pick the keeper: choose one item from this picture that you think you would want to wear for at least 3 years - meaning, it would not become dated, out-of-fashion or lose it's appeal (to you).

Booking ahead

i am someone who cannot plan ahead of time when i'll want my next haircut. if i schedule a cut 5 weeks from now, i may wake up that morning and like my hair and not want it cut. if i don't schedule anything, i might want a whole new shape this weekend. this, understandably, aggravates my hairdresser.
yet some how, designers plan their collections at least a year in advance, then they show me in the winter what i'll want to wear the next summer. and when i'm buying my sweater for this year, they're designing my sweater for next year. how they know what i'll want before i do is a mystery. and how i am able to pick and like something this week that i will also like next week, and next month, and next year, is also a mystery. but it happens. a lot. so are designers just wasting their time?

if a designer showed an identical collection 2 years in a row, what would you think?

Spend it wisely

sometimes when i'm shopping, i come upon a perfect item unexpectedly, and regret not waiting for it, lamenting the lack of space, need or money. sometimes there is a drought and i actually actively try to find something to want. while i may daydream about a huge shopping binge (provided by the perfect selection and the perfect lottery win, i think i'm most content picking slowly over the course of the year, which is what i do anyway. the one stand-out advantage to a binge is the idea/feeling of starting with all pieces equally fresh, new, appealing, wonderful and perfect. sometimes, layering a new perfect item over an older favorite elevates the senior piece, but sometimes it makes it pale in comparison.

which would you rather, have a giant shopping binge for the entire year, all at once, buying everything you think you need, and then that's it, for the whole year, or be only able to buy 2 items max. per month, for 12 months?

The good, the bad, the bias

it's not hard to have a go-to brand or store. good results typically lead to loyalty. what about the negatives, either through experience or impression or snobbery.

without naming names, are there thresholds you will not cross, brands you will not consider? is this limiting, do you think?

Place of honor

there are items that sustain a wardrobe, and there are items that go beyond the working wardrobe. there are pieces that you hunt for, save for, pine for or fall for. beyond functional, they can take a closet from average to album - pieces with sentiment or history or power. they are items you parade around your home with, or perhaps congratulate yourself over.

do you have any trophy items?
are there any trophy items you aspire to?

Some do, some don't

fashion isn't for everyone. it's a choice you make, or maybe it's not even a choice. maybe it's just a natural instinct. it either is an interest/passion/career/hobby, or it isn't. for me, it's always been live and let live in response to the disinterested. i have never given any thought to why someone wouldn't care about fashion or their appearance, or have any particular feelings about clothing at all, until today.

what are some reasons why a person might not be interested?


name one thing you would add or subtract here (you can't do both).

Either or

pick one of each (and nope, no wiggle room):

1. either one $6,000 purse, or 6 $1,000 purses
2. either the perfect home or the perfect wardrobe (for life)
3. either timeless or trendy
4. either clothing that shows zero wear and tear or clothing that always fits your body
5. either the perfect shoes or the perfect coat
6. either wear the perfect outfit once (and never again) or wear it for a solid week

Date it

you've got the cloche, the bootie...what year is this outfit from?


1. i prefer a _____ closet.
2. i always fold _____.
3. i always hang _____.
4. the last item i forgot i had was a _____ that i kept _____.
5. the most important quality to a good closet is _____.
6. would you prefer to store or see off-season clothing?
7. items you are unsure about, you put _____.
8. if there is any method to the organization in your closet, what is it?

Say when

i was (who'm i kidding, make that am) considering a new necklace but then i consider that i have a favorite heavy glass bead necklace that gets more wear than any of my other 3 necklaces. if i have one that i love, why would i get another? it's not the cost that stops me, just an interest in self-editing/censoring. stuff can pile up without my even noticing it, so i'm trying to notice. i could love the new necklace for a week, a month or a few years, and then it's over. (or not - but there is no way to know for sure, and the fact of the matter is, i have a necklace that is perfect. why buy another.)

my explanation for multiples in the past has been lust/love/greed/"need" and/or lack of imagination.

how do you distinguish between a reasonable amount and too much?

