Read Surveys (By Author)
1. When do you feel at your most attractive?
when i feel strong, clean, and light. when my cheekbones are visible (which is usually when i wear black).
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
women that look intelligent, or like they could beat someone up, or are tall. they look like they have their lives put together. they have everything in its place (i usually imagine it's not just their clothes).
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
i admire when it looks effortless. like they've been wearing the same clothes for 30 years and their outfits are art. i imagine the force of their personality is so strong that they can't help but be surrounded by clothes to match it.
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 realized i didn't want to or need to wear makeup because it looked strange on me. when i learned to only buy clothes that i know i looked good in, and the list of things to look out for at stores narrowed drastically. and to not buy specific things i knew i'd hate.
5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?
never buy patterns. no bright colors, no white, no pastel. no cheap materials.
everything should be comfortable enough to lounge in at home, and professional enough to wear to an office. ideally.
6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?
never match tight bottoms with tight top (loose-loose is ok). usually long sleeves. layer. avoid christmas colors. think about shoes and socks.
7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?
probably something on the topic of fashion not being lame to care about, but also not being that serious. being less embarrassed about putting effort in.
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
get a job i don't think about when i'm at home. don't own too many things. try to create something sometimes. simplify.
carefully-selected aesthetics and environment can at least help me feel my depression means something.
9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?
black turtlenecks. i decided once that i look better in them than anything else and never went back. makes me feel like a comfy philosopher. sometimes i buy them in navy.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
lacy, billowing, loose tops. heels, flats. anything too feminine--i'm a cis female but it makes me look like i'm in drag.
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
i inherited her fear of getting or looking fat. and her thick dark hair. style-wise, i'm pretty much her opposite now, but i wore a lot of the clothes she kept from the 80s and 90s.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
in high school: my mom's leather pencil skirt, some of her 'mom jeans,' her and my dad's chunky sweaters. a thermal turtleneck i wore almost daily.
i still wear the sweaters often, and a pair of her platform sandals sometimes.
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
i briefly wore peasant skirts, ankle socks and retro 90s stuff in high school (mid 2010s). it was probably the most fashionable i've ever been but i didn't realize it. now most of that stuff is passe or stands out too much.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
i guess i dress gender-neutral and wear men's clothes often. it's not intentional, just feels comfortable and flattering.
16. Please describe your body.
somewhat fit. not quite hourglass. muscular arms (i weight train). no thigh gap anymore. short.
17. Please describe your mind.
i'm anxious and depressed as most american 22 year olds. i have good verbal skills but awful spacial awareness.
18. Please describe your emotions.
i've been told i'm emotionally closed off. i'm happy sometimes and sad sometimes, but i'd be less lonely if i didn't push people away so much.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
a green sufjan stevens illinoise shirt. it has a few bleach stains from my hair and the neckhole is stretched. i was wearing it when i met my significant other. pyjama pants that are grey and printed with I <3 NY. my hair is too greasy but has good volume right now, i'd go out without fixing it.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
it helps one conceptualize one's self i guess. i don't even care about fitting in with other people, but i like fitting in with an environment (bedroom, city street, forest, etc). it helps me feel centered.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
sometimes my boyfriend. sometimes online strangers.
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
i don't know. in an office, i like not looking like a slob when an executive walks by, even if it doesn't materially matter.
23. Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you?
i have better taste than style. in everything. not to brag, but i think i like and know about things that are cool for smart people to like or know about. and my style is okay, but it's mediated by a lot more than taste is (i.e. money).
taste is what you know is good, style is what you wear.
24. Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?
honestly, dozens of cheap thrift store purchases i never wore. when i was 19 i decided someday i'd have to dress business casual, so i went to h&m and bought a ton of cheap, uncomfortable office clothes.
also, a $100+ pair of riding boots that weren't well constructed. i think i sold them on ebay.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
being able to distinguish good material from bad in a store.
it's okay to wear the same exact thing most days.
wearing all black.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
people compliment my decor sense sometimes. i like photography.
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?
when i was at my thinnest, in the throes of an eating disorder, wearing tight pants or showing off my body made me finally feel almost equal to the cool girls at college.
i feel comforted by big puffy coats even if they look silly.
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?
i think so. i know what i want but don't quite have it yet, and that applies to clothes and everything else. i don't know where to get fitting jeans or a good job, and sometimes i make mistakes, but i know them when i see them. i'm good at picking friends too.
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?
it's important to hang things up or fold them, not throw them on the floor in a heap. still working on that one.
30. What sorts of things do you do, clothing or make-up or hair- wise, to feel sexy or alluring?
wear sleeveless shirts and pants that show my ass.
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?
i can't do anything if i'm physically uncomfortable. i fidget too much. i admire people who are good at things, and who work hard.
maybe i view people who dress well as having worked for their income, so being able to afford good clothes signals skill or knowledge.
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?
if you like something, wear it until it falls apart. don't own too many things. don't own things you don't wear. only wear things that fit your body, your life, your environment.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
nature, how complex and disorganized it is. views from high up or far away. chiaroscuro. deep colors, concrete walls.
34. What do you consider very ugly?
suburban housing developments. crappy blockbuster movies. strip malls in the daytime. advertisements, logos.
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, after many many failures. if it's similar to something i owned before. i guess all my favorite clothes are just a series that branches out from a couple items i stumbled across once.
