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Rosa Allison

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I know that someone noticed I look attractive. It may be a compliment or a flirty look.

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

I notice women that make unusual choices of clothes that I would never make such as tight clothes or from a different decade. I notice them because they are going outside of what corporate style would recommend and I think that is brave.

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

I admire women that look comfortable in their clothes. As it the fabric was a natural extension of their bodies. This can have a lot more to do with the cultural significance of a garment rather than the physical cosy value.

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?

When I moved from a small town in New Zealand to London I started to wear all the clothes I wished I could have worn. Mostly clothes that are too "out there".

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

I walk into charity stores when I am feeling anxious and stressed. I often buy very strange clothes that make me feel better on that day but are not practical or useful on other days.

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

I love the design of office clothes such as a suit or a shirt but I have never had an office job so I have to undermine the power of the office wear with something casual such as sneakers or a t shirt.

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

Im not sure if this counts as a conversation.. my mum's dressing rules are very memorable. Once we were five we could choose our own outfits so long as we didnt match busy with busy (two patterned items together).
I still stick to this rule as well as no tight with tight or baggy with baggy.

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

black leather coats. I feel like I havent found the right one.. I keep trying. They are always second hand and oversize and from the 90s.

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

Yes, My sister loves the kimono I gave her.

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

Yes - I am not buying into the latest trainer brand - I know they will not last. I stick to leather shoes that don't go out of fashion or wear out within a couple of months.

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

Yes my mothers ideas about fashion are hugely influential. she taught me to be conservative - not to show too much leg or chest. I went through a phase of doing the opposite but now I dress accordingly. She also taught me to feel fabric for quality and look at labels to check it is not synthetic and will not go out of shape quickly. Longevity of an item was important to her so I also look for items that last - although its hard to find.

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

Yes I share clothes with my two sisters. We often end up buying the same things if there becomes an argument.

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

Yes, when I moved from New Zealand to London, I started to wear all the clothes I dreamed of wearing but was too afraid to wear in my small town.

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

Yes, I think dressing has to do with power. I like wearing office clothes because it is the opposite to my life - I am a poor artist. I think I am confusing the corporate power dressing system in a way.

16. Please describe your body.

I am size medium, athletic, hourglass figure. I have a small head on top of broad shoulders. I have an upright posture but a slight pop belly.

17. Please describe your mind.

I have recently learned that I have dyspraxia which means I cant remember sequences or remember directions and find it difficult to organise myself according to time. I compensate by having very good visual pattern recognition.

18. Please describe your emotions.

I get overwhelmed and anxious about organising myself. I always stay calm on the outside because I don't express my emotions easily to others.

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

I am in bed with cotton blue striped pyjama bottoms. on top I am wearing a wool turtle neck and a bright red hoodie. I am still wearing minimal makeup - a bit of foundation, mascara and blusher. my hair is out and messy.

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

I dont think dressing is that important but noticing it can reveal a lot of interesting things about people.

21. With whom do you talk about clothes?

My close friends, my sisters, breaking the ice with someone I just met, my grandma and the management of my work (dress code).

22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?

I have to dress in uniform for my job. I bring my own clothes to and from work so that mentally I don't feel like I am working as I am travelling.

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

I think I have a taste - I associate this word with physical aspects of fashion such as colours, textures and form. Style to me means more of a time and place such as 80s british punk.

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

many times... one of them was some thigh high fake suede boots.

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

Yes, my breasts are quite far apart but if I wear vertical lines such as a central zip then it breaks up the distance and distracts attention from the vast distance between the two points.

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

Yes, I like decorating rooms and arranging furniture.

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 often dress to compensate for a feeling. For example one time I was socially anxious about going to an art exhibition opening. I wore a green leopard print mini skirt, a pink shirt and heeled boots because I thought that a person that would choose that outfit has to be socially confident.

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 am normally confident about what I like however this does not mean I always make good purchases. I believe strongly in trial and error with clothes. So I may like the idea of something on the rack but I have to try and wear it for a day to see if it feels right for my personality. I think this is the same as my approach to life.. this is maybe why I go on a lot of dates but I am single.

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?

Yes! no busy patterns on busy patterns! wear jeans that don't stretch. dont wear short skirts or clothes that are too tight. Dont wear branding or slogans that you dont support or understand.

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

I like choosing a lipstick shade that goes with my outfit.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

57 Brenchley Gardens

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