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Amazon - I can't imagine why. File under "What was I thinking? Since the synopsis said the material was funny and thoughtful, I guess I was thinking it would be funny and thoughtful.
Say File under "What was I thinking? Say what you do; do what you say. The first part of this book--and I'm using the term "book" loosely-- starts with Skype call transcripts of some women going on about how they are thinking of writing this book.
It's pretty bizarre, a little like walking into the middle of a bunch of Sex and The City types trying to sound Very Serious and just sounding scattered and shallow. Admittedly, I was put off by the third time Vogue was mentioned. If you make it past that nonsense, it goes into responses of an extremely long and almost-but-not-quite hilarious survey about how Oh So Important or not clothes are to women.
There are lots of answers, but they aren't organized very well. And there's very little data about who these respondents are -- their ages, ethnicities, income levels, occupations, etc. Maybe it got better, but page after page of what amounted to "I watch other women and copy what I like" and "I think a little gritty is hot," I got bored out of my mind.
When I got to the part where someone makes the analogy that a woman's purse is an external womb, I was already saying "WTF? I made it through 49 pages, which is my rule for giving something a valiant effort. If you enjoy eavesdropping on a clique of self-absorbed people who act like they are Speaking Great Truth when talking about leggings and "cute booties," have at it.
I have other things on my to-read list; this silliness just isn't worth my time. And I literally am going to shelve under sociology because I can't think of anywhere else to put it. I don't want to make a "WTF" shelf just for this. View all 4 comments. Sep 23, Abby rated it it was amazing Shelves: Has utterly jumpstarted my year, because it seems to be all I can think and talk about.
THIS is the book about women and clothes that I have always been looking for, and I think the editors knew that. Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton say, somewhere in the beginning, that they have been thinking about clothes but not in the way that typical women's magazines or fashion books assume that they are thinking about clothes.
This is a very broad, vast, thoughtful, intentional, weird, and creative book. The editors survey women from a wide range of ages, races, backgrounds, gender identities about clothes and why and how they wear them, and present their findings in an innovative and totally riveting way. One very interesting, intentional choice: Women surveyed are never shown or photographed.
It's a fashion book with very, very few photos of clothes. I love it, and I'm totally obsessed and slightly peeved that the Goodreads rating isn't higher, because it really ought to be. I am still thinking about it, with fervent admiration and attention, even now, and I imagine it will stay with me for a long time.
Clothes are important to everyone, even if we act as if our style and our sartorial choices were insignificant. The choices we make never are. To pretend otherwise is foolish. Sep 16, Melanie Page rated it it was amazing. Women in Clothes , Blue Rider Press is an anthology unlike any kind before it.
She had done a reading at my college, and I liked that her work was odd, and that she, too looked unique i Women in Clothes , Blue Rider Press is an anthology unlike any kind before it. Through FB, Heti put out a call for participants in a survey for women about clothes. In , I learned that Women in Clothes was not only a reality, but it was a huge project.
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton collected surveys from around the world, conducted interviews, gathered photo evidence, stories, and diagrams about fashion from over myself included participants.
Occasionally, I would take the book into another room and read it there, but there is so much information that it seemed better to read only one small section at a time. I read Women in Clothes cover to cover, skipping very little. But overall, I read the whole thing, front to back. The anthology begins with a conversation between Heti, Julavits, and Shapton. First, I was copying quotes I enjoyed onto my Goodreads account to share with others.
Here are some excerpts where women discover things about themselves: I only found natural communities because I have scalp issues…probably related to getting relaxers, and I was just Googling, and I was like What else can I do? Then I found natural hair, and I kind of just waded my way through the murk. A lot of people smell like vanilla blackberry ice cream: It makes me feel like a cookie. There are tons of images, both in color and black and white. I found the most touching to be pictures of mothers that daughters submitted, who then describe what they think of their moms.
