Through the Wardrobe: Women's Relationships with Their Clothes / Edition 1

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Relating to clothes is a fundamental experience in the lives of most Western women. Even when choice is fraught with ambivalence, clothing matters. From considerations about dressing for success, to worries about weight, through to investing particular articles of clothing with meaning bordering on the sacred, what we wear speaks volumes about personal identity - what is revealed, what is concealed, what is created.

This book fills a gap in the existing literature on the ambivalence of fashion and dress by drawing on a wide range of women's experiences with their wardrobes and providing empirical data noticeably absent from other studies of women and dress. Navigating what is clearly a contested realm in feminist scholarship, contributors provide rich case studies of the reality of women's relationships with clothing. While on the surface concerns about fashion or dress may appear to reflect gendered patterns, in fact clothing may be used to challenge ascribed meanings about femininity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A valuable contribution to the study of dress and identity and . . . a thought-provoking and interesting read." —Contemporary Sociology

"(This book) is well worth dipping into since it raises some important questions and seeks to examine areas that are rarely discussed in academic texts." —Costume

"An excellent resource for students interested in issues surrounding clothing and identity. Its accessibility and the inclusion of wide-ranging topics are likely to ensure a broader readership." —Feminism and Psychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859733837
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Dress, Body, Culture Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Lexile: 1380L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
1 Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Consuming Images: Shopping Around for Identities
2 Young Women and Their Wardrobes 21
3 Big Girls' Blouses: Learning to Live with Polyester 39
4 The Wedding Dress: From Use Value to Sacred Object 53
5 Choosing an Image: Exploring Women's Images through the Personal Shopper 71
Pt. 2 Constructing Images: Presenting Status and Identities in Public
6 Suiting Ourselves: Women Professors Using Clothes to Signal Authority, Belonging and Personal Style 97
7 Minding Appearances in Female Academic Culture 117
8 Black Women and Self-Presentation: Appearing in (Dis)Guise 137
9 Resistances and Reconciliations: Women and Body Art 151
Pt. 3 Personal Images: Revealing and Concealing Private Selves
10 'Flying on One Wing' 173
11 Cancer, Breast Reconstruction and Clothes 189
12 Dis/continued Selves: Why Do Women Keep Clothes They No Longer Wear? 203
13 From Closet to Wardrobe? 221
14 Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological Clarifications in Fashion Research: From Critique to Empirical Suggestions 237
Pt. 4 Reflections upon Endnotes
15 Unpicking the Seams 257
Bibliography 263
Subject Index 279
Author Index 283
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