Art for art's sake

visiting my sister recently, she asked me to go through her closet and essentially find things for her to toss. we have always had very different taste, but this task was especially difficult because my advice would be to toss a lot and replace a lot, which wasn't really an option. i did view the contents of her closet with respect for her attraction to "arty" pieces - she is a painter and she likes items that have a large dose of craftsiness to them (beading, handpainted, patchwork). i prefer my art on the walls, with the exception of scarves, where i feel that a strong graphic is a beautiful thing (though i'm talking about a design on silk, and still no craftsiness, technically), so first i tried to argue that her art should go on her canvases, and other projects, not on her clothing, but that's not really fair. it's her aesthetic. then i came up with a different solution (she was, after all, asking me what worked with what in her closet, and i found it all mostly clashed or competed, rather than coordinated), where she pick one piece to be "arty" and one piece to be simple, to balance that out. just my 2 cents, but i was out of my league, since i could not relate to her choices in the first place - but they do really work for her.

i see a lot of art in every item of clothing that i love, but it's the
art of a seam, or a color, or a strap, or the material, or a neckline/sleeve/pocket/collar, or art-by-association if an item makes me think of something else. i would say that i like art in my clothing (the design and execution of it), not on my clothing.

is there art in your clothing?

The other kind of label

editors often introduce new fads/styles/wares with compact little sound bytes: preppy, girly, vampy, playful, futuristic, modern, nostalgic, classic, edgy, polished, extravagant, modest, punk, conservative, youthful, intellectual, and so on. these words are part of a larger vocabulary that then fills in the full character of the woman of the season. she's posed in settings and the clothing helps narrate her identity. that identity is then spread out over what jewelry, hair, makeup, interests, shoes, attitude and purse she ought to possess. it's a larger sensibility that infuses many many details.

do you buy a look, not meaning head-to-toe designer, but a whole role, a character?

Far from the madding crowd

in the major cities i've been to, anything goes, style-wise. it's easy to take it for granted. a trip outside of that territory quickly delivers a reminder that this is not the case everywhere.

does your style translate when you're not in familiar territory?
have you ever experienced being a fish out of water?


i received an offer in my inbox recently that i would receive a free product if i made a purchase from a particular web site. without much hesitation i leaped over to the site to see if there was anything i needed/wanted. in reality, i just sort of wanted that free product. so it occurred to me that if i wanted the product, i could just use the money the site wanted me to spend on extraneous things to buy the product, or some equivalent that was perhaps even better, and of my own choosing, rather than follow the offer like a dog would a bone.

but it must be noted that they did get me over to their site. so i know that little incentives to buy, little enticements do work on me. i was never in denial about that. free shipping always gets my attention (though i do not like it when there is a minimum total to qualify). it is important, of course, to put impulse aside and take a moment to decide whether the offer is better serving me or the company. if it's a win-win situation, that's fine, like a percentage off if i buy 3 pairs of socks, and i need 3 pairs of socks. but if the bait is more appealing than the fish (please don't think to hard about this metaphor, i suspect it doesn't really make sense), there is a problem.

sometimes the expectation of a bonus can gum up the works, like when i don't have a free shipping code so i don't make the purchase, denying myself something i actually want just because the practice of rewarding customers is so common that i feel disgruntled when it isn't presented. i recently forced myself to override my own impulse and paid about $13 (rate based on purchase total rather than weight - can anyone explain to me how that makes sense?) for shipping. i love what i got (i should add, in the interest of full disclosure that the item was marked down...), and that should really be the only reward i need.

does a gift-with-purchase or some other reward ever tip the balance for you? are you ever a sucker?

Over and over and over and over and

some trends are fluid evolutions from previous, while some hit you with a jolt. either it appeals to you or it doesn't. if it doesn't, often it will, either as a result of merciless bombardment or maybe it was just a matter of finding the right version. some people profess to be waiting to see if the new style sticks, not wanting to appear too trendy, but let's face it, everything is a trend if you follow the editors: now you wear it, now you don't. if resistance is futile, why not be the first, or second, out of the gate.

after enough exposure, are you ever swayed to embrace a new style you initially rejected?


1. name a rebellious fashion muse.
2. who is the most rebellious designer? what or who is she/he rebelling against?
3. name a rebellious article of clothing.
4. name a rebellious aritcle of footwear.
5. pick a rebellious color.
6. what is the most rebellious item of clothing you own? when do you wear it?
7. when is rebellion attractive?
8. when isn't it?