36. When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, can you describe a bit about what this “other person” is like? What do they like, dislike, what sorts of judgments do they have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or once knew?
don't like to be noticed. not very approachable, but not likely to be rude if you do speak to them. not frivolous or ditzy. not clumsy or shy. not judgemental but thoughtful and internalized.
of course this isn't all necessarily true.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
how cold it's going to be. what i wore recently. how clean my hair is, what my skin looks like. i don't put much thought in, except when i do.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
i want to look like i don't give a shit. like a battle-hardened knight in a raincoat and blundstones. i'm compensating for my baby face, while also dressing for it.
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
the level of femininity.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
black mockneck sweater, black skinny jeans with a little not-premade rip, blundstone boots or converse. sometimes a puffer jacket.
41. What would you say is “you” and what would you say is “not you”?
me: androgyny, minimalism, practicality, black and grey
not me: patterns, maximalism, most trends, most dresses, lots of color
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
vaguely slavic-american. i admire the trashy/classy line eastern europeans carefully balance on, but i don't know if it influenced me necessarily. i try to embody the spirit of a matching adidas tracksuit.
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?
as a kid i wanted to look like avril lavigne. as a teen i wanted to dress like an art hoe, so either vintage or "vintage" stuff. just wanted to look like i was in on something big no one at my school knew about.
44. What sorts of things do you do, clothing, make-up or hair-wise, to feel professional?
not as much as i should. wearing earrings or finger rings, sweaters, a boring cardigan i bought for five euros in italy.
45. How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace?
rebel by not removing the cat hairs from my clothes. i've worked in blue collar industries and tech, so expectations are not high. i conform by wearing jeans and graphic shirts sometimes.
46. Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity?
48. Do you find it comforting or constraining to have a uniform?
i've disliked when i had to wear the same thing for work in the past. it was a relief to quit those jobs and get to decide for myself.
49. What is an archetypal outfit for you; one that you could have happily worn at any point in your life? What do you like about it?
converse, skinny jeans, band t-shirt. i always liked to pretend i was a cool indie kid.
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?
all the time.
51. If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?
medieval europe. leggings, tunics, those pointy shoes and silly hats...absolutely ideal.
actually, i take that back. 1960s new york.
52. Do you consider yourself photogenic?
not at all.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
ugh. sometimes i think about how i should have positioned my head so it looked normal.
54. Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from?
simone de beauvoir, kristen stewart, shoegaze bands in the 80s, kurt cobain
55. Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes?
56. What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try and achieve?
paris hilton 2000s. the puffy shirt from that seinfeld episode, which is for some godforsaken reason a real trend that exists in 2020.
57. If you were totally comfortable with your body, or your body was a bit closer to what you wish it was like, what would you wear?
mostly the same. i really wish i were taller and could pull off long wool coats.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
i want to avoid harassment, i guess.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
please wear things that fit.
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
i really want to get into it, but i don't know where to start. also no one around me wears it daily.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
i have eczema, so i have to keep up with skincare religiously.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
i don't wear it.
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?
anything preppy. it's just ugly and worn by assholes.
i'm tired of unsubtle 80s nostalgia. at this point it's lazy and didn't even look good then.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
jeans, tshirts, sweaters, some linen pants, a skirt and a dress, some winter coats. silver rings, small gold and silver hoop earrings. gold studs.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
a bootleg t-shirt advertising the band Slint.
66. Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?
when i was 15 i bought a vintage dirndl in germany. it's wearable as a cottagecore thing but i never will. my mom insists i keep it.
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?
my blundstone boots. worn every day working in landscaping, and also my most professional office shoes.
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?
a pair of my own personal sisterhood of the traveling pants. they wore out eventually and i never found another pair that fit so well, despite many weight changes.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
a warm jacket, probably.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
i'd create a spreadsheet ensuring every item could be worn with everything else. i'd have a strict color scheme--maybe only black and grey.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
that rick owens dress, probably. it's black and minimal. i can still resell it at any time.
72. Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life?
probably the first thing i bought at buffalo exchange. don't remember what it was.
73. What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for?
thick, well-constructed, and well-fitting jeans.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
i have in the past. i fold my clothes when they're in my drawers, but right now they're thrown on a chair and my bed.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
my boyfriend bought me a vest with heated coils and a battery, because i was always cold. it looks great and i wear it often.
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?
nothing with monetary value.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
every few months i binge-browse, but don't end up buying much. i look online, sometimes farfetch or ssense, but my favorite places are thrift shops in big cities.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
i don't like to smell bad.
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
i wear atheleisure because i want to be muscular. i dress like i work in an office even when i don't, because i want to.
80. How does money fit into all this?
i get gifted cash sometimes and it all goes to clothes. i'm poor and spend way more than i should on clothes, but i love thrifting and am good at finding used designer stuff.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
a stand-collar grey and black rain jacket. it rains a lot here.
82. Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level?
a few times in my life, people have guessed my weight as much lower than it is. a couple people have called me small or skinny. i don't see it, so it trips me up.
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?
my first day of kindergarden, my mom dressed me in a plaid, pleated dress. my hair was long and in two braids with plastic clips. i loved this outfit since it felt like a school uniform and i was excited to start that chapter of my life. i have always loved picking an outfit for the first day of class.
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
3/4/98. seattle. also seattle.
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
the most middle class an american can possibly be.
What kind of work do you do?
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
single, with boyfriend.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
i do, in fact, have gender identity issues.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
like i want to clean myself up and start my day.