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Alison browning

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

in winter when I am able to wear clothes that cover my arms and legs and I can wear stylish coats and boots.

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

women wearing vintage clothing or hippy/Goth/Punk women.

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

individuality and dressing for their body shape not what fashion dictates

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?

In the 1980s and Goth, I loved being able to wear vintage and Victorian styles with the Goth make up and hair

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

none really

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

I don't really recommend styles to others, to me it's personal

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

about body shape and dressing for your shape even if for example 99.9% of females wear skinny jeans but they flat out don't suit some women, ok , most women under 25.

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

No I am random, I like to do stuff on the spur of the moment.

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

white cotton night wear and camisoles because they are comfortable and remind me of Edwardian under garments

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

a bracelet to my sister

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

of course, I won't wear skinny jeans because they do not suit my shape at all, same goes for leggings unless they are worn as tights, also I've never done crop tops as again I am the right shape ( I am an apple/goblet shape even when slim) Also floral 50s frocks as much as I love them they really do not suit me. I buy what suits me and what makes me feel good.

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

I have mum's apple shape, we both have a thick waist were slim as teenagers and early 20s but as we've aged we've battled with weight. I don't dress much like my mum though as I like to be more adventurous and creative with clothes.

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

from friends, I wouldn't say stolen their ideas but rather shared their idea, I've borrowed items from friends and my sister but we've tended to do swaps and maybe just for a night out or something.

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

At age 18 I went Goth, from having been very much a lover of princess Diana style, I never liked main stream fashion and yet wanted to be cool so I thought Goth style looked good and different but at the same time I could still wear my beloved Laura Ashley styles and vintage frocks and jaz them up a bit.

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

yes, I like to buy fair trade if I can, also second hand and pre loved, I am passionate about recycling and try to not go in for the culture of binge buying ( unless it's car booting or second hand which I love. Also I have never dressed a certain way because it's "what men like", who cares what they like or dislike.

16. Please describe your body.

Tall, big boned and heavy frame, goblet shaped with a tendancy towards an apple shape when over weight. lanky and straight up and down with wide shoulders as a young person with age a barrel! ( not fun, I always wanted curves, who doesn't)

17. Please describe your mind.

creative, intellectual, ecclectic , original thinker, eccentric

18. Please describe your emotions.

prone to mood swings and anxiety and depression but also can get very hyper and happy ( a bit Bi polar)

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

I am in my lounge round the house clothes, a pair of cotton green trousers, white lace cami and black merino sweater and blue bed socks, hair is tied at the back and no make up as I have just bathed and am off to bed.

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

It's interesting to find out what people's attitudes and views are

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?


22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

none really other than when I worked in nursing homes and hospitals and obviously I wore uniform.

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

they are both important to me and they both overlap, style and taste go hand in hand.

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

yes, I bought far too many 50s style frocks and they just do not suit me, I love vintage and ok so 50s is terribly trendy on the vintage front right now but it isn't for everyone and makes me look like a man in darg, I just sold them on line and bought stuff that did suit me instead.

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

not really

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

yes my house style, art styles and cooking styles, the things I collect and enjoy having around me. Also music.

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?

not really

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 definately. I would say I am very discerning and that's come from me as I am creative and very eccentric.

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?

Not really, they didn't have much spare money and I wore hand me downs and home made things so maybe that's where I got my love of vintage and second hand from and making the most out of cast offs. Also having a couple of very nice items to wear for best.

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

I am past that now at almost 50, but it was mostly doing eye make up, wearing velvet and lace and dressing Goth as in more of Victorian style Goth. Wearing corsets, proper boned corsets.

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 is wearing day to day stuff you can work in, clean in and confidence is knowing what you like and never mind what others think .

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?

it's an expressive art form, use your creativity, also wear what suits YOU not what fashion dictates, or what you should do, or "what's trending", if you can sew use that talent if you can't accesorise and add individuality.

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

nature and the country side, old buildings, beautiful, hand made clothing, hand made old items that have stood the test of time for example beautiful antique clothes, old dolls, jewellry and china tea sets.

Oh and cats and small children they have such beauty.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

too much make up, fake tans, sluttish pouting ( selfie style) also cheap throw away style.

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?

I have now through experience

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 am very judgmental about how I loo, I focus on symetry and get anxious that my lower body is out of proportion to the top, it's all about balance, same with the head, I have a thick neck and like to work out how to make it look less thick. The other "me" hates lack of symetry and balance.

