The start of summer usually brings with it endless lists of books we should include on our “summer reading lists.” And while I won’t bore you with yet another list, I will instead present one option that I think every woman should read, if not this summer, then sometime soon.
I received the book Women in Clothes as a Christmas gift, and because of my busy schedule as a student, I decided to wait until my summer vacation to crack open this over 500-page collection of short stories, essays, surveys and interviews. And was I glad that I waited!
Women in Clothes is an incredibly thought-provoking compilation that makes you consider and reconsider everything you thought you knew about yourself, your clothing and your personal style. At the beginning of the book, the authors present us with a list of interview questions that they asked their participants; question topics ranged from how they view their bodies to their opinions on sharing clothing to what they do with their hair. From here, the book flows from essay to interview to survey, gathering as many different viewpoints from as many different people as possible.
For me, Women in Clothes was more than just a compilation of opinions about clothing and building a personal style; it has served as a catalyst for introspection. It provided me with the tools and questions I need to assess my thoughts about my relationship with clothes, leaving me to ask myself: Are my clothes reflective of my personality or is there a dichotomous relationship between my clothing and my inner self? How do I see myself? Do people see me and my body the same way I see myself? How do my clothes influence the way I am treated by others?
Although I am still in the process of answering these questions and understanding my responses, I can honestly say that this book has irrevocably influenced the way I think about clothing; I constantly have these questions and their answers floating in my mind as I try on clothing in a store and as I get dressed in the morning. I now find myself trying to always create an outfit that is a ‘sampler’ of me; I try to dress in a way that would give passers-by a taste of my multifaceted personality without me having to speak a word – after all, we make judgements about one another in an instant, so why not try to give people an accurate snapshot from which to base their judgements!
If you decide to add Women in Clothes to you summer reading list (which you should!), be prepared to be clothed in thought and do some major soul-searching! But I will promise you one thing: it will be more than worth it in the end!