Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I'm wearing a new dress
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I notice women that seem very confident in how they look, and very self-assured. Of course, I also notice women who have similar clothing to mine and how they style them - it gives me inspiration.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Many women have hairstyles or wear clothes that I don't think I could ever pull off, and they manage to look amazing and make it work for them.
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 realized that I couldn't just go out to a store, find anything that I was attracted to, and buy it. I had to make sure that I was buying clothing that fit with other pieces in my closet, and from there I developed my style.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Sales are nice, but I don't buy things just because they're cheap. If I've been meaning to buy it and it goes on sale, then that's wonderful. But if I really like the piece and I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it, I don't mind spending the money.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
Dark wash or black skinny jeans and sweaters are necessary staples for casual dressing from fall to spring.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I have many more sweaters than I need. I wear them so often that I've probably convinced myself that I need more than I actually do, and so when I go to the store to buy a replacement for one that's ripped I'll end up buying a few.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I gave a good friend a bead and pearl necklace for her graduation, and she wore it to her grad party. It meant a lot that she was wearing it not just out to dinner with me to show me that she hadn't lost it, but with a dress that matched. It made me feel like I had given her something that was an integral part of her wardrobe and that she would get good use out of.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I'm self conscious of my hips and legs, and I feel that boyfriend jeans would accentuate them in all the wrong ways. I've seen a few women pull them off successfully, but I feel that it's hard to find the perfect pair of flattering boyfriend jeans, while finding a pair of dark wash skinny jeans is much easier (although definitely not easy).
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mother has passed onto me wide hips, a narrow waist, and tiny shoulders. It's frustrating to be very different sizes from top to bottom. She has also, however, passed on to me a love of cashmere.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I used to absorb my sister's style as my own and wear her clothes when she'd let me, but now I have my own distinctive style that's different enough from hers that I have my own well-fitting pieces and she has hers. I do still borrow her beautiful pashmina scarves, however.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
My ex boyfriend was very well dressed, and his fashion sense inspired me to follow a few fashion blogs. They, in turn inspired me to come up with a list of items that could fill the gaps in my closet. Over the course of a year I cleared out old items in my closet I no longer wore and found pieces that I now wear quite often. I'd like to think that my wardrobe is now cohesive.
16. Please describe your body.
I'm tall, have wide hips, a narrow waist, narrow shoulders, a long neck, and muscular legs.
17. Please describe your mind.
I think quickly, which can be a good thing when it comes to comprehension and learning but can also lead me to jump to conclusions or make decisions without thinking them through.
18. Please describe your emotions.
I have a short fuse. I also make friends easily and am not slow to trust people.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I am wearing my makeup from today, glasses and pajamas. My hair is down.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
I talk about clothes with my mom and with my best friend. I work in a clothing store and I'll talk about the product and the store's image with clients and the other women that work there.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
Every brand is an institution, and each one is trying to sell an image molded around only its own products. It's the consumer's responsibility to see through this image to the product and how it can help the consumer, not the brand.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
I think that when something doesn't fit your taste, it's just not your preference. But when something doesn't fit your style, it doesn't show you how you want to be seen.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I bought an expensive pair of rain boots that I rarely wear, because rain boots are cumbersome to wear all day and they get very warm. Also, walking from my house to the car in the rain doesn't bother me so much that I need waterproof boots.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
A longer jacket makes me feel like I can get away with not having a great butt. If I haven't had a chance to work out in a little bit, or I feel self conscious that day, I can throw on dark pants and a long jacket.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Style in this sense to me means a mannerism or way to go about doing things. My style when approaching work is to break it into small pieces and do one thing at a time. My style when packing is to make a list and then pick out each thing I need at a time, instead of dumping it all on the bed and then folding it into the suitcase. Etcetera.
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?
When my weight went up unexpectedly, I wore a floaty black dress that covered my problem areas and made me feel pretty, even though I was very self conscious.
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 think that at this point I have an image in my head of how I want to dress. This image is open to changing, and has evolved as I have gotten older. But I usually know what I want and how to get it. I think this stems from being a decisive person and often making decisions instinctively and then sticking to them.
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?
My mom taught me the merits of taking care of clothing - folding, ironing, sewing, etc. I now have much more respect for my clothes than many of my friends do and always take care to hang them up neatly or fold them with care.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I'll straighten my hair, or wear a smoky eye, or heels, or a pretty dress.
