Read Surveys (By Author)

Hannah Claire

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

I feel at my most attractive when I'm happy. I'm not sure what the cause-effect relationship is, whether it's that my attractiveness (clear skin, hair not doing anything weird, etc) causes me to be happy or whether my body reacts to my emotional state. I just know that I always feel good about the way I look when I feel good about other aspects of my life and I always hate the way I look when I'm depressed or don't have much else going on in my life.

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

I notice women on the street who look like me, who also have short hair, who also have glasses. I notice women wearing clothes that I would buy if I saw them on a rack. I notice old women who wear bright colors, thick eyeliner, and fur. I notice women on the metro who effortlessly apply makeup in the morning. I notice women who look like they have their shit together. I notice women who like they have priorities more important than clothes or makeup but who have beautiful style in spite of or maybe because of that.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

I admire women who present themselves in a way that expresses something personal. In general, the quality I admire most in others is vulnerability and honesty. I think there's a way that certain people dress that is about using their exterior presentation to be true to their inner lives. I admire a woman who truly doesn't care about conforming to conventional beauty and standards and doesn't shave or wear makeup can be deeply beautiful. I also admire a woman who has dedicated herself to the craft of makeup because her winged eyeliner expresses something that wouldn't be visible with just a bare face. I admire people who use clothing or makeup to express their gender in nonconforming ways. I admire women who present themselves in a way that almost makes it easier to get to know them because there's an element about them that's visible before we even speak.

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?

For the longest time, I was deeply insecure about my hair. It was frizzy and poofy and awkward and never behaved in the ways I wanted it to. It never occurred to me that women in magazines with perfect hair spent hours using different products to get it to look like that. The day before I left home for college, I cut my hair into a pixie cut and it's been that way ever since. Now I never have to worry about spending hours and products getting it to look like magazine-girl-hair, and I feel much more feminine than I ever did when it was long. The development of other elements of my style and appearance have been fairly gradual.

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

When I shop for myself, I have trouble spending money on the little things. Why spend $70 on a bra when I could buy three thrift store dresses for that price? I spend money on the things that make me happy immediately rather than on the "basics."

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

Ignore all the rules you've ever read in magazines.

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

I cannot remember a single transformative, or even interesting conversation I've had on the subject of fashion or style. I don't have a lot of people in my life who seem to share my interest in fashion. I recently confessed to one of my closest friends that I thought it would be fun as a career aspiration to write about style and she asked me why with an almost dismissive tone to her voice. I found it hard to articulate out loud in that moment why style interests me. I always tell people I'm "secretly" interested in fashion, but it's not so much that I keep my interest a secret. It's more that my thoughts about style and how it relates to feminism and identity are a kind of personal, private mission that I've developed through a kind of study rather than through conversations in real life.

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

No. I'm all over the place.

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

I own a lot of dresses, especially floor-length dresses and brightly colored dresses. The floor-length thing developed after I bought this perfect vintage '70's floral maxi dress that makes me feel like I should live on a commune and bring people baskets of fruit. I love that dress so much that I try use other clothes to recreate the feeling I got when I first put it on.

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

No, I never buy people clothing or jewelry. My friends and I shop together but we don't really gift each other clothing.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

I don't really consider my not participating in fashion trends a "refusual." I don't have anything against fashion trends. People should wear whatever makes them feel beautiful and/or comfortable. Sometimes people feel more beautiful when they're wearing the latest trend. I just don't really keep track of those things. I buy mostly used clothing. I'm probably inadvertently following any number of trends.

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

I love my mother, but I have inherited literally none of her style or feelings about style. My mom was just never interested in any of those things. She only wears dresses on very special occasions and never looks comfortable when she does. I love her, but as an adolescent I always wished I had an older sister who could teach me about clothes and makeup and hair because my mom didn't have any of that knowledge. I did inhererit her eyebrows and I remember her telling me to pluck them by numbing the area first with ice cubes (which I later learned you shouldn't do).

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

I have one friend who wears red lipstick every single day of her life. Once I told her that I wished I could "pull off" red lipstick like her, but I didn't think that I could. She insisted that everyone has their color and took me on a trip to Sephora where we discovered a NARS shade of red that was perfect for me. It took me about two years to build up the confidence to actually wear the lipstick, but now I often wear it and when people compliment me or tell me they wish they could pull of red lipstick, I always tell them what my friend said.

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

Up until I was about five or six years old, I refused to wear pants. I would only wear skirts or dresses, preferably of the twirly variety. Then one day I got a hand-me-down pair of jeans from one of my cousins. I tried it on, and from that moment on until I was about twelve I refused to wear skirts or dresses.

