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Ana Meneses Naranjo
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I wear my favourite clothes, those ones that show the side of my personality that I want to show at that specific moment.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Yes, I do. Most of the times I admire women that look elegant and comfortable in their clothes, especially if the clothes look original to me. I doesn´t matter the age, race or complexion, as long as they look neat.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I admire but not envy women that can walk with high heels, and how much time some women have to dedicate to how they look.
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?
Recently, I found out that I was trying to please other people when I bought clothes, and ended up with lots of items and no time or place to wear them, so I decided to listen to my own taste carefully, and try to adapt it to the circumstances. I realized it after breaking up with my last boyfriend and went shopping for new clothes.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
I don´t buy anything unless I´m really sure that I am gonna use it, or return those items that I bought and didn´t use right away.
I prefer shopping online, that helps me seeing everything in detail and making better decissions without being constantly disrupted by loud music, neverending queues for the fiitingroom and being carried away by the need for buying something no matter what.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I try not to wear skirts that go higher than my knees, never overdo my stile, trying to keep it a bit casual. I don´t usually wear light colors, no fluor at all, and I don´t like those kind of clothes designed to please men.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
I don´t use to talk about fashion. When I was younger, I decided to wear dirty old clothes to protest against my familiy´s attempts of making me look normal according to their standards. I always look at clothes as statement.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Yes, and I bought them because I thought I´d use the new one once the old one became too old to be used and due to the constant change of fashion dictations, I was afraid that I wouldn´t find a substitution for that item.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Yes. Although it´s difficult these days, because once something becomes a trend, it´s everywhere and it´s difficult to find alternatives. Luckily, the trends change so fast nowadays, that I probably find something nice to wear on the next round.
I refuse to wear those fake old jeans full of holes that are trendy right now.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Yes. I took from my mother a tomboy stile, with little makeup and comfortable clothing. Of course I added my own style to it, and my mother´s body is not so much like mine, so I use clothes that she´d never use when she was my age.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I have done it when I was a teenager, but now not anymore. At least consciously.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
Yes. I went to live with a boyfriend that thought my stile was not good enough for him, and he went shopping for me. Then I lost my sense of style, and carried along for several years wearing clothes that I don´t understand today. I was trying to please somebody else by being other person than myself. Big mistake! And lesson learnt.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
I guess I wear things that conservative people could judge as inappropriate, and I do it on purpose as well as because I like those clothes.
16. Please describe your body.
My body is short, with thin upper body and a thicker lower body. My breasts are considerably big, but in proportion with my heaps. I have that kind of guitar body shape.
17. Please describe your mind.
My mind is quite organized, capable or dealing with hard stuff and relativize, curious, open to new ideas and ways of thinking, and thirsty for knowledge. I have a strong mind in general.
18. Please describe your emotions.
My emotions are naturally intense, but I am capable of deciding how much they affect me. They are generally positive emotions about the beauty of life and things, sometimes mellancholic, and very few times angry or destructive.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
I am waring two sport t shirts and a really old sweater, and pijama bottoms, socks and flipflops. I have no makeup on, and my hair is tied up in a bun.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
The way I dress myself determines what kind of narrow-minded people are gonna approach me, and how serious are they gonna take me. It´s important to know how to use my image so that I get what I´m looking for from people that will judge me according to my image. For the rest, as long as I feel good-looking and comfortable, it´s not important at all.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
With some of the members of my family and friends.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
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 style and taste, and the most important for me is to have style. Style means that I wear things that people would recognize as mine, and taste means that I can find something beautiful although I would´t wear it.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
Not specifically, but I recall having bought several things in my life that never made it out of the closet. That feels really stupid.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
I never show my knees, hoping that my legs look thinner than they actually are.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Yes. In the way I decorate my house, the books I read, the music I listen to, the people I choose to be friends with, the way I relate to them, the way I relate to everybody.
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. I wear mostly black clothes because they make me feel protected from losing my energy, as well as a tougher than I actually am.
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?
Yes, I know what I like. It comes from listening to myself with concentration and withought judging my thoughts. That´s the way I found to feel connected with myself, and therefore feel good about who I am, instead of trying to be somebody that I´m not.
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?
Yes. They tried to make me think that it´s bad to draw other people´s attention by wearing flashy clothes, or even slightly different from what they thought was "normal".
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I choose the clothes that suit me better at that moment, and wash my hair and do a little bit of makeup to enhance my features. Clean underwear usually helps.
