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Maya Critchfield

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

in colder months when I get to wear layers and many wool sweaters; when I'm riding my bike; and when I feel unexpectedly attractive, like when my hair is parted in the middle or when I'm wearing all black and not showing any skin.

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

effortless clothing, obvious antique elements, full eyebrows.

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?

having a uniform helps a lot. I used to get so incredibly anxious about what to wear, there were too many options, I just wanted to wear the same clothes everyday. Now I tend to wear a lot of dark colors but I have a few accent colors that I throw in as a rule to brighten things up. I think another change that has helped me a lot is having more androgynous clothing options; sometimes I get panicky when my clothes are hyper feminine and it is very comforting to look good in something that doesn't hug every curve.

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

impulse buys. sometimes just because it goes with your color scheme doesn't mean you'll wear it. also, trying to justify buying new clothes. I shop almost 100% at used and vintage stores but every once in awhile I buy something new and it irks me. there are just so many beautiful, well made, and well loved clothes out there, you just have to spend time looking, but you'll find what you're looking for.

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

beauty + functionality = simple and fulfilling.

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 thin wool sweaters that I like to layer when it gets colder. the perfect thickness for me is when I can wear it like a long-sleeved shirt without it being too hot or itchy. I am also on the quest for the perfect pair of underwear that will go with everything while still being a little bit sexy. I think my desire for having multiples is so I can vary my appearance while knowing that I'll be comfortable and not have to think too much when I get dressed in the morning.

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

I am a perfect blending of my mother and my father; at certain angles I can look like either of them when they were my age. I have my mother's auburn mane of hair as well as her full dark eyebrows, which are my oft-complimented feature. size- and style-wise, my mother and are very different but I've always been able to wear her clothes and jewelry and make it my own. it always makes me really happy when someone compliments me on something and I can say "it was my mother's".

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

I've gotten a lot of fashion inspiration from my friend nicole, who is VERY stylish and original with her clothes. she's at once very reverent and irreverent of her clothing: she will spend hours mending a holey t-shirt, then go through her closet and toss things my way saying "you should have this, it's very you,".

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

In the past year I've started having a default uniform, androgynous, mostly black, that I wear whenever I don't want to think about clothes. it's nice knowing that I can get creative and dress out of my comfort zone while knowing that I can go back to my uniform whenever I want.

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

having a small wardrobe that consists of mostly used and handmade clothing definitely feels like an act of defiance whenever I read a fashion blog or magazine. I think a lot of people are so concerned with who designed a piece of clothing rather than who actually made it, and what resources were wasted in the process.

16. Please describe your body.

an observation that an older woman made to me on the T yesterday: "I can't get a look at your body, but you have a great face."

17. Please describe your mind.

my best friend told me that I have a good hippocampus, which is the brain's center of emotion and memory. I think he's right.

18. Please describe your emotions.

see above! I am a very empathetic person, so I share the emotions of whoever I'm around.

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

I have a cold so I'm bundled up even though it's july. wool secondhand socks, black leggings, secondhand j.crew merino wool sweater (black), a mostly wool black and gray scarf I found for free on the sidewalk in boston, my watch, and my moonstone ring. my hair is growing out and just long enough for a small bun at the top of my head (and I only needed 1 bobby pin!). and of course, a snotty handkerchief. I almost never wear makeup, so nothing on my face except a runny nose.

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

it's important because everyone is wearing clothes in some way. even when I wear the same clothes for a week, I'm doing it for a reason. there in intentionality in everything I do with my body and what I put on it. my clothes have a history, my clothes get holes and need mending, my clothes give me the ability to be different iterations of myself.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

anyone and everyone. sometimes the most unexpected people.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

right now I'm working in a museum in a city and have to look put together everyday so I wear a lot of black because it makes me feel more professional and because I don't have to make up a whole new colorful outfit everyday. when I'm back at school, which is in a more rural setting, I'm still wearing a lot of dark colors but I am not so aware of what I'm wearing because we're all students living and working in the woods. function and comfort is much more important compared to appearance.

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

I like to think I have good style, which to me means that I can take anything and make it work. I think style is more an inherent, instinctual thing, and taste is learned. perhaps taste has to do with money.

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

maybe with food. I can dress up an egg something delicious, but I don't know how to cook with one.

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

simple, handmade items; antique and vintage pieces; anything made of wool, silk, or linen; clogs; dresses with pockets.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

colored ugg boots, neon synthetics.

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

on good days, I dress in the morning like I'm going to make love in the afternoon. on bad days I wear too many layers that don't fit well.

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

dressing up means changing my shoes, putting on very big earrings, and throwing tinted lip balm in my bag.

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

I already have a uniform, but if I could hand-make a uniform, I would include large linen dresses with big pockets and the perfectly-fitting pair of clogs.

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

I'm a born and bred mainer so clothes being warm and functional is always on my radar. it's july but I just bought a beautiful green j.crew peacoat because I'm always thinking ahead to the winter. in the summer, I feel that my style just goes out the window because my style is so centered around cold weather clothing.

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

short and clean nails, black clothing, clear skin.

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

I always wear black tights at work because all the women wearing shirts and bare legs look so cold, and even though I'm covered up, I feel more attractive than if I was showing off my legs.

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?

sometimes I get frustrated with my boobs and would like to wear a binder, even though my chest isn't that big. I really enjoy dressing in a more masculine way, but I don't like being confined to dressing one way or another; I let my whims and comfort be my guide.

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

I would love to wear a sari, or some variation of that. other than that, I love colonial american clothing.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

not normally, and I hate being told to smile in photographs. I think what makes me look good in a photo is when I'm wearing the expression that I'm feeling in the moment, no forced smiles.

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

I used to get really upset about my appearance, particularly my profile, in photographs, but I don't care as much now.

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

audrey horne from twin peaks and the women of the 60's and 70's.

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

two nights ago I dreamed that I was getting dressed up for a party and I was putting on makeup but I only did half of my face before going out.

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

I don't wear it, but I want to.

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

clean clothes, even if they are holey or worn in places make me feel infinitely better than putting on something that I've worn one too many times in a row.

62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?

it doesn't. I have very dark features and an angular face, so I don't use makeup. the farthest I'll go is wear tinted lip balm.

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

used, vintage, and free clothes, most of which as been mended many times or simply holey. big, silver, dangly earrings. lots of black and natural fibers. a few pairs of sturdy, nice shoes.

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

probably this pair of my mother's earrings. they are triangular and have these little wind-chime-like pieces that hang down. I wear them when I'm in a good mood and they jingle in my ears.

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?

I have three silk robes from southeast asia that my grandfather brought home when he was in the vietnam war. my younger brother and I used to wear them a lot as dress up clothes. I would never get rid of them to make space.

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?

good wool socks and comfortable underwear.

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?

a green down vest from the 80's that my cousin passed down to me. I forgot it at fencing practice and it never showed up.

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

a good sweater.

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

the perfect pair of pants. comfortable, but stylish. something I could wear in the country or the city.

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

a black faced analogue watch with gold accents that my partner gave me. knowing the time is very important to me I love that it is beautiful and functional all at once. if I ever forget to wear it, I feel at a loss all day.

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

I was born in and raised in maine and currently go to school there, although I'm in boston for the summer. I'm in love with new england and struggle with my identity as a nomadic nester.

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

I'm engaged to a musical, tool restoring, autodidact.

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

I am currently studying textile arts and clothing fits into that in a big way. I've always loved clothes, and I'm drawn to the importance of clothing and cloth throughout time. I'm a sucker for handmade clothes and love to mend well-loved articles of clothing.

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