Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
When I feel that what I am wearing reflects the essence who I 'truly am' - or maybe who I want to be.
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
When people look like they didn't just throw things together, but thought about it, at the same time not overly groomed, painted etc! I like if the style is 'out of the box' and not too common/mainstream trendy.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
I like when it doesn't look like it came straight out of a shop - i.e. purchased in one place head-to-toe. I like of you get a sense of history, and gradually collecting pieces. I admire it when someone looks like they know who they are, and they like themselves.
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?
That more isn't necessarily better, and it was OK to wear only what I felt good in! I realised that if i had an item, and invariably chose the 'other' item, there was a reason for that, so why not get rid of the one I keep avoiding!
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
I like to buy pre-owned, online because of the convenience, and you can buy better quality items for the price - searching specifically for what you want/need instead of going into a thrift store and not knowing what you will find. You can get some unique great pieces, some from all over the world...however, since you can't try things on first, you can also make some mistakes and waste money!
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
I don't wear all flowing baggy, head to toe. I feel that on me it looks sloppy, and that i need some definition and contrast - either fitted at waist, top or bottom. But on some people it looks great!
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
Not conversation - but websites about capsule wardrobes, projectt333 and 10x10... and sustainable wardrobes! It made me more conscious about being throughtful about what I wanted in my closet, and where it came from and was going.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
I feel like I'm a maximalist minimalist, with lots of contradictions! One the one hand I love the minimalist life/aesthetic, but on the other a cluttered cozy english study/library feel, reflecting years of collecting interesting stuff. That applies to all facets of my life. I'm constantly on a search to simplify, but now have embraced the messier more 'interesting' part of me, and just go with it. It's ok to have a mix of both in your life, and make it your own, instead of fitting into a box.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
I keep buying stiped boatneck (Breton) tops, and black boatneck sweaters. There's just not enough boatneck tops/dresses/sweaters out there, so when I come across one, I tend to get it - just in case. Maybe I need to get over that scarcity mindset, but have come to regret not getting certain items over the years. Crew neck just does NOT look as good on me! Of course, that means that I sometimes end up getting things just because they are boatneck, and they aren't really that great for me.
I've realised I probably don't need any more Breton tops, until I wear out the ones I've got... but I find myself looking at the stripey fabrics whenever I go into a thrift (or other) store.
I also have multiple cashmere/yak/pashmina type scarves in black. I'm always looking for the perfect one, and thinking when I find it I can get rid of the rest. They are all different weights and levels of fluffiness, so I haven't been able to minimise them yet...
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
I made a necklace for a friend of chunky vintage wooden beads and a loverly green/blue semi-precious stone, and handmade bress findings. My friend loves it and it goes with her style. By chance, I'ts a perfect blend of rustic/vintage/classy aesthetic. I made one for myself too, but it broke, and is sitting in a box to be fixed... for the last 3 years. I still love it though!
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
Synthetic, overly processed, overly bright and polished anything.
Gel nails and full on make upb and contouring - i'm too lazy, and it doesn't really go with my image. The more I do, the worse I look.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
Her style rules were: quality over quantity, natural materials, and not too tight.
Both of us are pear-shaped petites, although I'm a bit bigger. We both love Breton tops and boat neck lines. I was definitely influenced by her! she tends to prefer more casual/comfort, and I keep trying to look a bit more put together (without sacrificing comfort).
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
I permanently borrowed a 'Lion' cotton knit top mum bought in a thrift store in the early 1980s... It's a great basic.
I also have a few wool beanies and sweaters that my great-aunt knitted for her when I was a baby.
I started wearing Birkenstocks (which I had watched some friends wearing for years) and realised that they are amazing. I pretty much live in them in summer now.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
When I realised that not following trends did not mean I had to be frumpy or anti-establishment.
When I stopped trying to wear styles that i saw my friends wearing. They looked amazing in it, but it didn't look great on my body type, and I never felt comfortable. I realised that I could find my own way.
Instead of focusing on styles/coolurs/texures/shapes, I started thinking about words relating to how I wanted to feel and the essence I wanted to project, and then when from there. i
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Not really. But for myself, I like to do it in a sustainable way, that reduces waste and unnecessary consumption.
16. Please describe your body.
Pear-shaped, 5foot 3ish. (approx 163cm?), average. If i worked out more, it would be somewhat athletic...
17. Please describe your mind.
A mix of contradictions, that somehow seems to work.
18. Please describe your emotions.
Somewhere between serious and humorous. Not a drama queen.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
My hair is in a somewhat messy pixie haircut, and I haven't brushed it today. I kind of ran my fingers through it this morning....
No makeup today, except my morning skincare routine, and tinted vileda moisturiser. If I was wearing makeup it would probably be brown eyebrow gel, greenish eyeliner, and a touch of mascara.
I'm wearing highwaisted indigo wide-leg jeans, a navy boat-neck sweatshirt, french-tucked and a chunky multicolored tartan/check wool fabric patchwork shawl. Brown sheepskin ugg-style slipper boots and green socks.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
When it comes to the deep-meaning-of-life-stuff, there are far more important issues than clothing.
Inner qualities are more important. I don't like 'judging a book by it's cover' - I'd hate that someone came to a snap-judgement about me (especially negative!) just by my appearance. I don't want to do that to others!
However, I also think that what we wear can be an enjoyable way to express who we are, and share a bit of ourselves with the world. Since we need to get dressed every day, why not make it enjoyable? Why not make my outer self match my inner self!? Just don't make it a competition, a financially miserable burden, and a cause of consumption and waste.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
I recently bought a vintage jumper that I love online, but it turns out that my head is too big to get through the neck line. Yikes. Biggest wastes is trying to save money on an item that is not quite right, and then re-buying to get what you should have got in the first place!