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

I have a pixie cut. Once when I was studying abroad in Chile a man asked me if my hair was a "political decision." I was slightly offended by this question because it implied that there had to be some ulterior motive for me to cut my hair. It couldn't just because it looked good or because I liked it or because short hair is easier to take care of. Men ask me about my fairly often, which irritates me. I feel like a man would never get questioned about his decision to grow a beard or to grow his hair long. So no, there's nothing inherently political about the way I dress, but women's bodies are often considered part of the public domain, and therefore any decision that's not the norm is politicized.

16. Please describe your body.

I'm medium height and fairly skinny. I have a curvy bottom and small breasts. I have some stretch marks on my hips and thighs and brown moles of various sizes everywhere. I have scoliosis so my spine curves to the left and affects my posture. I have the tiniest wrists and very dark body hair which I shave in certain places and not others.

17. Please describe your mind.

literary, self-critical, obsessive, analytical, overactive, curious, creative, poetic, dirty, chaotic, judgemental, weird

18. Please describe your emotions.

I always say that emotions are stupid. You can control your actions and you can control how you respond to your emotions, but you can't control your emotions. Mine are not logical. They overreact to tiny moments. They make me feel good about people who are bad for me. They make me incredibly anxious about things that have no real consequence on anything. They are stupid.

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

A purple dress with white polka-dots and a pair of underwear. I have a pixie cut, so I never do anything to my hair. No makeup right now.

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

From a very young age, women are taught two things: 1.) That our entire value comes from our physical appearance and 2.) that virtually no one can reach the standard for physical beauty. Our bodies are also viewed as public domain; men on the street feel like it's their right to comment on how we look. Women internalize this form of misogyny by competing with other women. We'll also hang out with one another and compete with each other for who gets to hate their body the most. We can see how we either internalize these messages or actively fight against them through what we put on our bodies.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

I talk about clothes with the people I go shopping with, but I do wish I had more people with whom I could talk about clothes on a more general level.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Not in a way that I'm conscious of.

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

I think that taste is what you like and style is how you express that on yourself. Some people might like a certain look but not feel confident enough to express it on their own body. I don't think it's fair to say which one is more important. I have both taste and style but there have been times in my life when my style didn't reflect my taste. I didn't have the resources or the time to devote to developing my own style. I feel like people can get a little bit judgemental or self-righteous when they talk about the definition of the word 'style' -- like anyone who follows fashion trends or doesn't have unique taste is somehow inferior. Some people just don't have the time to care about these things, and that's okay.

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

Yes. When I was 20 I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile and took a trip to Buenos Aires. I had a lot of ideas about things that I "should" be doing abroad, and one of them was this idea of building a wardrobe that consisted of pieces people would ask me about and I could respond "Oh, this? I got it in Buenos Aires." I've always liked the idea of being a specific type of interesting person who has stories about all my clothes. With this in mind, I jumped at the chance to buy something at a street market in a hip neighborhood of Buenos Aires. I ended up buying a dress that was something like fifty dollars (expensive for a college student with no income) and I literally never wore that dress. It was strapless and came with a kind of complicated sash and pin situation that just didn't suit me.

25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?

My main trick is just to wear lots of dresses. You put on one piece of clothing and people think you have style. No matching, coordinating, or overthinking involved (usually).

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

I have a writing style. That's probably the main one.

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?

Dating. I know there's that stereotype about women standing in front of a mirror trying to decide what to wear or calling their friends for advice. I'm a very socially anxious person and so whenever I've had a date with someone I really liked, it's been helpful for me to be deliberate on what I wore. Actually, I guess it can help in any social situation.

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 definitely know what I like in the area of fashion and am also very discerning when it comes to other areas of culture (literature, cinema, tv, food, etc). I think this comes from the way I was raised. My family has always communicated more by sharing books and movies with one another than by actually talking about our lives. I'm less discerning when it comes to things that apply more practically to life. I'm not as discerning when it comes to men, friendships, jobs, deciding what I want to do with my life, etc. I think this is because I'm twenty-four and I don't I know what I want in the big scheme of things.

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 parents never taught me anything about clothing. My Mom has no interest in it whatsoever. From ages about 7-12 all my clothes were hand-me-downs from my older cousins (all of whom were several sizes larger than me, so I had to wear belts in order to keep my jeans from slipping off my body). When I got older I had an aunt who would take me shopping, but developing my own sense of style and knowledge of clothing was a gradual process that I discovered on my own.

