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Serena Martin

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When my clothes accentuate my beauty and support with my activities without asking for my attention.

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

Well, I'm queer, so generally I either notice women that I think are well-dressed or striking, and very occasionally someone who is both. I also notice men in the same way.

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

I like people who are interested in design and you can tell are thinking about the elements of their look.

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?

A few years ago, I was coming out of a difficult personal time where my sense of style had been deflated and I didn't feel good about myself and how I was dressing reflected it. Something finally clicked though, and I thought, I want to feel better about myself, and taking the time and care to dress in a way that feels good will help my overall sense of wellness and confidence. So I started being serious about slowly investing time, energy, and money back into style.

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

I rarely shop. And I've all but quit shopping without a clear item in mind - I very rarely shop for sport and surprise. I shop second hand instead of new whenever possible.

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

I have a relatively small wardrobe. Perhaps too small. But I like having a few pieces that I can rely on and wear to shreds.

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

I started asking - and listening - to my boyfriend's opinions and compliments about what he thinks looks good on me. He has a knack for discerning not only what looks like 'me' but also what brings out my natural beauty.

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

Artistic method.

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

I have two pairs each of two styles of sandal and my favorite boot. I love them and they suit me and my crotchety feet, so I'll continue to turn to them.

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

I made my mom a dress for a holiday gift using a fabric and pattern she selected. She felt good in it and got a lot of compliments, which is the nicest gift I could give her. She has a difficult relationship with her body and clothes.

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

Statement sleeves and cold shoulders. They're ridiculous and ostentatious and unpractical - all things I'm not.

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

She has a hard relationship with her body and clothes and I'm working hard to not follow her examples.

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

I kept stealing my bf's boxer briefs, and he got annoyed, so eventually I just sprang for amazing comfy boxer briefs cut for women. Never going back!

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

A few times, it relates a lot to my frame of mind.

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

I dress with self-possession; that is a radical act.

16. Please describe your body.


17. Please describe your mind.


18. Please describe your emotions.


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

A towel. Drying off from the shower.

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

It's posited as an expression of self hood, which is a considered an important story in a capitalist society.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My partner and my sewing friends.

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I rebel against them.

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


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

I bought a second hand rain coat off ebay to try an overseas brand at a more affordable price. The coat was older and more worn than advertised, so it no longer was water proof. Really disappointing.

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

A lot of knit tops are suitable both as pajamas and day clothes.

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

Absolutely. I am an artist, designer, and writer and enjoy styling my home, too.

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 have a big quilted black oversized jacket with a dramatic collar that I wear on days when I need to be cocooned in armor.

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?

Yes. I'm extremely particular about what I like and always have been.

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?

My mom was very pragmatic about some things - undergarments and eye wear: A white, nude, and black bra; inexpensive cotton briefs. Wire frame glasses from costco. When I finally could, as an adult, I secretly really enjoyed dropping money on gorgeous stylish glasses frames, colorful bras, and nice underwear. I will never wear a nude bra again if I can help it.

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

Good underwear, tight pants, powerful boots, long sexy hair, confidence.

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 what suits your pragmatic needs with the most thoughtful, beautiful design.

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

Nature. Water.

34. What do you consider very ugly?


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?

Yes, I'm extremely good at buying what I will need and use. It's taken a lot of practice, but I'm really proud of this skill.

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

I get dressed in about 1 minute tops most days. I have a super functional closet. I just grab anything I feel particularly like wearing and build from there.

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

Clothes that enhance my natural beauty and support my activities.

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