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?
Comfortable means that your clothes don´t hurt your body, are appropriate to the moment in terms of what you are supposed to do while wearing them and in terms of what other people are wearing too, wether you prefer fitting in or being shocking, or make a statement.
Confident means that you wear what you like, no matter what other people will say.
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´d say that the most important thing is to find what you really like, and adapt it to the shapes of your body to enhance your beauty.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
I have a quest to find beauty in everything and everybody, and it´s been successful sofar.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Separatedly from the rest of things and isolated, I think I don´t know anything that is very ugly. An unlucky combination of things can be ugly.
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, I have learned that recently. I just need to separate who I am from who I want to be, and buy only the things I need to continue to be who I really am.
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 look myself in the mirror and I see a beautiful, quirky, underground woman that is rather sexy but approachable, likes music, clothing and is not dumb at all.
I base this in the feedback I get from others, and I identify myself with it.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Lately I only dressed to go to work, and I try to choose something that feels comfortable but trendy. Most of the times I think about what I´m gonna wear the night before, but sometimes I change my mind in the morning based on how I feel.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
I try to enhance the parts of my body that I like the most, feel comfortable and appropriate to a certain extent, and look neat and stylish.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is what I do everyday, trying to look my best when I go out of the house, and not giving a fly when I stay in. Dressing up is just a pain in the ass, that for most people end up being counterproductive, and I intent to not have to do it anymore. If I was invited to the Oscars ceremony, I´d like to go on my pijamas.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
It would be a black overall. Sometimes I wish I dared to do that. I even entertain the thought of getting myself a burka -and I know how controverted this sounds- so I don´t have to worry about how I look like. Unfortunately, men are put in the world to look, and women to be looked at. That means that men walk around looking at women and considering them as sexual partners, and women have to stay put, look down and accept it, without looking back unless they´re trying to give the man a hint of being interested in him.
Therefore, a burka would be perfect to look withought being looked at.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
Black, T-shirts, boots, red lipstick is me. High heels, girly girl style, overproduced hair and make up, fake nails, fake boobs, anything that looks fake (which is not the same as anything fake, thinking of my pushbra and the enormous amount of products that I use to make my hair look civilized) is not me.
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
I am Spanish from Spain. I can recognize Spanish people when I see them, but I seem to not be capable of seing my own "spanishness".
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?
Yes, when my parents chose the things I could wear. I had to wear my big brother´s old clothes and I had short hair so children at school didn´t really know for a while whether I was a boy or a girl. I didn´t care much, but when I grew a little older, I felt inadecquate and embarrased about my clothes all the time, until I started hiding my favourite clothes and wearing them when my family wasn´t around.
Also, my grandmother dictates what to wear around her, and anybody seems to be getting it right, so when I visit her I end up wearing something that neither me nor my grandmother like at all. And it sucks. I feel then like I am not going to be able to fully express who I am, and the kind of person that I look like is probably a f***ing idiot.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
Fortunately, I don´t have to worry about looking professional for the kind of job that I have. I feel proffessional because I am, not because of what I´m wearing.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
There are many things I don´t wear when I go to work, because I´m the oldest one there and I seem to be choosing what to wear based on how young I look with it on.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
I would probably like to have a uniform so I don´t have to spend time thinking of what I´m gonna wear. Sometimes I like to play with clothes, but most of the times I prefer to play with other things.
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?
A lumberjack shirt. There are always a couple in my wardrobe. I like that it´s csual, quite versatile and reminds me of the people from the american series that I used to watch when I was little.
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?
Absolutely. I wish I was a man for a day, or in a future reincarnation if there happens to be one, so I know how it feels. But generally, I like being what I am. I don´t think of myself as a woman, but as a person called woman because of her body features. But when I see how men normally don´t struggle with the size of their butts, and don´t need to choose among so many styles, which is confusing and tiring, yes, those times, I wish I had a man´s body. But I reckon the opposite thought has crossed open-minded men´s minds as well.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
Yes, but I´m shy in front of a camera, and I tend to do silly things and ruin all my pictures. I guess I am too concious about who will see my picture and I get blocked.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Most of the times I think I wish I could relax in front of a camera. But when someone gets a picture of me in which I´m not acting like a clown, I usually really like what I see.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
I see people whose style I like, and I probably incorporate it to my own style choices, but I am not fully aware.
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
Yes, clothes in a suitcase that was missing when I was about to travel somewhere else.
