Women in Clothes

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9780399166563: Women in Clothes

Women in Clothes is a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities—famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old—on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives.

It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists, and artists including Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon, Kalpona Akter, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson, Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies, and illustrations.

Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends, or function as armor or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of women’s style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always thoughtful impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed.

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About the Author:

SHEILA HETI is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be? She writes regularly for the London Review of Books and is an editor and interviewer at The Believer magazine.
HEIDI JULAVITS is the author of four novels, most recently The Vanishers, winner of the PEN/New England Fiction Award. She is a founding editor of The Believer and an associate professor at Columbia University.
LEANNE SHAPTON is a Canadian illustrator, author, and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Swimming Studies, winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

INTRODUCTION

QUESTIONS

 

The book is based on a survey we invited women worldwide to complete. The survey consisted of an ever-evolving list of questions.

 

What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had with someone on the subject of fashion or style? · With whom do you talk about clothes? · Do you think you have taste or style? Which one is more important? What do these words mean to you? · Do you have style in any areas of your life aside from fashion? · Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain. · 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? If you’re not so sure about your clothing choices, would you say you’re better in other areas, or the same? Can you say where your discernment comes from, if you have it (or where the lack comes from, if you don’t have it), and why? · Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style have been passed down to you or not? · What is your cultural background, and how has that influenced how you dress? · Did your parents teach you things about clothing, care for your clothing, dressing, or style? What lessons do you remember? Did they tell you things directly, or did you just pick things up? · What sorts of things do you do, clothing- or makeup- or hair-wise, to feel sexy or alluring? · What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves? · Many people say they want to feel “comfortable,” or that they admire people who seem “confident.” What do these words really mean to you? · Do you care about lingerie? · Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice? What sort do you tend to admire? If not admiration, what is the feeling that a compelling woman on the street gives you? · 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? · What is really beautiful, for you, in general? · What do you consider very ugly? · 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? · When you look at yourself before going out, and you are trying to see yourself from the outside, what is this “other person” like? What does she like, dislike, what sorts of judgments does she have? Is this “outer eye” based on someone you know or knew once? · What’s your process getting dressed in the morning? What are you considering? · What are you trying to achieve when you dress? · What, for you, is the difference between dressing and dressing up? · If you had to wear a “uniform,” what would it look like? · What would you say is “you,” and what would you say is “not you”? · 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? · What sorts of things do you do, clothing-, makeup-, or hair-wise, to feel professional? · How do you conform to or rebel against the dress expectations at your workplace? · How do institutions affect the way you dress? · Do you have a dress code, a school uniform, or a uniform that you wear for an extracurricular activity? · Are there ways in which you conform to or rebel against these uniforms? · Is it comforting or constraining to have a uniform? · Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or makeup or hair? What was it? Why did it happen then, do you think? · Are there any dressing tricks you’ve invented or learned that make you feel like you’re getting away with something? · What are some dressing rules that you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but that you follow? · Are there any dressing rules you’d want to convey to other women? · 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? · 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? · If there was one country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be? · Do you consider yourself photogenic? · When you see yourself in photographs, what do you think? · Send a photograph of your mother from the time before she had children, and tell us what you see. · Are there any figures from culture, past or present, whose style you admire or have drawn from? · Have you ever had a dream that involved clothes? · What would be a difficult or uncomfortable look for you to try to achieve? · Have you stolen, borrowed, or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family? · Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about? · Were you ever given a present of clothing or jewelry that especially touched you? · 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? · When do you feel at your most attractive? · Is there anyone you are trying to attract or repel when you dress? · Do you like to smell a certain way? · What do you think of perfume? Do you wear it? · What’s the situation with your hair? · Please describe your body. · Please describe your mind. · Please describe your emotions. · What are some things you need to do to your body or clothes in order to feel presentable? · How does makeup fit into all this for you? · What are you wearing on your body and face, and how is your hair done, right at this moment? · 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? · What are your closet and drawers like? Do you keep things neat, etc.? · Can you describe in a basic way what you own, clothing- and jewelry-wise? · What is your favorite piece of clothing or jewelry that you own? · 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? · Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in, and if so, why? · Looking back at your purchases over the past five to fifteen years, can you generalize about what sorts of things were the most valuable to buy? · Is there an item of clothing that you once owned but no longer own and still think about or wish you had? What was it and what happened to it and why do you want it back? · If you had to throw out all your clothes but keep one thing, what would you keep? · If you were building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently this time? · What’s the first “investment” item you bought? Do you still own or wear it? · Was there ever an important or paradigm-shifting purchase in your life? · What item of clothing are you still (or have you forever been) on the hunt for? · Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing? · Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened? · Do you address anything political in the way you dress? · 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? · Did you ever buy an item of clothing or jewelry certain that it would be meaningful to you, but it wasn’t at all? What was it, and what happened? · How and when do you shop for clothes? · Do you have any shopping rules you follow? · How does how you dress play into your ambitions for yourself? · How does money fit into all this? · Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing? · Is there an article of clothing, some makeup, or an accessory that you carry with you or wear every day? · 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? · Do you remember the first time you were conscious of what you were wearing? Can you describe this moment and what it was about? · Did anyone ever say anything to you that made you see yourself differently, on a physical and especially sartorial level? · In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

COLLECTION

 

CLAUDIA DEY’s fedoras

 

ON DRESSING

GOOD MORNING

ELIF BATUMAN

Last summer, when I was living in Istanbul, Sheila Heti asked me to compliment a series of women on their clothes and record our subsequent conversations. The women were supposed to be strangers, and I was supposed to meet them in elevators. There were many, many reasons why I never did end up asking strange women about their clothes in elevators in Istanbul. The only place where I used the elevator was at the gym. I felt like the women at my gym already weren’t that crazy about me, and to be honest, their clothes were nothing special. I did once compliment the Pilates instructor, a former ballerina, whose insistence on relaxing and natural breathing seemed somehow fraught with anxiety, on her amazing earrings: one of the tiny silver studs was connected, by a long, fine chain, to an equally fine necklace. I didn’t have a tape recorder, but luckily she just smiled politely. She was folding “resistance bands.”