What's fair is fair

i think designers, make that many designers, are artists. that being the case, their lines are their art, their vision, etc. at the same time, they are also consumers who need (or choose) to wear clothing. for some, the runway seems an extension of their own style. for others, it is entirely separate. i must confess, i feel a bit miffed when a designer puts out a collection that is this, that or the other, and steps out to take their bow in jeans and a t-shirt. it might be a bit too harsh to use the word "hypocrite", but if that were a room, the designers would be at least standing in a hallway that leads there. and i absolutely respect someone who lives their own vision, both as an endorsement of the clothing and as confirmation that they're putting themselves out there, in something genuine.

do you ever expect designers to wear their own clothing? or at least embrace the aesthetic they produce?
putting aside the motivation to make money and give the customer what she/he wants, if you designed, would you wear your own stuff? would you design for yourself, or for a fantasy?

DIY - travel flats (the flattest)

ingredients: one pair of ballet flats, one reasonably competent shoe repair place
thin rubber shoe tread that you can cut to size, serious glue, thin fabric or leather patch. glue sole to bottom, glue patch to inside above where toes go to reduce the effect of the soft leather molding to your toes.
(top pic - new shoes; bottom pic - finished product)
i happen to choose to add an arch support to mine.
makes for the flattest, most packable shoes ever (questionable durability...)


name one thing you would add or subtract here (you can't do both).


pick the keeper: choose one item from this picture that you think you would want to wear for at least 3 years - meaning, it would not become dated, out-of-fashion or lose it's appeal (to you).


you just won a 10,000 dollar prize, exclusively for wardrobe needs, wants, desires. that's guilt-free shopping money.

now, a. name the very first thing you would buy (be specific) and b. would it fit into your current wardrobe or would it be the beginning of an entire wardrobe overhaul?

Taking notes

clothing is an expression of my mood, a meter for it, but a song can establish a mood, an attitude for the whole day.

do certain songs shape your moods and effect your appearance/pace/mentality?

and while we're at it, my little band of the day has a good idea (click here).

Solo act

dressing alike signifies unity, but usually at the expense of the individual. being a "copycat" used to be the worst style insult when i was a kid, yet being "unique" or "individual" were attributes hardly well-regarded by a pubescent peer group. you can't win.

trends drive all fashion business. even the right to mass individual style, credited to patricia fields, is a trend. i used to guard my fashion choices with pride and conviction, as if my whole identity were at stake. it wasn't just the clothing that i chose, and the act of choosing them, but the maintaining of the style as personal property that was important and tied up with who i was. that's sort of silly.

if it could be done, with enough choices for all, would you prefer a world where there were no repeats among individuals? where every person's style was original and unique?

Aiming low

happened to find a great trench for $99 just as i was looking for a great trench, and had been looking at them for a lot more than that. found mine at uniqlo and knew right away that i was drawn to the basic cut and quirky sleeves. quirky sleeves that were very similar to the marni sleeves on the fall '06 runway (both looks pictures are marni items). now, i take comfort that they waited a full year to create inspired-by pieces at uniqlo. had it been the same season as the original marni design debut, i would have felt that i was buying a poor substitute. but the marnis are out of the stores, and the uniqlos are in. that's what i can tell myself. i was not looking for a high-end fix, i was looking for a trench. i found one.

when you buy low-end items, do you care/know if they are knock-offs?

Hook, line and sinker

these 2 quotes were used in separate ads - can you guess what either was selling?
i was not remotely interested in the products, but the copy did stop and amuse me, getting the companies a lot more of my attention than they would have without it. in general though, i do not give almost any time to ads for things i am not interested in. i am very aware that i scan advertisements for familiarity because i am interested to see how brands i already like are marketing to me, how they are representing themselves. i go through magazines the way i go through racks in a store, only stopping at what i already connect with, not looking for something new.

which do you pay more attention to, ads for favorite brands or ads for unknown (to you) brands...or option c. whatever catches your eye?
any correlation with how you shop?

Six questions

who, what, why, where, when and how.

in what order, from most to least, are these important in terms of how you feel about and in what you are wearing?

for me, what i'm wearing, how i'm wearing it, why i'm wearing it, who i'm wearing, where i'm wearing it and when.