30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?

I feel like the word "sexy" and especially "alluring" both imply consciously dressing in order to attract other people. I don't do that. I remember the first time I ever went on a date where I consciously chose clothes that I thought my date would like. Even though I really liked him, it felt really gross to dress in order to fit my idea of what a man would like. I don't do anything to feel sexy or alluring because those things don't really appeal to me stylistically.

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 kind of hate the way people use the word confidence. Women tell other women that they "just" need confidence as if all they need to do is run to a store and pick it up. People tell women to be "confident" as if it's their own fault that they have low self-esteem, and not the result of all kinds of environmental and social factors. When people say "confident," they imply a kind of self-aware confidence, a confidence that comes from saying "I'm going to wear this anyway!" I feel like "I don't care what anyone thinks" means they're acknowledging that people will think they're doing something wrong. A young girl who hasn't learned to hate her body yet isn't considered "confident." I don't think the word confident really means anything.

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 wouldn't say anything because I don't have a style philosophy.

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

a piece of grafitti I used to see on my commute to work every day that just said "HOW TO LOVE" on the side of an ugly building, a mole on my mother's wrist, summer rainstorms, tulips, sperm whales, the Sonoran desert

34. What do you consider very ugly?

There is only one aesthetic thing that I find really really ugly and wish I didn't: facial piercings. Particularly around the mouth. I think people should do whatever they want to their bodies that makes them feel good, and I've had friends who had facial piercings who had great style, but I just get this visceral reaction when I see people with holes in their faces -- it's like an irrational phobia/ pet peeve. I find it gross.

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, generally. Occasionally I'll get swept up in the excitement of the process of shopping, especially if I'm traveling and there's a cute market or something, and I'll buy something I won't end up wearing. But usually I only spend money on things that make me feel really, really good and that's a pretty good way to know if I'll end up wearing it.

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 think I view myself from the outside before I go out. I sometimes view myself from the outside when I see pictures later. In these situations, I'm usually thinking from the perspective of someone who used to know but who I haven't seen in ten years, or from the perspective of someone I'd like to fuck, or from the perspective of someone I want to be friends with but don't know very well. But when I'm just looking in the mirror, I I'm looking from the inside out, trying to reconcile the version of myself that lives in my head with the version that people see. I'm asking myself questions to find out whether those two people coincide.

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

I'm considering the weather, what clothes I have clean, and what I'm going to be doing that day.

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

I'm trying to make the version of myself that exists in my head and the version of myself that people can see from the outside correspond in a way that makes me feel powerful and beautiful.

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

There isn't a big difference for me. I still think of characters when I buy clothes. I have a dress that I think is my "Winona Ryder in Reality Bites" dress, and a dress that looks like something a hip, 40-year-old mom who lives in Park Slope would wear, and a dress that makes me feel like I'm living on a commune in the '60s. Whenever I choose to wear one of those dresses, I'm "dressing up" as a certain character. It's just that after I've lived in those clothes for a while, the character and me start to blend until I'm just dressing.

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

It would something long and flowy and floral.

41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?

Me: bright colors, loud patterns, floral patterns, polka-dots, vintage from the sixties, seventies, and nineties, long skirts, red lipstick, "hipster" glasses, short hair. I especially like any clothes that feel like they have a story behind them, like someone interesting from the past would have worn them. I like the idea of someone asking me where I got a piece of clothing and being able to tell them a story about where and when and how I found it.

Not me: anything that looks like it's intentionally going for "sexy"

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

I'm American. Jewish on my Mom's side. I'm not sure that this has influenced the way I dress in any specific way that I'm conscious of.

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?

From ages about 7-12, I only wore pants. I refused to wear skirts or dresses. I defined myself as a "tomboy" at that time, even though I hated everything else that would have made me a tomboy, like sports. I remember my friends and I would talk about how much we hated "girly girls." Girly girls were the worst thing you could be. I think childhood and adolescence for me were all about defining myself more by the things I didn't want to be than by things I wanted to be or was. I didn't want to be "girly" -- I wanted to be smart and creative and different, so I only wore pants. Obviously as an adult I see that those things are not mutually exclusive.

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

I don't really know yet; I only graduated college two years ago and I haven't really mastered the art of feeling "professional" yet.

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

There aren't really a whole lot of expectations at my workplace as far as dress; I'm lucky that way.

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?

The only time I ever had to wear a uniform was in middle and high school orchestra. It irritated me because I switched schools from seventh to eighth grade and my new school had these ridiculous red suits that you had to wear for orchestra concerts. At my old school they just had us wear black slacks or skirts with a white top. It's like certain schools are trying to make creative activities as humiliating/nerdy as possible.