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Chunky scarves with anything...! It's become my thing.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
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?
My dressier clothes in particular are chosen to convey the idea that I'm confident, classic, calm, unique and put-together. Wearing them helps me feel confident, if for some reason I'm not feeling it that day!
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?
Lessons from mum:
Wear natural fibres!
Wool sweaters wear better than acrylic. De-bobble your sweaters!
Ironing something makes you look more put together.
Classic not trendy.
We're not rich enough to wear cheap clothes. (i.e. trendy bad quality vs classic, better quality)
Vintage/thrift stores are great.
Good quality shoes are important (I learned that from a Sherlock Holmes story, but it was also reinforced by my mum)
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?
Wearing something that fits well enough so that you don't have to adjust it or fiddle with it while you're wearing it. You can forget about it and feel confident that it looks great from all angles.
Wearing fabrics that don't get too hot, sticky, see through or wrinkly so that you worry about them, and colours you know flatter your skin tone, so you can relax and have fun doing whatever you are doing.
Wearing a style/cut that accurately reflects the message you are sending out in the world that day - e.g. I'm professional but I know how to have fun; I'm classic but like to think outside the box; or, I intend on having fun today!
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
Feeling comfortable in your own skin, but not being wrapped up in yourself. Being interested in other people - showing your loving care.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
Overly synthetic anything.
Head-to-toe unnatural grooming (i.e. I can't tell what your natural hair colour, skin colour, or anything is..)
Flashy plastic platform high-heels, especially if they are too small or too big for the foot.
Too tight clothes that reveal all the underwear.
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?
Generally, but then I can find myself in the trap of buying multiples of the same item... e.g. breton tops!
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Feel comfortable, confident and true to myself. And trying to look less tired than usual!
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
European background, mum brought up by grand-parents. So it was about not following fashion trends, quality over quantity, investing in classic quality pieces. No one would wear a tracksuit on the street, even these days!
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?
When I was younger I wore a lot of beige, camel and brown, because it was 'classic' and for some reason I thought 'autumn' colours suit me. They don't.
Also, I tended to 'under-dress' more casually, because I didn't think I could carry of a more elegant look. At the time I was trying to copy what others wore for 'elegant' so it didn't suit me. Now I'm more aware of what I like and how I can make it 'mine'.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
I don't like classic suits - they don't look good on me, so why should I wear something I don't feel comfortable in?
I prefer similar level of 'dressiness' in mixed simple separates, or a dress and cropped jacket.
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?
No, however I do think that men's clothes are often better made, and more classic than popular women's fashion, so I wish there was more equivalent available for us.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
Photos can be a reality-check!
At times I realise that what I think is 'casual' can look disheveled and badly fitting... !
Simple, unfussy, well-fitting lines tend to look best on me.
Generally if I feel comfortable and confident, and 'in my own skin' in what I'm wearing, I will look better in the photos.
If i'm wearing make up, I realise what a difference it can make!
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Don't feel constrained by established rules, but do think about what it is you're trying to achieve.
What image to do you want to project? How do you want to feel? Yes, clothes are your personal choice, and an expression of yourself, but if you are going into public, they are also shown those around you. We don't live in a bubble (except when social isolating...) Why do you want to say what you are saying? What do you want to say?
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
No stains or rips, or wear...Fixing loose hems.
No downtrodden, scuffed shoes. Fix and polish them (or discard)
No bad body odour...
Brushing my teeth! Oral hygiene.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
I get lazy, but on days I do it, I like to feature the eyes. I definitely look less tired when I put on makeup. Sometimes I'll put it on for myself to feel better and more awake, sometimes I'll do it when seeing others to feel more vivid!
I don't like the whole 'I've now got to take it off at the end of the day' thing though.
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?
Why should we be 'expected' to like certain looks? Clothes are so different around the world, and though history, by now we should know there is no one 'right' way to do things. I'm not interested in being told what to like or dislike, or what is expected from me. And i'm not interested in the amount of money being spent and ostentation being used as a measure for how how successful and attractive an outfit is.
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?
When I didn't 'settle' for an item, but was happy with it from the start. Something that was simple and classic but not too 'basic', so that it felt special to wear.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Make a list of the types of things I want included, and then look for and item that I love that fills that category, instead of lots of 'almost' pieces to fill the gap.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
I bought expensive Italian knee-height 'riding style' boots when I finished school - over 20 years ago. They were incredibly expensive at the time, but i still have them! I've resoled them several times, and since they are a classic they don't look out of style.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
A classic cropped little leather jacket for dressing up/going out. It made me realise i could dress up, look a bit fancy, but still be me.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
A beautiful brown suede square tote bag which was a surprise present from my parents - its around 20 years old, but still a classic!
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?
I caramel trench coat I purchased around 15 year ago on a whim because it was on sale. Classic and chic, i still wear it! Dressed up or down, it's been on many trips, a daily staple.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
Often online, usually pre-owned. Trying to avoid whim purchase, but on places like e-bay you never know what will be available, so it's easy to start browsing and end up with something totally unexpected! I like to save searches for items i'm looking for, and then check them every so often. E.g. black cropped leather jacket; fairisle sweater;
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
Fresh and clean e.g. Tommy Girl, jo malone scent or a blend of essential oils.
I also have a 'dressy' perfume for when I want to 'dress up'.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
Always a scarf/shawl!
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
I'm in my 40s. I was born in Europe, and now live in Australia.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
My European background has definitely had an influence on my style, and how I view clothes!