I recommend this book as a cultural artifact. I recommend it to get you thinking about your own exterior and how it affects your interior—and vice versa. I make no money and gain no success from having two of my survey answers appear in this book, but it could cause some bias because I want the book to do well, yet feel that it stands on its own merit.
This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels Dec 25, Victoria Weinstein rated it it was ok. I don't know that I will ever officially finish this book. How could a book on style have so little of it? The experience of reading this book is like finding a researcher's file cabinet full of random folders of interviews, sitting down with a cup of coffee and a pile of those folders at your side and sifting through them.
It is in desperate nee I don't know that I will ever officially finish this book. It is in desperate need of editorial direction and curating. Jul 07, Sarah added it. But the gimmicks are numerous and it gets tiresome. Transcripts of chatter among ladies at a clothing swap, poems comprised solely of the names of textiles, watercolors in the shape of clothing stains - this all ranges in effectiveness but overall it seems like no one knew when to stop.
There are elements where the meaningful and the mundane intersect beautifully. In any case, it started to feel like the authors got carried away by their own brand of quirky charm, and while I independently heart a lot of the collaborators, this book is not for me. What it really made me want to do is listen to my friends or anyone else I know answer the questions.
What is beautiful for you? How do you choose or shop for your clothes? How have your parents influenced your style? How do you feel about your breasts and your hair? Oct 17, RH Walters rated it it was amazing Shelves: This thick book was due back at the library before I could finish it, but it contained some unforgettable, thought-provoking stuff.
I particularly enjoyed Lena Dunham's idea of the perfect outfit velvet or stiff taffeta party dress, nubby tights, flats and big wool coat with a hood in case she needs to go out on a secret mission ; the struggles of a transgender woman trying to look feminine in the summertime; women admiring pictures of their mothers before they had children; a Muslim woman's qu This thick book was due back at the library before I could finish it, but it contained some unforgettable, thought-provoking stuff.
I particularly enjoyed Lena Dunham's idea of the perfect outfit velvet or stiff taffeta party dress, nubby tights, flats and big wool coat with a hood in case she needs to go out on a secret mission ; the struggles of a transgender woman trying to look feminine in the summertime; women admiring pictures of their mothers before they had children; a Muslim woman's question why western men are buttoned up to the neck for serious occasions while women are exposed; the experiences of refugees having only two outfits while growing up; garment workers who buy the cheapest possible garish clothing while sewing luxury goods for export; the scent expert guessing things about stranger's coats based on their fragrance; a little girl explaining her fashion sense and the fun of switching underwear with a little boy; women who say they feel the most beautiful when they're absorbed in making art or spend the whole day working outside.
It would be a fun book to keep around and flip through. Reading it is inevitably a rather fragmentary experience, as each snippet is only a few pages of the five hundred total. There are also plenty of illustrations, giving the air of a lengthy, intellectual magazine.
At first I preferred to read only a small amount of it at time, before getting immersed. A few seemed insufferable, while others were wise or tragic, but the vast majority were thought-provoking.
Also the photos of mothers before they had children, which addressed the generational elements of style and dressing. By contrast, I found the diagrams of clothes scattered on the floor horrifying, as I am very tidy and would NEVER leave clothes on the floor.
Whenever past housemates left their clothes on the floor, I picked them up. The strongest element and the backbone of the whole project, however, are the survey responses and interviews. The wide range of voices give a fascinating overall impression. As previously mentioned in my review of The Curated Closet: Yet I kept it, because I like the shape, colour, and fit. Now I realise that I never want to wear it again, so must give it to charity.
I have other things to remind me of happy times with my Nana, rather than the distress of her funeral. The book also spurred me to look through past years of outfit photos that I used to take regularly. Recalling , , and through outfit selfies was a striking experience. What I wear, what we all wear to some extent, is mediated by how we feel.
I started wearing a lot of big, soft woollen jumpers in , during my PhD, because I felt unhappy and they were reassuring. The interviewee who talked about how garments feel on the skin really struck a chord with me - I care a great deal about clothes feel on my body, perhaps more than I care about how they look.