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
Anything that doesn´t feel natural according to my taste.
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 boyfriend jeans and shorts if I thought that my latino rear and the legs that support it would look on them. But it´s not the case.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I´m trying to attract men in general, but it was more when I wasn´t aware of the tricks of nature to make us reproduct for species survival. Now I am aware of this, and more and more don´t care for anyone else but me when I get dressed.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
No. Please wear whatever you like, be whoever you wanna be, care or don´t care about style... the choice is yours and style is as important as you want it to be.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I really like smelling other people´s perfum when I walk outside. Smell is a very beautiful sense. As for me, I normally like fragrances that are not gender specific and smell close to natural things like wood or plants.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Take a shower, apply a little makeup, and wear clean clothes.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I use it more often than before because I have two new stains that look like a moustache from the distance, so I cover them although I don´t particularly think they´re ugly, but because of peer pressure.
I love red lipstick, it adds colour to my styke, because I tend to wear dark colour clothes.
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?
Not that I know.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
I have all my clothes in a closet that is not completely full and I´m proud to say that I use each and everyone of them. As for jewelry, a couple of things that my Grandma gave me and don´t dare to throw away, and another couple of things that I keep cause they mean something to me, but usually never wear.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
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 don´t do that anymore. I realized that if I get rid of all the things that fill my closet but wouldn´t buy at this very moment, the leftovers are just all I need, combines perfectly, shows who I am, and relieves me from the guilt of buying with no criterium.
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?
Yes, the things that I used to exhaustion.
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?
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
I wouldn´t choose based on who I wish I was, but on who I am or realistically can be.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
Never did such a thing.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
Not that I recall.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
I´ve had that before, but I realized that what I was looking for wasn´t an item of clothing, but a different bodyshape to be able to like myself on specific kind of clothes.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Organized and simple, so I can understand what I have and how to combine it, although my taste slightly changes all the time, so there´s always a couple of things that I own but don´t know exactly what to do with.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
My ex-mother-in-law gave me a ring that her father gave to her, and that was touching gesture, but I never liked the ring, the woman, or the engagement with my ex, so I broke up with all of them. The ring is back with it´s owner.
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 think so, but I don´t know exactly what it was.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I shop online, mostly when I´m bored. It seems like I always need new clothes, though.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
Most of the times I like to smell of clean clothes, and sometimes I like to give myself a touch of cologne.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
I want to look good whenever I want to, and my current job doesn´t give me the freedom to choose, but I am about to jump into a new reality in which I can work from home, so there won´t be anybody around to tell me what to wear.
80. How does money fit into all this?
I don´t need much money to dress myself close to the way I want. Sometimes I find an item that I love but it´s ridiculously expensive. In those cases I walk away without buying it, and it feels sooo god!
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 carry my lipstick in my purse, although I don´t use it everyday.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
My father is the master of negative and destabilizing comments on my appearence. I guess he would like me to look like one of these women that obtuse men consider more attractive (you know, perfect hair and makeup, showing some curves, trying to please the male audience). What an ass.
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 think it was when I was at school and realized that most of the girls looked like girls and I didn´t. I asked my mother to pierce my ears so that people would know that I was a girl.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born the 5th of March, 1981, in Madrid, Spain. I currently live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
I come from a catholic country and family, but I´m not catholic or religious in any way. I´m latino, with olive skin, brown eyes, thick and curly long hair and curvy not too thin not too thick body according to the current social standards. Some members of my family have or have had money and properties, but I don´t have anything to do with that. I earn enough money to live the way I want.
What kind of work do you do?
I work in a coffeeshop in Amsterdam to pay for my studies. I sell weed for a living. I´m not proud of the backside of this business, we all know the problem with illegal drugs and mafias, families that suffer...
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
I am single, just exactly the way I was when I was born.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
Clothing is been a major issue all my life, so I tend to not care so much about how I look, and more about what other people think of me based on how I look. Also, my father is an abuser, so I have daddy issues, self esteem issues, and gender issues. I am such a treat!
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I feel good because I get to think about something I do everyday but don´t give much thought to, as well as for the opportunity to talk about myself.
I was abused by my father, so was the rest of my family, so I spent most of my life trying to understand and recover. I am an artist, but always worked as a waitress for a living, and now I´m studying translation to get out of the hospitality thing, which was never my choice but my fate, and I´ve been doing it already for 19 years. I currently live in Amsterdam, and I´m making myself ready to be able to travel wherever and whenever I want.