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maandag 16 februari 2015

Women in Clothes: why this book is a transformative conversation about fashion and style




Once you start going through 'Women in Clothes' you can't put the book away. At least I can't!



Women in Clothes is a collection of stories about clothes and style and their meaning to us, women. The stories take form in interviews with a wide variety of women (mostly unknown to me but that doesn't bother me) photographs, projects, drawings, and surveys. The core of the book are the surveys the authors/editors (Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and Mary Mann) especially designed for the book. 

I have had this book for a few months now, I keep it besides my bed and I browse through it every couple of nights. Browse rather than read from cover to cover, as you would with a traditional book. It is not an ''easy'' book as it is not immediately apparent how one should read it. It almost need studying. I really like the artistic projects and photographs and the different angles at which we can perceive clothes. It makes a refreshing change from cliche fashion and beauty glossy magazines. In a way it it resembles 40+fashion blogs, it seems more real to me.

Opinions about the quality of the book differ hugely. The Guardian found it a banal and self-important book (see the article here) while the Telegraph calls it 'a thing of beauty' (read the full article here). Dutch newspapers showed a similar divide. Personally I think it is not as diverse as the authors make it out to be but I find the questions around which the book is centered very inspiring. 


On the website you can still fill out a survey of 83 questions of your own. I have not done this (yet) but I plan to because I find the questions thought provoking and worthwhile. The questionnaire could function as a tool to help you (re)defining your own style. 

I picked one question out:


7. WHAT IS THE MOST TRANSFORMATIVE CONVERSATION YOU HAVE EVER HAD ON THE SUBJECT OF FASHION OR STYLE?

Here is my answer: During Art College I went through a student trainee work placement with a ceramic artist. I was 22. She remarked on something about my lack of nice clothes, about me not being fashionable. She assumed I did't care about beautiful clothes as she always saw me in old jeans or very inelegant workwear. I was really hurt by her comments! Thing was, as a poor product design student, always at work in a workshop, I had no money to buy nice clothes and hardly any opportunity to wear them. What her comments made me realize however, is that how I looked on the outside was no reflection of how I felt on the inside. It never before occurred to me that my love of all things beautiful was not as apparent and logical to others as it was to myself (or my boyfriend; he called me the Aesthetic Police, but that was mostly concerning the house) I promised myself that as soon as I could afford it, I would only wear lovely clothes. And I have done.




See these lovely lovely pointy flats? They are from Uterque, an slightly more upmarket Zara (in fact also owned by the same Spanish company Inditex) Of course they are for summer but I simply can't wait to wear them now. I wish I could wear them outside (inside is already a challenge!) like Laura Fantacci from the wonderful blog Wearing It Today(WIT) does with her beautiful lace up flats from Isabel Marant. Oh, I'm just jealous!

Grey jumper is from Uniqlo, featured in my post about Wardrobe Glue (link).
The shirt with embellished collar is old, from Maison Scotch.

Talking about linking: I linkup to Fashion Should Be Fun and Not Dead Yet Style on a regular basis.


What would you answer to question number 7? What is your most transformative conversation you ever had about fashion?

Let me know in the comments!

See you next time,

Irmin



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