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?
Feeling comfortable is pretty self explanatory. No matter how cute it is, if something makes you uncomfortable, you will eventually stop wearing it for that very reason. Confidence is much more difficult. I feel confident when I'm wearing a new outfit or hairstyle. Or when I receive a compliment after trying to look put together. The more time I put into my outfit, usually, the more confident I feel that I look good.
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?
I wear a lot of expensive basics in neutral colors. I wear the same jacket and boots almost every day in the winter, and rotate a few pairs of very nice jeans. I have a plethora of sweaters, and then a few statement necklaces. So, I would say that everyone needs to find their own basics, whatever they may be. Spend as much as you need to to find perfectly fitting ones. And then build from there.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Well fitting clothes in flattering colors.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Turtlenecks. Overalls. Denim vests. Clothing that is either clearly too small for someone, or too big even for those favoring an oversized clothes look.
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?
Sometimes I'll see something on a person with great style and I'll buy something similar while trying to channel them, and it often doesn't work out. It's not my style, it's theirs. And so it doesn't work for me. I've learned to tune that out and listen to my own style instead of other people's.
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 don't really think about what other people are going to see. I wear clothes that I feel attractive in, put on makeup I feel sexy in, look for flaws in my outfit or makeup, fix that, and then head out.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I have my routine down pretty well by this point. I don't have to think about makeup application because it's so engrained in me. I'll pick out clothes the night before because I'm not a morning person. But I really can't think much in the morning until I eat breakfast and have coffee.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I'm trying to feel confident and beautiful and look thin.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is what you do every day. Dressing up is what you do when you're going somewhere special.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
Dark wash or black J Brand skinny jeans, Madewell pullover sweaters, my Barbour Beadnell sage green jacket, my black Frye engineer boots, pearl earrings, and a few necklaces from Madewell and Jcrew.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
I like preppier neutrals - black, grey, white, and blue are my favorites. I also like dark green. I really don't like warm colors like red, orange, pink, and yellow. I don't think they compliment my skin tone or go with the other clothes in my closet. I'm not a girly person, and the only pink I ever wear is pale pink nail polish. I do, however, like something that makes a statement in my outfit, whether it be a necklace or leopard print flats.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I'm from a very preppy area, and so that has influenced what brands I've grown up around. Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and JCrew are everywhere where I live, and so I now see these brands as representative of the people that I know.
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?
I used to buy things impulsively without thinking about how they went with other things in my closet. As a result, I had a lot of clothes in my closet that didn't go with each other. For example, two years ago I wanted a pair of brown knee high boots. I had a gift card to a store I didn't shop at, but I wanted to spend it so I walked in, bought the pair of cheap brown boots that I liked the best, and left. They ended up sagging and looking really terrible after only a few wears. I got rid of them, and as of now I've had my eye on a pair of brown boots for close to a year. They're expensive, but if I've been thinking about them for this long, I'm sure I can get a lot of wear out of them.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
I'll straighten my hair to make it more professional, wear glasses to feel smarter, and wear less eye makeup.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
We are encouraged to wear clothing from the company I work at in my workplace, but often I'll wear clothing I own in that color palette but not from the company. Although allowed, most people just wear clothing straight from that company. I'd rather incorporate my own clothing and style into the company's clothes and keep my originality.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
I used to lifeguard, and we were required to wear a lifeguard suit, the pool's tee, and red shorts.
47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?
I wore black shorts because almost no one looks good in head to toe red.
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I would prefer not 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?
Sweaters, jeans, and boots. It's basic, comfortable, casual, and with the right fit the jeans can feel almost like leggings and the sweater can feel like a classy sweatshirt. It makes me look like I tried when all I really did was roll out of bed and throw on my clothes.
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?
No, men are very limited in their popular clothing options. Conventional male dressers don't wear dresses, skirts, or makeup. Hair is usually one style only, while shoe options are also quite limited - no heels, wedges, flats, tall boots, or as many styles of sandals. Additionally, the masculine style is a great look on women, but most men don't try wear feminine-inspired looks.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
I think there is so much freedom in how we can currently dress that I would stick to where and when I am right now. There are so many options available.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
Yes, when I'm wearing makeup.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
First I look for flaws, and if there aren't any that are too bad, I think it's a good photo.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
I like Alexa Chung's style, and also the blogger Julia Engel (gal meets glam). Additionally, forgive the prep cliché but I do love Jackie Kennedy's style.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
I had a dream that someone gave me a gorgeous little Chloé bag (which retails for $800), but then I woke up.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
I'm not a girly person, and to try dressing in loud prints or red, pink, orange, and yellow would make me feel uncomfortable. I'd rather wear something that fit well in a neutral color than something in a bright color that fits less well.
