Women in Clothes is new book which looks at what women wear and what we are trying to say to the outside world with our clothes. 642 women submitted comments to the project answering questions such as “what are you trying to achieve when you dress?” and “tell us about something in your closet that you never wear.”
The final list of contributors includes people like Molly Ringwald and Tavi Gevinson as well as many ordinary women from around the world.
Editors Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton have attempted to remove some of the elitism surrounding fashion and its terminology.”When you hear the word ‘fashion’ you just think fashion magazine,” said Heidi Julavits. “You think of a much more superficial way of talking about what you put on your body.”
The stories illustrate how clothes are tied up with intimacy, emotion and memory. One woman talks about emigrating as a child from Vietnam only to see her family labor day and night at a home sweatshop producing ties and cummerbunds. Another documents a weeklong diary of one woman’s compulsive purchases and another, by artist Miranda July, photographs six strangers in one another’s favorite outfits.
Illustrating how clothes can give us confidence (or not) and how the things we wear can define and shape our lives, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends and work as armor or disguise, Women in Clothes is a must read if you are interested in the psychology of fashion.