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Yuling Chen

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I wear nice quality shoes and have a fresh face wearing only lipstick and sunscreen, I feel most attractive at that moment.

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

Yes. I notice woman who has a style that's unique and looks put-together.

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 was 14 or something and read a copy of vogue. There was only one image that struck me. It was a model in a blue denim dress and a white T-shirt. She was wearing a pair of high heeled wooden sandals with white socks. At the time, it was different from what people around me would wear, serene, understated and beautiful.

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

I don't have any rules... I tend to buy things impulsively. But at the same time, I will think about how to match it with my existing wardrobe. If it doesn't fit in, then I wouldn't buy it.

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

I will say for clothes, I buy whatever styles I like. I like breaking the rules and trying new styles. It's really fun. But I only wear flats or shoes with heels that are lower than 2 inches. It's important for me to walk comfortably.

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

I had a conversation with my boyfriend about it, when we were in university. He talked about matching colours and also making contrasts. I felt that was quite enlightening.

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

Not really.

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

I have multiple jackets. I love buying jackets. It makes me feel stylish and comfortable when I want it. I can put it on and also take it off when I feel like it.

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

No. But I'd love to. I tried to give my friend a ceramic brooch I liked. She was a good friend when I was in high school. However, I moved away to Canada and she stayed in China while we were in universities. I felt like I tried to make a connection through that act. But she didn't seem to impress by it. I was disappointed.

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


16. Please describe your body.

I'm quite slim, especially at waist. My thighs tend to gain weight though.

17. Please describe your mind.

My mind gets interested in different things and jumps around a lot. It's hard for me to focus. But once I'm focused, I will be completely immersed in what I'm doing.

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

I'm at home right now. I'm in my underwear and I have a clay mask on my face. My hair is a short bob.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

I talk about it with my best friend, my partner and sometimes with my mom.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

For work, I try to fit in and wear simple jeans and shirts. For school, I wear something more unique and stylish because I'm in an art school and don't want to dress like a tool. Hahaha.

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

I think I have both. I love well made clothes. However, as I have grown older, I have started to realize how important the style is. To me, it's a way to communicate your beings to the world and also a way to protect yourself from it. I began to learn more about the history of clothing and fabrics. Through understanding different fabrics, my discrimination against certain fabrics have dissolved.

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

I love every clothes I owned. But there was one legging I bought online that I felt like I should have not bought it. It was quite beautiful and sewn with translucent white sequins. But it was too tight and long for me. I never wear it.

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 generally picked things up. My parents sent me to boarding schools until I was 15. The girls around me in those schools were all very fashionable. They read various magazines and I would read some too even I didn't get to buy those clothes. My mum did teach me to take care of cashmere sweater and winter coats. My dad told me once about his idea of dressing. He said I should hide my weakness and show off my strength. :D I don't think I agree with him though.

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 being comfortable is to wear clothes that will not make you feel self-conscious and also allow you move with ease. I'm not sure I want to always feel comfortable. I like trying out new styles and uniquely designed clothes.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

I find clothing item like pushup bra quite unattractive. I think wearing tight clothes or clothes that show off traditional sex appeal could be really cute if there is a narrative behind it. But if it's just done to please, I can't help finding it lose its allure.

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?


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

I'm considering what I will do that day and dress accordingly.

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

It would look like a school girl in a prep school I guess.

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

I'm from China. And I live in Toronto right now. I have been influenced by both western and Chinese cultures. I love clothes with bold colours and patterns. And I also like the simplicity of cuts in western clothes.

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

I make sure my face is clean and put on some lipstick.

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

I'm working part-time in my school right now. And no one actually asks me to dress professionally at work because it's an art school. However, from what I observed, my colleagues dressed in T-shirts and jeans. I dress like that in my workplace too, because I want them to feel comfortable with me.

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?

I will wear a black short dress with some weird patterns on it with a black faux fur coat. I will also wear grey leggings, black scarf with a little red splashes, black leather gloves and black ankle boots. This image of myself makes me feel glamorously punk.

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

I like the era I'm in right now. I like modern clothes. However, if I have to choose, I'd like to live in China during Tang dynasty or 70s in France.

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

Yes, I have many dreams involved with clothes. There was one dream that I dressed like a superman with a red cape and red mini skirt. I was jumping among the hills to reach a ferris wheel radiating golden glow in the dark. While jumping, I could hear the billowing sound of my cape. My eyes sometimes caught a glimpse of the red silky fabric rolling out in the dark.

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 will wear a mini skirt or a romper.

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

I used to think perfume was magical. But I don't anymore and I never actually like wearing it.

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?

Jeans and jackets.

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

My red winter coat.

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

I will buy more basic items and jeans. I will buy some stylish black dresses. And I will still buy a lots of jackets or coats.

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

I have always tried to. But my drawers and closet are a mess.

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

My birth date is July 20 2015. I was born in Hainan, China. I am living in Toronto right now.

What kind of work do you do?

I studied chemistry in university and then decided to study fine art in another university. I think I can say I'm an artist, even though I'm still a student.

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

I'm married.

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

I read Women in Clothes and was touched by how it try to connect clothing to our ordinary life. And it really put my anxieties for dressing into context. I want to do this survey to explore these questions myself.

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