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 more body con dresses and skirts, and maybe a crop top or two on occasion.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I try to look attractive, and if someone I find attractive is attracted to me then that's wonderful. But I don't dress to please an image of a man in my head.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Neutrals are your friend. Always start with neutrals and then swap out as necessary to make the outfit more exciting.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I switch off between MJ Daisy, Miss Dior, and Chance by Chanel. It depends on my mood - MJ is more for a girl's night or the spring, Miss Dior is for winter or professional occasions, etc.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I can't be wearing sweatpants or a sweatshirt when I leave the house. I have to be wearing either boots or sandals, or converse if they're sneakers.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I need to put on my face at the very least foundation, powder, and mascara. Preferably, liner, shadow, blush, and an eyebrow pencil are used as well.
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?
I'm not really into leather jackets, but my love of dark colors and neutrals would let leather fit into my closet nicely. It's just not really my style.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
I have a few pieces of jewelry that I rarely take off. My pearl studs go with gold or silver necklaces, so those I keep in for a long time. I have a David Yurman bracelet I got for a graduation, and it's very special to me so I always wear it. I also wear my grandmother's watch 24/7, a bracelet I bought while shopping with my mom and sister on vacation one summer, and a ring that my aunt and uncle gave to me.
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?
A black long sleeved shirt with a grey stripe down the sleeve (it's better looking than it sounds). I used to wear an insane amount of black, and this shirt fits with that style and is cool without being depressing. I just don't think it's my style anymore. But it's too cute to get rid of.
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, white sweaters, converse sneakers, my frye boots, and my barbour jacket.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
My Barbour jacket is probably my favorite thing I own. I love the versatile green color and masculine shape. Also it's warm enough for fall, spring, and parts of winter.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I basically did that a few years ago, and I love where it is now. I've bought almost all the basics I need, and now I'm buying little frivolous things here and there.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
I bought a pair of short black leather Frye boots. I still wear them, and I make sure to take good care of them by wiping them down and polishing them with wax. They go with all my clothes and I virtually never take them off in the winter.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
I spend an enormous amount of money on a Barbour jacket, but I love that thing to death and it goes with almost everything I now own, because i made sure of that before buying anything else.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
Tall brown leather boots! There are a pair by Frye that I love (mentioned earlier) that I've been debating buying for almost a year. I think I'm almost ready to, but I need to be 100% sure.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
I am a little OCD and like my clothes to be neatly folded and organized by category and then by color.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My mom gave me a necklace that I loved but was too expensive for me to justify buying, and I wear it almost every day still.
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?
I bought a white knit pullover sweater, and I wore it so much that it got holes in it. I bought a few more, and this started my sweater obsession.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I like to shop online and find things I like. Then I like to go into the store and try them on. Often when I just go straight to the store without looking online first, I'm distracted by my impulses and end up buying clothing that I don't really need. Shopping online first helps me tune out all the noise in the store that comes from clothing that I might buy on impulse if I didn't have a clear goal in mind.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
I like to smell clean. I'm self conscious of smelling too strongly of perfume so rarely do I spritz more than once. I'd rather have my shampoo and body wash and clothes let off a subtle scent of cleanliness.
80. How does money fit into all this?
Clothing is my biggest expense, but rarely do I actually buy things. If it's an expensive item I'll wait and think about it for a while before actually spending so much money. Sometimes I'll decide that the piece isn't worth the money. Sometimes I'll decide it is. But cost per wear is much more important than store price.
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 wear my grandmother's watch and my pearl stud earrings every day.
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 was cleaning out my closet before my style shifted and my friend was diplomatically criticizing my clothing for not being flattering or cohesive. As she was pointing out the flaws, I realized how right she was about almost everything.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in 1997. I now live in Massachusetts.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I'm from a preppy, white, suburban area, and so clothing is often expensive but never too flashy.
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I've been trying to define my style and I was hoping this survey would help me do that.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I feel like I understand my clothing and style philosophy a little more.