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Marta Lilly

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

when I am comfortable, in a jeans and sweater, with a bit of makeup.

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

Yes, women who clearly have their own style, who took time to accessorize, who look unique and sophisticated at the same time.

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

When they show their personalities, regardless of what is a trend.

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 grad school, I decided to embrace my curly hair and to stop straightening it. It was a time when I was constantly challenged and having to prove my work ethic and creativity, and I wanted to have one less "battle" in my life and be more true to myself.

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

Only buy items that are on sale!

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

I can't dress up unless my hair looks perfect and I have full make up on.

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

It's more of a moment, but it was the first time I went to a vintage clothing shop to buy my back-to-school clothes instead of a department store. I realized I'd rather have a few unique items than a bunch of bland ones. It also hid the fact that I couldn't afford the nicer labels that my friends could.

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

Other people's opinions do not matter. Trends, fads, peer pressure do not matter. I can only do what's right for me even if it's not what anyone else is doing.

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

Striped shirts! They're the only alternative to solids!

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? 

Leggings. I wore them as a kid and wearing them as an adult makes me feel juvenile.

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

My mother was much shorter than I so she made a big deal about me having long legs. She would buy me a size large in just about everything, even though I am a small, because she pictured me being so much larger than her. Her style always veered more toward the boho side and mine toward the preppy, so I always think of her when I wear a flowy top or dangly earrings.

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

I started emulating my Dad's style and wearing his clothes in high school. I'd wear his torn up Levi's with his old B-52's shirt with a soft cardigan and lots of bracelets. I believe I represented the final vestiges of the grunge era in the Seattle suburbs.

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

After college, where my clothes were a mix of vintage, hand-me down rock shirts and every color of Cons, I had to figure out how to look "professional" on a minimum wage budget. That basically turned into boring. Since beginning my career of choice after grad school, I've been dressing to blend in, and I'd like to change that soon.

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

I dress for myself.

16. Please describe your body.

On the taller side, slim but not skinny, long arms and legs, scars from multiple knee surgeries.

17. Please describe your mind.

Critical of everything. Always coming up with jokes and deciding the right time to tell them. Often retelling myself family stories because it helps me feel grounded.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I keep them to myself for the most part, will go through a whole emotional cycle before sharing them. I examine them to understand why and how. I try not to blame other people for them. So I appear very calm on the outside.

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

Hair up, no make up, favorite sweatshirt, bare feet.

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

Getting dressed is a decision we make over and over each day. I look for habits and patterns that may correlate with other decisions I make. I've noticed in the past few years I've taken fewer fashion risks and I buy clothes that will allow putting outfits together to get simpler, and ultimately I just want to blend in.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

I talk to my sister about my clothes, and I talk to my husband about his clothes.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

With my family, I dress knowing there will be photos taken.
At work, I dress to look the part of a designer (simple, dark clothing)

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

Both words seem a bit superficial.

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

About $60 on a sundress while I was in grad school and had very little money. It was the end of the quarter and I just wanted to treat myself. But the dress was ill-fitting and a bit short.

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

You can get away with sneakers with most outfits as long as they're clean.

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

I'm an interior designer

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?

I started wearing more dark clothing after my Mom died. It was kind of my way of telling the world "don't expect any cheeriness from me"

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 do know what I like, but it's more that I know what will look good on me. I have a few driving principles that help me make decisions, and I also have a desire to come to conclusions quickly and not dwell on any decision that ultimately isn't that important (like picking out an outfit or movie rental)

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?

When I was young my mom made most of my clothes, and I was able to choose what she made and with what materials and details. She made everything to fit perfectly. This set me up to be fairly picky about the fit and quality of clothes I buy. She also taught me to examine the stitching and every detail of an item before buying it. I started taking very good care of my laundry after my mom stretched out a tank top in the wash. Generally I take very good care of my things because I can't expect to be able to afford to replace them at any given time.

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

Just be comfortable. So if I crack a joke in a group I won't feel self-conscious when everyone turns and looks at me.

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 I've forgotten what I'm wearing because it fits well and I'm not tugging or adjusting anything.
"Confident" means your clothes don't speak for you, they're just enhancing your mood or your message.

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

May 7, 1984. I was born near Seattle and now live in Portland, OR.

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

My family is ethically European, very pale.
Middle class

What kind of work do you do?

Interior Design

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

Married, expecting first child.

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

I have been in a style rut for many years! I feel held back by budget and changing professional circumstances.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Like I want to go through my closet!


One of four kids, accepting hand-me-downs from anyone and everyone. First a teacher, then an interior designer.

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