, linen, wool, cashmere. Wrapped and enclosed in a cocoon of comfort. I imbue my clothes with a certain level of anthropomorphological personality.
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 have it based on my life experience, paying a lot of attention, especially to my mistakes but also to my successes.
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?
cleaning, drycleaning, moth balls, transitioning from season to season, but most profoundly aiming to be appropriate as a form of good manners to other people i.e. hosts at a party. showing up looking well pressed and well dressed is a way to convey your appreciation.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I jump in the pool! or go for the slow disclose.
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?
can't have one without the other!
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?
a daily expression of your taste and worth paying attention to detail.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
34. What do you consider very ugly?
shoes that inhibit your ability to walk seem ugliest of all to me.
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 but sometimes this means buying the same thing too many times. see "black skirt" above.
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?
yikes my older sister is so critical!
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
using my morning mind at its freshest to think big thoughts.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
black pants, white shirt, black jacket, purse with some colour in it, very nice black brogues. no socks. scarf?
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
black is me. high heels is not me.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
see references to the church, above. Norwegian and English - lots of grey! the colour of hope...
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?
in my twenties I moved from Vancouver to Toronto and set myself free of the constraints of my home town. I could experiment without the crit of that older sister so much in my head. I had a lot of fun. Plus I was young and like most young people I looked pretty good so I could run with it.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
blow dry my hair.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
we have security passes that most people wear on a lanyard. no thanks!
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
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?
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, flats, white tee shirt, striped sweater, blazer, silver jewelry, nice handbag. sporty, fresh, classic, good for so many occasions.
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 do dress like a man when ever I want. I had a great pair of Paul Smith cufflinks made from typewriter keys and I wore them in my french cuff shirts to great effect.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
pretty happy with the range of options right about now.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
depends on who is wielding the camera. My son takes a great pic of me, my husband not so much.
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?
Faye Dunaway in Network
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
yes but far too personal to discuss here.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
high heels! say it with me now!
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?
tailored button front shirts.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
walking is nice so don't limit your opportunities.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Love it even more after reading Luca Turin
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
showers are good
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
a little dab'll do ya
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?
high heels. again.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
gold bracelet my grandmother bought on a visit to Israel "the holy land" I can still see it on her beautiful tanned wrist.
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?
My grandmother's black lace ballgown that I had altered to fit me when I was really young that I'll never squeeze into again.
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?
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?
the crazy pants I wore in Paris in my youth.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
grey cashmere sweater?
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
fewer pieces of higher quality
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
black wool suit pants are gone but jacket still gets worn
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
Zapata dress I bought in Toronto that helped me break out of limiting conservative body image.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
perfect black cotton blazer and I do mean perfect
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
I can find things thanks to my container fetish
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
wedding ring was pretty good
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?
no I'm more of a thinker
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
very focused on a few stores that I know well
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I want to look well-brushed because I want to have it all together
80. How does money fit into all this?
it's a natural limit. I probably look a lot richer than I am thanks to inherited jewelry
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
a friend remarked on my "million dollar face" which is an enormous exaggeration but I loved her for saying it and I carry with me the idea that she thinks I'm beautiful.
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?
getting dressed for church as a child - more formal than my regular clothes.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in the middle of May
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
WASP for sure
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
married with children
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I worked at a fashion magazine but usually when I tell people that they don't believe me.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
somewhat more knowledgable about myself
she is happiest in the water.