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Elizabeth Kirshner

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I'm alone, well-rested, walking in a cool city (mostly Jerusalem), sitting in my favorite cafe, laughing at small things.

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

Yes! Women who look expressive and effortless, but the kind of effortless that's genuine, not the kind that's about spending tons of time trying to look effortless. Women who take fashion risks but in a way that's subtle and not excessively "fashion-y".

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

I like layers and accessories and funky shoes.

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 know when it was, but at some point probably toward the end of high school, I realized how much I love my naturally straight, auburn hair, and how good I look in fall colors, so I try to own that aesthetic. I think it was just a part of my (continuing) growing-up process, the realization of my own beauty and the consequent embrace of simplicity.

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

I always take off my socks when I try on clothes. I can't explain why, but visually, I find it really distracting and makes anything look bad in the mirror and just brings me down. I also make a point of not looking in the mirror as I put the piece of clothing on my body, because I want to fully take the way it feels on me before I get a premature impression from the mirror.

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

I don't wear anything drop-waisted.

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

Does watching Angela Chase on My So-Called Life count?

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

Sort of; I find my mind works in a way that buzzes with lots and lots of possibilities and trains of thought, and then I try to hone in on the key things that draw me in most deeply and consistently. And at a certain point, I have to create structures for myself that force me to make a decision, even if its just arbitrary.

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

Loose, baggy dresses! I'm really into wearing them with tights and boots, so I'm trying to just get them in every color and make it my Look.

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

I've given my mom some good pieces of statement jewelry.

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

High-waisted pants; I feel gross in them.

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

My mom's style is pretty conventional and matchy. I often steal clothing from her closet and tell her it suits me better! Her clothes are a tad loose on me too, which I like. But overall, my style is a little more free-spirited. But she's definitely modeled for me how to dress for your body, and to forget the size-zero ideals society sets. "Welcome to being a woman," she says, when I complain about my hips.

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

Yes! My favorite sweater currently is a "long-term borrow" from a dear friend. Ooh, and a really cute flowy tank top I wear to concerts, from the same friend. And I've gotten into loose dresses and Blundstone boots from my Israeli friends.

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

I was pretty depressed in high school, and I think my style had a moment there that corresponded. I wore a lot of my grandfather's giant Lacoste cardigans and my tights and fuzzy moccasins. Once I started college, I started experimenting more with looking as cute as possible while being as comfy as possible. So a similar vibe, but different aesthetic.

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

Not really, although I like to dress somewhere in the intersection of hippie and 90's edgy.

16. Please describe your body.

I am 5"3. I have auburn hair that is straight and reaches to the top of my breasts and shoulder blades, and has never been dyed or treated, and dries with a slight wave. My breasts are a size 36B, cute and perky, but unassuming. I have a flabby tummy but I've been minding it much less lately. My thighs are flabby too, but it's whatever. My ass is beautiful and round. I love my smile. My forehead is pretty large. I'm pretty gorgeous.

17. Please describe your mind.

My mind is LOUD. There's always a lot of background noise. I'm working on meditating more and learning to focus on one thing at a time. I often have song lyrics in my head on a loop. I am often planning the rest of my day, or reminiscing on the recent past. I get a kick out of my own thoughts. I often write down my thoughts, but try to also be okay with letting them be temporary and fleeting.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I feel things DEEPLY. I am emotional porous as hell. Things just sink in a lot and take over me. Little things make me happy or bring me down. Every moment feels all-encompassing, like it's the only thing I've ever felt and ever will ever. I feel a lot of gratitude.

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

My hair is unstyled, down, straight with natural waves, pushed over the right side of my head. I'm wearing a burnt orange loose dress from Jerusalem, and black tights. I am wearing brown glasses. I am wearing a trainer bra and cotton "granny" panties.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

It's important in that it's part of how I express myself and the stories I tell myself about who I am at any particular moment.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I care about being dressed appropriately for the occasion. My observant Jewish identity has made me really conscious of the way I dress and present my body.

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

I'm not sure where this falls in terms of "taste" or "style" but I think I have a strong sense of spotting a piece of clothing that feels very "me". I really get a kick out of materializing myself in clothing and items.

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

Yes! I bought a knock-off Desigual dress in Tel-Aviv last year that was not flattering at all and I wore it maybe once.