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?

There's a picture somewhere of me when I was three years old wearing a dark pink dress with big white polka dots. I'm twirling and smiling in the picture with my mouth wide open. I still make that silly face when people take pictures of me, and I would still wear that dress today if they made it my size. It was bright and twirly and fun to wear.

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?


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

My favorite era fashion-wise would probably be the sixties.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

No. There's a period of about two years where I was making the same silly face in every single photo in facebook. My thinking at the time was that I wasn't photogenic, but instead of being someone who tried so hard to pretty in pictures and made sure unflattering pictures of herself are never on the internet, I would just make really unflattering faces on purpose and be funny instead. Now I think I've almost messed up all those memories by making myself look goofy instead of just embracing the moment as it was.

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

It depends on the photograph. Photographs are so strange. We judge ourselves so harshly based on whatever the camera captured in that split second. I find myself staring obsessively at flattering photographs of me, like I'm trying to draw out that split second in which I looked beautiful into the current one when I look average. I found my middle school ID picture from seventh grade the other day, and my hair and skin in that picture looked so good. It was funny to see that because seventh grade was the moment when I started becoming insecure about my appearance and I wasn't awkward-looking at all. At least not in that photo.

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

Jean Seberg.

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

Probably, but nothing comes to mind.

56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?

Anything overtly sexualizing.

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 wouldn't change anything. I won't say that I'm totally comfortable with my body now, but I have reached a level of comfort with my body that definitely doesn't make me feel there's anything I can't wear or can't "pull off" that I would like to.

58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?

I'm definitely not consciously trying to attract or repel anything, but I do think that having a specific style tends to attract the right kinds of people to me and repel the wrong ones. I can't say this for sure since I've had a pixie cut for my entire adult life, but I do think that to a certain extent the very short hair tends to repel the kind of guy that I wouldn't want attention from. There was one night when I went out to a club for New Years Eve with my roommate and some friends, and I'm not a club kind of a girl at all. I wort this bright pink, floral, vintage dress from the eighties which definitely isn't a typical dress you would see at a nightclub. I wore it because I figured that it's one of my favorite dresses in the world so it felt special enough for NYE, but I didn't really want attention from club guys.

59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?

My only rule would be to ignore all the rules that you've ever that tell you to only wear certain things to "flatter" your body shape, and to always question the little voice in your head that tells you something looks great on someone else but that you could never "pull it off." Wear whatever you want. You're perfect.

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

I don't have a very good sense of smell, so I don't wear perfume because I honestly can't tell whether or not it smells good most of the time. I did go through a phase of wearing some Lush solid perfume because I felt like wearing perfume was one of those things that Grown-Up Women Who Have Their Shit Together do. Then I decided that such a thing does not really exist, or at least isn't accomplished buy buying things you don't need. I do think I might wear perfume if I had a better sense of smell.

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

I need to get a haircut about every six weeks or I start losing confidence in my appearance. I don't "need" to wear makeup, but I do feel more presentable and in control when I'm wearing a little bit of tinted moisturizer, mascara, and blush. I shave my legs and my armpits, although I really am jealous of women who have the confidence to go without shaving. I just feel like my body hair is so dark that it would be more noticeable on me if I stopped shaving than on some of my friends who don't shave.

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

My Mom really knows nothing about makeup and I never had an older sister or anyone to teach me about it, so I had to figure makeup out all on my own. After longing for an older-sister figure for years, I finally discovered youtube videos and then gradually began buying the products they talk about. It's such an overwhelming world to begin with when you watch these videos that tell you that you need ten products to create a "natural" look. Once I got the hang of it, I realized that using makeup makes me feel in control. It's a process of deciding how I'm going to see myself and how people are going to see me. I love, love, love red lipstick and when I have the patience for it I also love winged eyeliner. I think the fact that I taught myself about makeup is also part of the reason it makes me feel in control. For so much of my adolescent I felt like everyone else lived in this unachievable world of beauty, and now I know that I can make myself part of that too.

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 really not interested in anything "sexy" or form-fitting. It's not that I don't think I have a slammin' body or anything; it's just that I'm not interested in specifically dressing for the male gaze. Maybe I'm still uncomfortable with expressing myself as an overtly sexual being, or uncomfortable with not having control of the degree to which men will sexualize me. I know that a lot of women can feel super empowered wearing something that shows off their body in a specific way, but I'd rather wear something that shows off my personality. I'm trying to phrase this in a way that doesn't sound condescending to women who like dressing sexy, and I don't think I'm really succeeding. That last sentence basically sounded like I was saying that I'm smarter than women who dress sexy. I don't think that. Maybe I just don't see myself as "sexy" and so I actively avoid that look.