Later that week, I had lunch with the writer Elif Şafak. We had first met some months earlier, when she accidentally walked into me at a huge dinner in London. She had been walking backward, for some reason. This was our second meeting. She was wearing marvelous clothes, about which I remember only that each article had a different texture, everything looked expensive, and all of it was black, though it was July. When I told her how wonderful she looked, she gave me a look full of compassion and, reaching across the table, wordlessly squeezed my hands.

All summer, antigovernment protests raged in Istanbul, and in cities all over the country. My apartment was often full of tear gas, and also full of journalists and protesters and, on one occasion, a protester’s small, demanding dog. One journalist had come from Bulgaria; most mornings starting at seven, he was reporting to Bulgarian national radio, speaking very loudly, since it wasn’t a good line. Every day, one or the other of my parents called, urging me to come home to the U.S. early. Nobody was sleeping, or getting any work done. Feeling overwhelmed, I packed a bag and took a commuter ferry to Heybeliada, an island in the Sea of Marmara. Though Heybeliada is in the Istanbul municipality, stepping off the boat was like landing on a different planet. There were no police vehicles, no police, no protesters, no gas masks, no gas, no graffiti. It was as if the past weeks had never happened.

“Where are all the police?” I asked when I reached the pension where I had booked a room.

“We have four police on the island,” the owner replied. “They mostly concern themselves with picnickers.”

When I stepped outside the next morning, a beautiful orange cat rubbed up against my leg. The sun seemed to pour over your whole body in a way that was full of love. Walking downhill toward the sea, past the ruined white Ottoman houses that resembled, with their gingerbread trim, heaps of old lace, I came upon a woman sitting on the curb. In her forties, deeply tanned, she wore a headscarf, and a severe expression. As I approached, I felt that she was actually glowering at me.

“Good morning,” I said cheerfully, hoping to defuse the atmosphere, even as I wondered whether the woman was religious, and how the people who lived here felt about women traveling alone.

The woman’s face was suddenly, utterly transformed, by what I realized was a smile. “Good morning,” she said, beaming. “I was just admiring your skirt. That’s why I was looking at you like that.”

SURVEY

WOMEN LOOKING AT WOMEN

 

“Sometimes I’ll see a woman dressed in a way that makes me think we must be similar, like in another world we’d be friends.” —SASHA ARCHIBALD

 

ANN IRELAND Often, I’ll spot a woman crossing the road who is wearing just the narrow gray-black pants I want. Or sneakers that are just one color with no ugly stripes. Maybe I could get away with that Indian dress! Those Jesus sandals are just the ticket—I bet they’re comfortable, too. Then I crave it, a sort of low-level fever that won’t lift until I’ve located the desired item and seen whether it works for me, too.

VANESSA BERRY A woman selling vegetables at a market stall once complimented me on my wool shirt. Every time I looked back she was looking at me. I took it as a good sign that I should wear this shirt when I want to impress someone.

ALESIA PULLINS I like complimenting other black women—women of color in general—because I feel like a lot of times the only people giving us compliments are other women of color. It’s not a conscious thing where I’m like, “I’m going to go in here and find the two black girls and load them down with compliments.” It’s just something I tend to do because I realize, “Look, I see what you’re doing over there, I see what you’re working with, and I like it.”

ANA KINSELLA When I was about nineteen, my friend and I were sitting outside the lecture theatre, smoking cigarettes and commenting on every girl who walked by and what she was wearing. We thought we were very cool and trendy and edgy. In retrospect we were idiots and I in particular looked like a fashion-crazed fool. But after an hour or so we figured out that the girls we considered the best-dressed were not the girls who wore the clothes we may have coveted most, but the ones who had a consistent style, a steady palette, and knew the silhouettes that worked best for them. I realized then that style is about knowing what you like and why you like it, more than anything else.

GRACE DENTON In university, there was a girl who lived on my floor. She once came to my room and asked if her outfit looked okay. In the natural way young girls have with people they don’t really know yet, I said, “Yeah, you look great!” She was probably wearing something middle-of-the-road and vaguely hippy. Then I asked, “How about me?” as a kind of social exchange. She said, “Hmmm, yeah, I don’t know. You kind of look like you’re trying to look wacky.” This was a horrific revelation. Who the fuck . . . ! Why did she . . . ! I was wearing a polka-dot spaghetti-strap dress I loved, with a T-shirt underneath. It later became apparent that she had multiple social strangenesses, but the comment stuck. I still occasionally look at myself with her eyes and think, “Okay, trying too hard, take it back a step.” This makes me sad.

JILL MARGO In my early twenties, there were a bunch of girls who swapped clothes or, rather, borrowed clothes from our most alpha female, who was very communally minded. They were considered lucky clothes—the ones that got us laid. Recently, I saw a photo from back then of my friend in one of the outfits. There is no way those things looked as good on any of us as they looked on her. What were we thinking?

OLLA NAJAH AL-SHALCHI In high school, I...

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Descripción Softcover. Estado de conservación: New. Women in Clothes is a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities—famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old—on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives.It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists, and artists including Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon, Kalpona Akter, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson, Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies, and illustrations.Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends, or function as armor or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of women’s style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always thoughtful impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed. Nº de ref. de la librería 5362955

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