Do you ever feel uncomfortable admitting that clothes matter? Sometimes I feel silly – after all, we’ve heard that what’s truly important is inside. I remember disliking how an old boyfriend dressed, and I never mentioned it. How to bring up something so personal and arguably trivial? Yet I couldn’t pretend I didn’t care.
Women in Clothes is a book that takes the conversation seriously, and devotes pages to how fashion and style impact women’s lives. It’s a fascinating topic. Style affects my confidence, body language, interactions, and is rooted in my history. In college I befriended a man I dated in high school. In discussing how we’d changed he mentioned that I dressed much better! My college friends dress beautifully, and strongly influence my own style (as does my mom, grandmother, sister, and others).
Around a thousand women answered questions for the book, questions that reveal how important clothing is. How does your cultural background influence how you dress? Is taste or style more important? Money? What did you learn about dressing from your parents?
They discovered that about five percent of women interviewed didn’t care about clothes. I wonder what that number is for men. Many men I know dress with great intention. I imagine that caring changes with age and circumstances for women and men.
But I don’t think you can talk about clothes without talking about consumerism (at least in the U.S.). Dressing well requires having things, and part of that can mean wanting, coveting, craving, and ultimately consuming new/better/more things. I love outfit-watching (like people-watching, but for outfits!) to get ideas and appreciate all the combinations out there. But sometimes it leads to me wanting something I would not have thought of otherwise.
What does style mean to you? Is there a certain piece or accessory that’s particularly special? How do you balance dressing well with minimalism?