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

I love not wearing a bra whenever I can get away with it.

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

I have good taste in music and books.

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?

Wow, yes. Dresses always make me feel like I have my shit somewhat together.

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 can't put it in words, but I usually know it when I see it, yes.

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?

Always put your clothes away and treat your clothes with respect (I don't always follow).

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

hair down, nightgowns, braless

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?


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?

Wear things that make you feel like you are starring in your own life. Because like, you are. Wear things that make you proud to tell your stories.

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

Radiance, smiles, freckles, smooth skin, colors, shimmer

34. What do you consider very ugly?

lack of hygiene, awkward waistlines, unnecessary layering, shorts and boots

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?

pretty much; if I am excited about a piece, that usually works out well

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 try to judge my look from the perspective of my close friends, who know if I look comfortable in my skin or if I look like I'm trying too hard.

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

What is the weather like? Where am I going? Is there a particular piece I'm in the mood for? What vibe do I want to give off today? What have I not worn in a while that I want to revisit?

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

comfort, confidence, approachability

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

dressing up is more makeup and more time, less consideration of comfort; dressing up is more of an event in itself

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

loose dress, tights, leopard-print Doc Martens

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

me: warm colors, loose, soft fabrics, flowers
not me: tight, tucked in, houndstooth, braids, stilettos

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

Modern Orthodox Judaism, American, Midwest. I am very conscious of skirts versus pants, necklines, etc. Ultimately, I don't feel bound by all these guidelines, but I notice things other people might not. Also, being from not-NYC, I'm new to wearing black and caring about brands.

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 a lot of awkward-fitting tee shirts and cardigans. I was in middle school and trying to be quirky.

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

Straighten my hair and try not to play with it too much, wear lipstick

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

My workplace is really laid-back and suits my style, so it's not an issue really.

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


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


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?

loose dress and flats/moccassins; easy, comfy, expressive

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?

good Lord, no.

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

1970's, or 1990's Jerusalem

52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?


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

I often think I'm really cute in photographs, especially when I'm laughing.

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

Angela Chase, Rayanne Graff, Daria Morgendorffer, Alexa Chung, Zoe Kravitz, India.Arie

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


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

anything with heels

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?


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

I want to attract chill people, and boys.

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

Gwen Stefani's "G", Clinique "Happy Heart", Nina Ricci "Paris"

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

moisturize my face, shake out my hair, pull my tights as high as they'll go

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

I like a little bit of makeup, but nothing that takes longer than a few minutes; I have my go-to products, mostly Clinique, and mostly bronze shades.

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?

pencil skirts; not comfortable

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

a lot of skirts and dresses, a lot of tops from Loft, a lot of black tights, a lot of jewelry I haven't touched in years

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

I love my glass-blown red pomegranate necklace.

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?

The dress I wore when I was six years old and a flower girl at my aunt and uncle's wedding. It obviously does not fit anymore but is so beautiful.

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?

solids, dresses

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?

I sold a vintage 1970's dress with butterflies and I do miss it.

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

My Doc Martens

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

more black dresses

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

jeans, yes, and yes

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

my jeans

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

the perfect formal dress; comfortable high heels

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

I try to put things away but they get messy anyway somehow.

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

my father's ring

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 simple blue short-sleeve loose dress from Urban Outfitters that I wear in every season now

77. How and when do you shop for clothes?

rarely and online

78. Do you like to smell a certain way?

clean, Gwen Stefani

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

I like to feel creative and energetic and determined and free.

80. How does money fit into all this?

I try to spend as little as possible.

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

Clinique moisturizer, my dad's ring, diamond post earrings

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

People always say they love my glasses and it's been getting me to wear them more often.

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?

From a very young age, I was very self-conscious about my body and felt that translate into my style choices. Now, I'm learning how to be aware of my body but not let that hinder me.

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

3/31/94; born in Nutley, NJ, raised in suburbs of Detroit, MI, currently living in NYC

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

religious Jew, Midwestern, raised by a single mother, always shopped sale racks (still do); currently upper-middle class

What kind of work do you do?

I am a student and intern part-time for non-profits.

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

single as hell, baby

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

i love my hair and my mind

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

like a fascinating person


Elizabeth is studying sociology and Jewish studies, and aspires to be the angsty chick from the 90's with a lot more joy. She has an affinity for Prince and looking literate on subways.

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