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Anna Backman Rogers
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I live in Stockholm at the moment, which is a city populated with horrifically stylish women. Having said that, I'm rather introverted and caught up in my own head so it takes a lot for me to notice someone…I guess I pick up on someone who seems to be innately comfortable in her own skin…she doesn't look like she's craving for anything else or trying to be someone she's not. It's always really obvious to me when someone is compromising who she is by wearing someone else's idea of what looks good.
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 am not sure. I have always felt like I just knew what was 'me'. I don't know how to put it any better. My style has changed over the years, but it's always been a reflection of who I am at that point in time. Make-up wise, it only clicked once I started being able to look in the mirror.
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 miscellaneous peach/pink-coloured tops. Whenever I see something in this colour, I feel compelled to buy it. I seem to forget about all the other things I own in that colour/style. I find this colour very soothing though, that is my only excuse.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I recently gave a young female relative of mine a ring that my mother gave to me on my high school graduation (she was graduating). She was really touched by that and it made me immensely happy.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
My mum died a few years ago; I wear her jewellery all the time now. It feels like she comes everywhere with me.
16. Please describe your body.
29-22.32. Skinny yet fleshy. I’d like to start celebrating the fleshy parts more because they’re here to stay!
18. Please describe your emotions.
introverted and quiet… and then the floodgates open…it's not always pretty. But I don't seem to have managed to be any other way in this life.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
if you must know, at the moment I have a face mask on. I look a treat! My hair is in a state of indifference…and so am I.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
I can categorically state that I know what I like when it comes to clothes, art, films and books…and friends. I don't know where that discernment comes from (it is a kind of confidence)…but I have it. It can also make someone pretty judgmental though, which isn't great!
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 didn't learn anything from my parents about clothing. I have always had very specific ideas about what I like. I am a film scholar and I would say that everything I learned about clothes has come from watching films. Like every young girl, I went through an Audrey Hepburn phase and more latterly an Anna Karina phase. I also read Vogue magazine voraciously from a very young age, which I am not sure was particularly healthy!
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
I used to have a phobia of mirrors (from ages 16 to 21), so putting some make up on is now a kind of ritual for me. I don't wear loads, but putting on a bit of eyeliner and lipstick (for which I have to look in the mirror) seems like a token step on the road to daily self-acceptance. I also always wear perfume.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Very beautiful: kindness and love go pretty far. Some people radiate that and are open. Other people are completely closed. Sometimes, we're both. I also love a woman with a huge brain, sharp wit and an obsession with anything other than bloody fucking tedious men! That’s a really beautiful woman to me.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
There is simply nothing more ugly than a woman who is pretty and has decided to settle at only that…vanity is pretty disgusting…just take a look at some of the self-portraits on Facebook.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
Basically, I am someone who wants to look nice (and feeling comfortable or like 'myself' in what I wear is exceptionally important to me), but doesn't want to have to think about it every single goddamn morning. I tend, therefore, to wear the same outfit over 3 or even 4 days. The advantage I have is that I am an academic, which is a solitary kind of life, so very few people are aware of the fact that I have not changed clothes for days!
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I look young for my age and I hate students mistaking me for being another student rather than their lecturer. I have noticed that when I wear eyeliner, I look a bit older so that has become my weapon of choice now. I am lucky that I work in a profession where I don't necessarily have to wear a suit if I don't want to. Having said that, I do make an effort now to try to dress more professionally than I did, but not compromise on the importance of something seeming like an outer reflection of an inner me.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
No I do not. I cannot think of one photograph of myself that I like.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
I need eyeliner…and I don't really like the crumpled look (hence why I have never gotten on with linen) so an iron is normally of some importance.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
A necessary evil that I would rather do without.
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 have moved so much in my 31 years on the planet that I have given away huge amounts of clothing (some of which was very expensive). I guess the only thing I really regret is giving away this fairisle knit vintage cardigan which I found in Edinburgh. I miss it for several reasons: Edinburgh was where I spent the longest part of my life to date and the place that came to feel closest to something like 'home' (my family has now completely dissipated so I have a nostalgic sense of longing for Scotland and I suppose the cardigan and its inherently Scottish pattern has become associated in my mind with that); The pattern on it was really simple, but rather special…it's a technique and craft that is dying out now so it also feels a little bit like a relic from a bygone era.
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?
Probably that Fairisle knit cardigan!
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
I seem to have fallen into a dreadful habit of going out to browse when I cannot write or to get away from my problems. This does not impact well on my bank account…that's all I shall say!
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
I've been told by friends that they admire that I don't care what anyone thinks…and apparently this is something that I exude from my love of clothes. I find this hilarious because I do care about what other people think far too much! I guess hearing feedback like that makes me extremely aware of the discrepancy between our inner self and the 'self' we project when going out into the world.
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 being made to wear a leotard for gym class. I was only 5, but felt really exposed and didn't like it. I remember the sensation of being supremely aware of my flesh.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
White, Middle-class and English…yes, I checked my privilege!
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Currently, in a total state of disarray…I don’t have kids and feel ambivalent about that whole subject.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I'm a bit of a fruit loop, but I love lots of people which I hope makes up for the drama of it all…
How do you feel after filling out this survey?