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

I own a lot of dresses. They're mostly vintage, mostly brightly colored, a lot of polka-dots and flowers. I have a few long skirts and some shorter ones and few blouses and crop tops. I own two pairs of jeans, three pairs of shoes, and two necklaces. I own a few square scarves that I occasionally wear on my head when I don't like my hair, but otherwise I haven't really mastered the whole accessory thing.

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

This vintage maxi dress from the seventies. It's sleeveless and black with a floral pattern and a long skirt that's slightly sheer and goes all the way down the floor.

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 really keep things that I never wear. I move a lot so I try to get rid of anything I'm not using. I do sometimes keep things that I love but are torn or broken with the idea that I'll eventually get them fixed or fix them myself and then I never do. I have this perfect pair of boots that I bought at an antique fair and wore for a year until the soles completely broke. I've been meaning to get them repaired for a year, but I still haven't.

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?

I'm such a huge proponent of dresses. They make me feel stylish without having to think about anything, and they always feel like they have a story attached to them. When I wear a dress I can always think of who I was with when I bought it, or what happened in that dress.

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?

Nothing comes to mind.

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

I would keep my long, floral seventies dress. It's just so beautiful, I would miss it and think about it if I threw it out.

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

I don't think I would do anything differently in terms of building it up. I don't have a lot of "basics" in my wardrobe and so I feel like I could use more of those, but I would still keep all my gawdy bright dresses.

71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?

I don't think I've ever owned an invested item. I can't think of a time I've spent more than $100 dollars a single item of clothing.

72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?

Maybe the first red lipstick I ever bought -- NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. It took me a long time to get up the confidence to spend the money red lipstick, but since then it's made me feel like I go out in the world and feel confident being looked at.

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

The perfect nautical striped shirt to make me look like Jean Seberg along with my short hair.

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

At the moment I've been renting a room that only has shelves and a closet, no drawers, which means my clothes are always falling underneath my bed or getting mixed up. I love organizing things, but I never keep them neat so the organizing has to happen pretty regularly.

75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?

The one thing I can think of is my Moby-Dick t-shirt.

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?

Since I'm pretty lazy about buying any of the basics, things like a really good pair of tights always become more valuable as time goes on. The crappy tights get runs, and then I'm frantically going through my dirty laundry, trying to find my one good pair of tights.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

I've had one friend for the past two years with whom I've done pretty much 100% of my shopping, but now she's moved away so I'm going to have to find a new shopping routine. There's a neighborhood in the city where I live with lot of vintage stores, so I usually just go from to store to store and give myself a budget. I go vintage shopping when I feel like I have enough money and am bored with my closet. I like finding treasures; I hate shopping when I need a specific item.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

I don't really have a sense of smell so I don't know. Since I don't have a good sense of smell, I get very paranoid that I always smell awful. I'd like to smell "good" but I don't know what that is.

79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?

That's a good question because I have no idea what my ambitions for myself are right now. Dressing plays into it because I always have these fantasies of myself and who I will be in ten or twenty years from now. The fantasies always just involve where I'll be living, who my friends will be, and what I'll be wearing. I imagine myself as a whole person, a kind of character, before I imagine what kind of job I'll have or whether I'll be in a relationship.

80. How does money fit into all this?

Whenever I get the urge to buy new clothes, I always feel on the one hand like I'm going to be wasting money because clothes are something I want more than I need. On the other hand, I always feel so much better about myself when I have clothes that express who I am in that moment. Walking around wearing clothes that only feel like me two or three years ago feels wrong in some way. So it's about balancing the practicality of my self esteem with the practicality of saving money. Maybe this goes back to the very first question in this survey, "when do you feel your most attractive?" Maybe money plays into that as well.

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?

I'm trying to think. I'm sure it's happened, but nothing comes to mind. Maybe it's always been more of a build up little things gradually that have made me see myself a certain way.

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 remember when I was maybe two or three and my favorite dresses were the twirly ones and I would spin and spin until I got dizzy.

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

I was in born in 1991 in Tucson, Arizona. Now I live in Madrid.

Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.

Middle class, Jewish, liberal-arts educated.

What kind of work do you do?

I teach English to little kids in Spain.

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


How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I feel like I have a more cohesive understand of why I dress the way I do and what it means.

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