Read Surveys (By Author)
Rachel von Goetz
2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?
Women who are comfortable and confident and happy. I tend to notice bright colours and bold print or if they have a particularly interesting or unusual accessory. I appreciate women with rounder and fuller figures; they tend to be smiling more and also tend to gave fuller and more beautiful smiles.
3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?
8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.
Be in the moment. If I start to feel my brain wandering from the task at hand I take a break, breath,, and refocus my energy on whatever it is that I'm doing. If I can't refocus I stop and move on to the next task. If you can't be fully in any given moment it's not worth forcing it - you won't enjoy it as much and you may do a shoddy job.
10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?
Yes. When I knit something for someone and it fits perfectly and it suits them (their personality as well as their looks) then I get a warm fuzzy feeling everytime I see them wearing it.
11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why?
I don't follow any fashion trends. I like what I like. And I dress for me, to make me happy and to make me smile when I walk past a mirror. A lot of my clothes used to belong to my mother and are well over 30 years old. I like to adapt and up cycle clothing. I bought new clothes for the first time in over three years a few months ago. It was a weird experience!
12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?
My mum was nine inches taller than me so I've always looked at myself as being a more plump and square version of her. I have her features but my face is round and hers was oval. I look more like her mum. My grandma's clothes look much better on me than most of my mum's but I like my mother's style more. It's more in keeping with my own feelings about clothes and life in general: be colourful and try to get the most out of it.
13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?
Yes. All my second brother's old jeans. I chopped all the legs off and wore them as shorts and patch them with the chopped off legs as necessary. I also "borrowed" a jumper from a work colleague - that was eight years ago! I was in the process of claiming an old red fleece from an office after the occupiers had moved to another building when the owner came back for it, but when she saw me wearing it she very nicely said "it looks better on you, you can keep it"
14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?
When I was a teenager I was really colourful. I had multicoloured dreadlocks when I was 14! A few years later my mother died and I wore black for a long time, out of a Victorian respect for the dead. Then I started wearing her clothes because I missed her and they smelled of her. After that I remembered that life is for the living and that my mother was a beautiful and colourful person and since then colours have radiated back out of me.
15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?
Vaguely. I have a "one love" approach. We're all from the galaxy so we should all embrace and learn from all the cultures and other members of the animal kingdom. We wouldn't have velcro and many other clothing or modern technologies without studying nature and making synthetic versions of what we see there. I dress in a universal way because I see the future as being a universal place; without division.
16. Please describe your body.
Measurements: 38, 29, 44
So basically I'm small and sensuously curvy.
I stand tall though and many people don't believe how short I am, I often have men and women who are over 5'7" think that I'm taller than them!!
My hair is really, really long and sooo thick. It's a multitude of blondes, browns and greys.
17. Please describe your mind.
Free-spirited, heavily political, I get very frustrated at injustices, I believe that the key is education. I like to teach and I like to learn: the more I learn the more I can pass on.
18. Please describe your emotions.
I wear my heart of my sleeve and my emotions on my face.
19. What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment?
Shorts, an old shirt of my mum's, and a comfy bra.
My hair is in a ballerina bun.
I never put any stuff on my face.
20. In what way is this stuff important, if at all?
It's not. Other than that I'm comfy.
21. With whom do you talk about clothes?
Usually no-one. But when I do it's around the history of clothes and abstract discussions of how clothes affect our moods and how their design will shape our futures...
22. How do institutions affect the way you dress?
I tend to be deliberately more colourful or to have greater disregard for "normal" dress codes or behaviour when I have to be in formal settings just to highlight that I am my own person and that I refuse to "conform"
I once curated an exhibition of gold and silver for a bond street jeweller in slipper socks.
25. Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something?
Not wearing shoes! Sometimes you just can't find the right shoes to compliment your outfit so barefoot is the only option. You can "cheat" by crocheting or knitting a little strap (or just using a correctly placed bracelet) to make it look like you've got sandals or flip flops on.
26. Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion?
Interior design and landscape gardening. I get a feel for a room or an area or a person or a family and I help create a space that speaks of them and their interests and their happiness. My house is all facets of me; the living room is cool, calm and elegant, the kitchen has homemade tiles and is really warm and all about enjoying food, the bathroom is a bit unfinished, and my bedroom is colourful and messy.
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?
It's a feeling from inside. If they are happy people and know who they are and what they want out of life then comfort and confidence will shine through, as will sex appeal. Some people try to fake it by wearing a certain dress or "putting on a face" but it doesn't work because when that dress or that face comes off they are back to being them. They don't need to try to be anything other than who and what they are. That is were the comfort and confidence comes from: knowing that you are and always will be you, no matter what situation or clothing you are in.
