Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
I used to answer: when I'm wearing 100 % cotton blue jeans (straight leg, low waist, buttons), a 100 % cotton white T-shirt and a black woolen vest. But that was in the nineties. There are no more 100% cotton blue jeans anymore. Plus I am over 40 and have developed a tummy. So now I feel most attractive when I'm wearing white jeans (straight leg, low waist), a black thigh-length tunic with 3/4 sleeves, perhaps a blazer and cowboy boots.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
I especially notice and admire the ones who are wearing A-line mid-thigh tunics and hats or caps. Women like me. I once - only once - saw someone, somewhere in Tunisia, who looked EXACTLY the way I would like to look, in terms of clothing and personality. She was looking as if she came from a neolithic age, a couple of thousand years ago. She was wearing a brown knee-length suede tunic, had brown, mid-length layered hair, was probably wearing sandals and she was smiling. She looked incredibly free and authentic and happy and had a great flair and nonchalance, in the best sense. I saw her only briefly, I saw her just walking by, now about 17 years ago, but I will never forget her.
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?
An interesting 'click' was when I had a conversation about my favourite clothes with someone who actually designs clothes. I got all excited and at some point I went inside to get the scrapbook I once made with fashion photos torn out of fashion magazines. In my view, my scrapbook existed of random scraped-together outfits with no Leitmotiv. There was fur, cotton and lace. There were reds, blues, blacks, whites, browns and even primary yellows. I did notice that were three groups of colour combinations - ethnic (black, red and white), contrast (black and white) and Indiana Jones (browns and kakis and whites) - but I had no idea what the overarching concept was of my favourite clothes.
My friend had one look at my scrapbook and said: Oh, you like A-line.
I looked at my scrapbook too and I realised she was right. It was such an epiphany. I thought: I like A-line! How could I ever not have seen this? A-line! I like A-line!
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
Never buy anything with a turtle neck or a V-neck. And never buy anything with a collar. Only wear boat necks, jewel necks and henley shirts (preferred).
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
See above at 4.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
Straight white jeans. I have five pairs. They fit well and they fit with everything. In the summer I wear wide white linen trousers. I combine my white trousers with shirts, tunics, blazers and dresses. I look different every day - except for the white jeans. It my signature thing. For a couple of years I tried to alternate with other trousers, but then I remembered that I once had a colleague (male) who would only wear white, top and bottom. And that was fine. It was a bit weird of course, a guy dressed in white, but everybody was fine with it and he was actually respected - he was the chair of a board. So I thought: no more concessions to white trousers. To my surprise, I only got nice reactions. A (female) friend who recently picked me up at night in a dark and big city said lovingly: I recognised you by your jeans.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Skinny jeans. It doesn't look good on me. One of my legs is slightly longer than the other and as a result I have a bit of a silly walk. It shows much more when I wear skinny jeans. And have you ever seen Katharine Hepburn or Indiana Jones in skinny jeans?
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Well, the way I dress is not straight. In Europe right-wing people tend to dress more straightly than left-wing people. So I guess I look slightly leftish, although I am not covered in self-knitted woolen cloaks. In fact, politically I am somewhere in the middle. Except that I believe - correct: that I know - that CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE GREATEST THREAT MANKIND HAS EVER FACED.
16. Please describe your body.
Well... it's okay, really. There is so much to say about one's body. Each scar has a story. There are things you love and things you're not so happy with. There are things to say about getting older and how to deal with that. There are opinions of what a woman should look like, of the ideal posture, the ideal hair. Books could be filled with answers to this question. So just very briefly:
I love my feet.
I love the colour of my eyes.
I love my neck.
I love the lining of my back.
I love my slender waist.
I'm okay with the rest. I'm okay with the scarred tissue on my right leg. I'm okay with my voluminous bottom. I'm okay with my breast reconstruction after breast cancer. I'm okay with my wrinkles.
I only wished I had thicker hair. And I wished I was less myopic. But I'm okay with that too.
17. Please describe your mind.
I love my mind. It's sparkling. It's silvery. It's unique. It's mine. So many ideas, so many thoughts, so many beautiful memories. The hardest thing that happened to my mind was the state I was in a couple of years ago. After every chemo I had a couple of days that I was more or less apathetic, because of the medicines. It was horrible. I could easily deal with all the physical side-effects, but found it hard not to be *myself*. After a couple of days, my mind used to return. It was wonderful to have them back: the ideas, the plans, the associations, the sparkles. In the past there have been moments of frustration because I find it hard to focus on one idea, one plan at the time, but the chemo experience made me realise that I love my mind. The abundance of thoughts and ideas is what defines me. So now, I celebrate it.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I once spend 100 dollars on a second-hand traditional Palestinian dress, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Why, I wonder, why?? I was young and naive. It wasn't even a nice one. I still have it, though.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
Jill Sander. Sometimes.
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?
O my goodness, so many! I could write books about it! There were sandals, boots, T-shirts, blazers...
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
1971 - the Netherlands
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Married with kids
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
It's too long. And it's too personal... If I would fill in all questions, you would have my autobiography.