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Alice Meikle

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I've had a really good, long sleep.

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

Yes. Women who aren't wearing any make-up/very little make-up. I think they look great outside.

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

I don't know.

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 don't think that's ever happened. I think it's much more of a constant learning experience.

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

If you see a good suede/leather skirt, just buy it.

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

Never go out without your rings on.

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

I can't think of one, which makes me think maybe I should be having more!

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

Trust yourself.

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

I have a lot of suede and leather skirts. I think it's because I know how expensive they are to buy new so when I see a really nice one for like £10 I can't resist. Same applies to cashmere jumpers.

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

I gave a friend a pair of high waisted green cords yesterday actually and she seemed very very happy about them. They only cost £1 and they are just the perfect size and shape for her which is why I bought them.

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

I remember when I was about 14/15 everyone I knew had these really flimsy cardigans from New Look which were made out of cheap jersey and had these horrible scoopy pockets on each side and I thought they were absolutely disgusting.

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

She has never really felt comfortable with her body or her style so I don't think that has been passed down to me at all.

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

When my friends are throwing clothes out I often take them even if I don't think I'll wear them, just because it seems like a good opportunity for free clothes which I don't want to turn down. Also I think you can't help but exchange dressing patterns with your friends. When I was in college my two friends and I started looking comically similar. There was one day when two of us turned up in the exact same outfit, head to toe.

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

Never dramatically, but of course I have been through a lot of phases.

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

At school I felt like I was making a statement by not conforming to the uniform rules exactly. I wanted to get really good grades as well as wearing what I wanted in order to make a point.

16. Please describe your body.


17. Please describe your mind.


18. Please describe your emotions.

That's difficult to do.

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

I'm wearing Levi jeans which are the best jeans I've ever owned. I got them for £10 at Beyond Retro and was so happy with them, and still am. I'm also wearing a black cashmere polo neck that I got at a car boot sale and black, short Doc Martens which I got at a reduced price because my friend worked in the shop over summer. I'm also wearing 8 silver rings, silver hoop earrings and sparkly socks. I got my hair cut two days ago so it's still feeling silky and straight from that. And on my face I have eyeliner and mascara.

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

I think it's very important. I feel very strongly affected by what I wear and how I look. If I don't feel like myself with what I'm wearing I feel grumpy or shit.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

Usually my female friends. We talk about clothes quite a lot probably.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

Being at art school probably affects the way I dress.

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

I think taste feels like more of an old fashioned word than style.

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

I've wasted huge amounts of money on clothes but that's only if you add up a lot of small wastes together. Like I've never spent a huge amount of money on one thing and regretted it because I never spend a huge amount of money on any clothes.

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


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

I think in the way I choose to decorate my room.

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?

Wearing a cashmere jumper makes me feel safer. But at the same time, sometimes it panics me because I get too hot in it.

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 I do know what I like. I think everyone does deep down.

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?

I remember often wearing bold pieces of clothing when I was younger and when I would go through to the kitchen for breakfast my dad would always comment on them. So I often felt self conscious when leaving my room for the first time in the morning.

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

Put a little bit more make-up on, put nicer underwear on, put on an outfit that makes me feel good, have a drink.

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 think you can more easily feel confident if you feel comfortable. I like comfortable clothes/practical clothes that I can do things in easily without feeling self conscious/aware of myself.

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?

Sometimes you want to go for something really out there, but because of experience, you've learned that in the long run you actually prefer things which are a bit safer.

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

Someone who is more concerned with experiencing life than obsessing about how it looks. Someone who believes in life.

34. What do you consider very ugly?

People who are controlling.

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 think I do know, but sometimes I buy something I know I'll probably not get much use out of just because I want to own it/buy 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 think it's quite hard to look at yourself that objectively.

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

I think about the weather a lot and check the weather forecast every morning because it can be really annoying and disruptive if you aren't dressed for the weather. So, thinking about temperature and what I will be doing that day and whether or not I will be comfortable. And also aware of how often I've worn something. I often feel like I want to give another item of clothing a go/chance.

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

I want to feel good about myself and the way I look.

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

Dressing up is more draining.

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

Something like a boiler suit. Practical but also has a nice aesthetic.

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

Natural materials and muted colours are me, things from New Look are not me.

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

I'm from Scotland so I think I'm used to covering a lot of my body up which I'm ok with. I also think I'm quite critical and self censoring of what I wear.

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 wear silk pattern shirts that were really oversized with skinny black jeans because I thought it was cool.

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

Generally try and look neater and less scruffy.

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

I just conform because it's easier.

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?


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 black, A-line dress. I can wear it no matter what size my body is.

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?

Yep a lot of the time. I like the way men can dress, it seems so much simpler. They can look attractive in really simple, scruffy clothes.

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

I'm ok with here and now.

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?

Haha no, I think it's a struggle.

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

It can be quite annoying if you see a photo of yourself you don't like. It can bother me for quite a long time.

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

I admire Coco Chanel.

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

Yeah, I've dreamt about shopping a lot. Often dreams about amazing second hand shops I've discovered that aren't real.

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


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?

A lot of my skirts and trousers would be a better fit if I was a tiny bit slimmer, but I'm getting better at letting it go.

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

I don't think so.

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

Wear what you feel good in.

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

I really want this Armani one called Si but I can never justify buying it. wish I'd bought it at the airport in duty free.

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

Shower and have clean clothes.

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

I'm happy with just wearing eyeliner and mascara at the moment.

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?

Getting very very dressed up for a night out. I've tried to enjoy it but I just don't think I do. I feel stupid and like I've tried too hard.

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

A lot of pretty casual things that I have hanging on one rail. A lot of coats and jackets. Rings.

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

The first silver ring I owned that I still wear, it was 50p and it's so cool.

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 this pair of high waisted black lace flared trousers and they are really cool but see-through so I never know what to wear underneath them.

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?

Basics that fit well and are made well. Also comfy shoes.

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

My Levi jeans.

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

Only buy things that fit my body right now.

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

Never really done that.

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

The first time I bought a thong.

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

A t-shirt that is the perfect length to go with all of my slightly high waisted things.

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

I try.

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

My friend brought back a pair of chunky vintage Doc Martens from Canada for me and I know that they will have taken up a lot of room in her suitcase.

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?

A really oversized mesh black t shirt. I often wear it on nights out now.

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

All the time, I go into charity shops almost every time I pass.

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?


80. How does money fit into all this?

I think I must have spent a massive proportion of all the money I have ever owned on clothes. I guess that shows that they are important to me.

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

My rings.

82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?

Nothing comes to mind.

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 wearing a pink nightie and realizing for the first time that my boobs were growing and I suddenly felt self conscious.

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

29/11/95. born near Inverness in Scotland, live in Edinburgh now.

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

I think I have fairly unconventional parents.

What kind of work do you do?

I'm an art student just now.

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

Single with no kids thank goodness.

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

I'm writing my dissertation on the relationship between women and clothes and filmed myself filling out this survey as some kind of research.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

I think it was actually quite dry for some reason. It had the potential to be fun but it wasn't but I'm not sure why. I really love clothes and have a lot to say about them but somehow I don't think it came across.


I'm 19, I'm in my final year at Edinburgh College of Art and I think clothes have the power to make everyone feel good about themselves.

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