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?
Clothing has to fit form and function.
You need to dress appropriate to your body shape and to the task at hand.
Comfort above all else.
If you're going on a date: make doubly sure to be comfortable as you want your date to be attracted to you not to a false image.
33. What is really beautiful, for you, in general?
So many things. Trees, smiles, flowers, happiness, laughter, being with friends... Life.
But, I think, the most beautiful thing is memory.
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?
If there is any doubt whatsoever, do NOT buy. Unless you feel an immediate yes the moment you look at or try something on then the chances are you will never wear it.
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?
I see two people
1) is very careworn and tired and is always trying to please certain people who can't be pleased. She's rather like a mother. She's warm and always cares and always has time to listen and always has a kind word or good common sense advise.
2) is a young bright colourful happy girl who just wants to explore and be everyone's friend.
these two sides of me are characterized by my own thoughts and observations when trying to suss myself out and are affirmed by various descriptions from people outside that know me either not at all, a little, or a lot.
37. What is your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering?
I'm considering: Comfort and practicality.
My process generally involves putting on whatever I left out the night before or whatever is closest first thing in the morning.
38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?
Comfort and practicality
39. What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up?
Dressing is something you do because you have to.
Dressing up is something you do for fun because you want to.
40. If you had to wear a “uniform” what would it look like?
1940's skirt suit made out of silks and cotton in deep rich tones with splashes of bright vivid colours.
Casual flowing trousers of skirts made out of bright colourful prints and cloths - think African, Burmese, Indian, Hawaiian and Maori
42. What is your cultural background and how has that influenced how you dress?
it has influenced my style in the sense that I have the world at my doorstep. I have a vast array of cultures, cross cultures, neo-cultures, new cultures constantly flowing in and out and through and round my head. I take a little from here and a little from there...
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?
I have multiple sides to my personality so one day you'll see me dressed like a hippy and the next I'll be wearing a pinstriped suit. I'm a bit like a chameleon. I can blend in anywhere, but, conversely, I always stick out too.
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?
Shirt and shorts.
I like the flexibility and coolness of loose and short clothing - I can't wear long trousers, my legs get hot and uncomfortable. I like the fact that shorts show off my legs - I like my legs a lot and it always makes me happy to see them in passing mirrors. I like the fact that you can do anything at all in a shirt and pair of shorts: whether that's in an office, on a farm, walking up a mountain, relaxing on the beach, having/attending a dinner party, cycling, cooking, curled up on the sofa... There's nothing you can't do!
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?
Wether you're a man or a woman it doesn't stop you from dressing in the opposite sexes garments. I think that that is a perfect example of conformity that is on its way out. Which is a good thing. As long as you are comfortable it doesn't matter if you're a boy in a skirt or a girl in trousers. We've adapted to women wearing men's clothes, the last boundary is men wearing women's and it is becoming more acceptable. More men need to do it to help make it more common place and therefore not something that's thought about and discussed. No one thinks twice at seeing a girl in "men's" clothes. One day soon no one will think twice at seeing a man in "women's" clothes.
53. When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think?
I think the picture is all the better for being graced by my presence!! Haha :)
Mostly I think that I didn't look the way I thought I did. Which is never a good or a bad thing. It's just an observation.
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?
I am totally comfortable with my body. It is exactly the wag I wish it was, because if it was any other way it wouldn't be mine and then I wouldn't be me.
58. Is there anyone that you are trying to attract or repel when you dress?
I dress to either make me happy, or to be able to accomplish a certain task. Wether or not other people do or do not like the way I'm dressed doesn't usually affect me. There are a few exceptions: I have an Aunt who isn't keen on purple or pink so I avoid those colours when I visit her so she doesn't have to look at what she may consider to be a revolting shade. And also, when I'm visiting anyone I always try to wear something that they've given me or something that I think they'll like - a blouse with an interesting texture or pattern, for example.
59. Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women?
Be comfy and be you. Don't care about what other people might think: the chances are that they are not looking anyway!
60. What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it?
I don't wear it. Once in a while I might put a little on for a party, but smell is part of what we are attracted to and I don't like to cover my natural smell up or to be around artificial smells on other humans.
61. What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable?
Smile. I always have to smile otherwise I feel like I have an angry or bored expression. I often find it hard to be in a grumpy or bad mood around other people and no matter how tired I am my face will always break into a big old smile the moment I see anyone I know.
62. How does makeup fit into all this for you?
It's a massive waste or time and money.
It's bad for your skin.
And the vast majority of makeup is tested on animals which is disgusting.
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?
The hippy look.