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

what am I doing in the day, am I dressing for round the house chores, relaxing, a country walk or going to town or out for a day trip, what is the weather like etc

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

comfort and balance

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

dressing up is like decorating and painting a picture, it's expressive, dressing for work or relaxation is just finding comfort and practical solutions

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

depends on the job, I have done care work and cleaning so something cool, as in keeps the body cool, easy to wash and iron and also looks smart to create a professional image, trousers and a tunic and tabard and flat shoes.

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

me: velvet, cotton, linen, vintage, Goth,, wide legged linen pants and layered look. Also hippy and Bo Ho styles.

not me: fitted styles, skinny jeans and leggins, high heels, fake tans , tattoos, too much make up.

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

Raised in the 60s and 70s, strict Christian so modesty was important and also I got used to hand me downs and hand made clothes and because I was very tall I wore mum's clothes.

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?

in my mid twenties I began to put weight on and hated it, in the early 90s there was very little choice for plus size so I wore very baggy tops and leggins and looked older than I was, I lost interest in style because the lack of choice for a size 16 to 18 in the early 90s was poor, now there's loads of choice, buying from America, lagen look etc. I just felt depressed, fat and ugly , I lost the weight and was able to wear what I liked again and re gained the weight ( as happens with yo yo dieters) but now at least there's more choice and shops stock plus size where as they used to only go up to a 14.

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

being in nursing and care work it was about looking clean, tidy and minimalist, no jewelry and hair tied up and short clean nails, with care work it's important to look clean and tidy most of all, a sick or infirm person will feel more secure that way as well as their relations. I wore a little eye liner and mascara and anti shine cream on my face.

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

i was in nursing so I didn't mind conforming,

46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?

no, only went I used to go to gym I wore gym kit and trainers

47. Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms?

for gym you can wear customised shirts , for gym it's just about keeping the body cool, easy to move about in and easy to wash and of course safety

48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?

depends on the job, but I'd say a comfort, in school days definately as I didn't have trendy clothes and would have felt embarrased.

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?

my 1940s velvet dress, lace gloves, Victorian style boots, bangles and lace scarves and fish net tights, I felt different but also slightly Victorian and felt as if I was me and not fake

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?

I have a masculine frame I am always battling against to make it more feminine, I've often wanted to be a man but an efeminate man, as they don't have periods. I'd want to be a very feminine man and dress Victorian like " Dorian Grey"

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

either 1910 to 1930 in England or wearing tribal costume in an Eastern country, I'd go for 1920s. yes 20s.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

yuck, get rid of that, delete it

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

1920s film stars

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

yes, lots of times, going to a flea market and getting a whole box of gorgeous old fashioned clothes

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

chav look, like modern Celebs wear or 1950s , I have not got the right figure for 50s and just look like a man in drag when I have tried it because I have loved the look on more shapely women.

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?

If I was curvy ( always wanted curves) I'd wear 50s frocks , I love them but cannot carry them off.

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


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

dress for your body even if it means going against what is trending

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

love it but only quality perfumes and I'd never wear a perfume named after a celebrity I consider that the height of naff.

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

loose weight

tidy my hair and put anti shine cream on

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

i use it and like it, I use anti shine cream , I dislike foundation and do have very good skin for a 48 year old, I wear eye liner, mascara and a lip tint

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?

skinny jeans, people keep saying get some skinnies, but nope, they make me look like Gru in the Minion movies, they make me look even more top heavy than I am, I have very spindly, bony legs and they look utterly silly with my big upper body.

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

1940s velvet frock, velvet jacket, faux fur coat, costume necklaces

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?

old vintage clothes, they no longer fit but they are old and I see them as textile works of art

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?

my lace 50s dress, I put it on a hot wash and the lace was spoiled, it fitted me well and was beautiful, ahh well, I should have dry cleaned it.

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

my great grandmother's velvet 1920s dress

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

neat and organised

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

clean and fresh

80. How does money fit into all this?

a lot I don't have much so I buy second hand or look for bargains, I buy quality rather than quantity

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

Bedford. UK. 1.2.1967

I am 48 and live In North Wales

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

I am degree educated, white British, love art, history, cats and museums and galleries. I am middle class back ground.

What kind of work do you do?

i was a nurse and taught adults with special needs, also cleaning

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

divorced but with partner now, could never have children sadly.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I enjoyed it


I am 48, from the UK , I also have Aspergers syndrome, I am very creative and enjoy learning and reading. I have many interests from cooking, collecting vintage items and cat things, vintage clothes, china, textiles and fabric. I have worked in nursing and teaching, cleaning and also heritage.

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