I like it on others, but it's not me. I share some thoughts and ideas and ways of life but it's not a look that I could (or would want) to completely adopt. I'm too jaded and cynical! I would feel like a fake.
64. Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing and jewelry-wise?
Some very fancy posh expensive dresses and suits.
A lot of hand me downs.
The odd homemade and customised piece.
Mostly practical and hardwearing (and hardworn!) comfortable clothes.
Some very valuable pieces that have been handed down or given to me.
Some odd bits and bobs that I've collected along the way.
Some random pieces that have been given to me.
They all sit in boxes largely unworn.
I currently wear a friendship bravely that was given to me by a friend when we were 13, a st Christopher medal given to me a few months ago before I went travelling and a rose quartz that I've worn for a year that a friend brought back from Thailand.
65. What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own?
All of my mums old clothes.
A pair of shorts that I made from my brother's trousers and have patched and mended over twenty times.
An amber brooch that my great grandfather gave my grandmother when she graduated from university.
A turquoise and pearl bracelet a friend made for my birthday.
And the rose quartz that I always have on.
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?
Now nothing. But for years I had an old Chinese dress in my wardrobe. I wore it once when I was a teenager and then my bum grew out of it but the material and pattern were so nice that it gave me pleasure just to look at it. I knew I would never cut it or adapt it to make it fit because it was perfect the way it was, so I just kept it and took it out and fondled it and admired it from time to time. I finally made a friend who I knew it would be perfect for, so I gave it to her.
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?
All my really expensive and posh suits and dresses. They are all exquisitely made and are timeless items so I'll still be enjoying them in years and years to come. They were an investment.
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?
I never owned it. It was a long black cardigan that my mother wore. I don't have it anymore because it was badly moth eaten and frayed and I threw it out. I wished I kept it and repaired it myself or had it repaired. I want it back because she wore it all the time.
69. If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep?
I couldn't throw out ALL my clothes. But I could throw out everything that hadn't belonged to my mother.
70. Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time?
Nothing. I'd do exactly what I did previously.
71. What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it?
A cream coloured skirt suit. And yes, I do still wear it, it's one of my favourite suits.
74. What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc?
Some drawers are neat, like my underwear drawers, others are a mess, like my top's drawer. Mostly everything has a place and everything is in it.
75. Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you?
The turquoise and pearl bracelet that mu friend made for me and gave me last year. It came right after another friend had painted a miniature of my grandparents house. I was overwhelmed by the talent and generosity of my friends.
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?
Mu first "investment" piece. I saw it, checked out the price, went back the next day, tried it on and bought it because I liked it and I needed it. That was about six years ago and now I buy all my suits at that shop and the first suit is still my favourite and the one I get the most compliments on.
77. How and when do you shop for clothes?
Very rarely. Only when I need to and now I don't need to because I've got everything I need!
If it looks right I try it on. If it feels right I buy it.
78. Do you like to smell a certain way?
79. How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself?
As long as I'm comfy I'm fulfilling all my ambitions for myself.
80. How does money fit into all this?
It doesn't. I can always make more if I need it and not if I don't.
81. Is there an article of clothing, a piece of make-up, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day?
My rose quartz, I live in it.
And currently also a st Christopher medal that I was given before I went travelling. I'm not religious but I was touched by the person (a woman I've known since I was three) who gave it to me.
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?
I was cleaning a friends office and hadn't thought much about what I'd put on that morning (I was 15), I was wearing an American football shirt and a pair of long baggy shorts. The two friends who owned the office arrived for work and burst out laughing. They thought I'd raided my older brothers sports drawer!
What’s your birth date? Where were you born and where do you live now?
23rd of October 1988 - I was born at home just off of Roman Road in East London.
I still live in East London, now off of Columbia Road.
I'm currently travelling in Australia
Say anything you like about your cultural/ethnic/economic background.
My Great, Great Grandfather on my mother's mother's side was very rich.
My mother and my father were very poor.
I think I had a really privileged start in life, I have all the trappings (furniture etc.) of my rich ancestry but I have the common sense and knowledge of having to make every penny count and squeezing the most out of everything. I think it helps me appreciate everything that I do have a lot more and makes me take care of what's really important in life. I don't take anything for granted.
What kind of work do you do?
Jack of all trades.
But my profession of choice is knitwear designer.
Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?
Single. I'm 25. No kids.
Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.
I am working with Address magazine to write a piece about what sexy is but relating it to a fashion point of view. I did a bunch of research while I was in the UK and had a number of study groups.
I saw your post on twitter and took it as an opportunity to put my own opinions and interpretations of your questions down in the hopes that they'd be interesting/of use to your research.
How do you feel after filling out this survey?
I really want to know when your book is coming out so I can read your findings!