Indeed, I think the two are linked. As well as the individual importance of garments, the book engages somewhat with the fashion industry and the damage it causes. There is a moving and horrifying interview with a survivor of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, a catastrophe in which more than a thousand people died.
Several other interviewees focus on the ethical quandaries of dressing. One of them reassured me by stating firmly that second hand clothing is the way forward - we need to stop buying so much new stuff. Buying ethical new clothes is fraught with difficulties: I always feel guilty about new purchases. Buying clothes from charity shops, by contrast, is about fun, discovery, and experimentation.
It would be ideal to dip into, though, and I think anyone with even a modicum of interest in clothes, make-up, perfume, embodiment, or femininity would find a lot to think about. The survey responses have a sincere, honest air.
Although some across as pretentious or over-privileged, they all have something compelling to say. I can probably come across as pretentious myself when talking about clothes. To me, and certain interviewees, clothing still retains the quality of dressing up in a costume that it possessed during childhood. A tiny pleasure that enhances the mundane working day is to choose an outfit to be someone slightly different, a character in some story more dramatic than your office job.
It needn't be perceptible to anyone but you. I took to heart a comment I once read online: Dress for the dystopia you want, not the one that you have. Jan 23, Daniel rated it really liked it Shelves: More than anything in my life I have been interested in human expression.
Clothing is one of the most efficient forms of communication and expression. People with great style, Nagel says, are constantly relearning. I am in the process of this relearning. I wish I had better methods of implementing this. My current pair of boots are black suede and leather and they immediately got a hole in the suede, but I still wear them anyways because it is the most powerful item of clothing I own, it changes me completely in terms of gait and confidence; I've never felt sexier.
After boring teenage years and colorful college years I am finding myself in a punk phase, a phase that is completely inappropriate to my job and life but maybe I am still young enough to pull it off?
This book has conversations about all of these topics with approximately women and a handful of men. Excerpts from Women in Clothes: Hope you like it! Plato says that feeling of absolute knowing can inspire the beholder to quest after a similar revelation in other disciplines of life—poetry or music or science, for example.
The ultimate experience of eros, then, is one that inspires you to live in a questioning, questing way, seeking truth in all areas of life. Ergo, true beauty turns you into a philosopher! I want them back. I want my dog back. I miss having clothing that I feel connected to. The text of a dream. Jan 13, Phyllis rated it liked it Shelves: This book is unlike any other book on style and fashion I've ever read. Primarily a collection of survey questions compiled by the authors, it also features essays, photographs, interviews, and transcripts of conversations.
At its best, it really illuminates the weird intimate relationship women have with their clothes in a way I've rarely seen in print. But for every really incisive, amazing section there was another one that was just kind of fatuously navel gazing.
At over pages, this was This book is unlike any other book on style and fashion I've ever read. At over pages, this was a dense roller coaster ride that at one moment would speak to my soul and my closet at the same time and the next minute annoy the hell out of me. There's a recurring feature in the book of women's collections of tote bags or shoes or navy blazers, and I was FEELING this, because I tend to build my wardrobe around similar but different items like black pencil skirts or leopard print tops, and to the unobservant it would seem like I'm just hoarding multiple copies of the same outfit, but they're actually all totally different, man.
What the heck was that? Anyway, in conclusion, this book was an oddball combination of being truly groundbreaking and fascinating and being kind of banal and irritating. This is one of those times I really wish goodreads had half-star ratings, because I feel like three stars is totally stingy, but I'm not ready to commit to a four star rating for this book.
Just picture that fourth star half shaded in, OK? Oct 11, Beth rated it liked it. This is not a book to borrow from the library as I did after hearing the authors interviewed on NPR.
It is interesting research about how women develop their dressing style and their reasons behind what motivates them to buy what they buy and dress as they do. It is a book for those who want to understand women's psychic or those who like women's magazines and will wish to read an article now and then. They could get a "fix" many times during a year because there is so much food for thought in t This is not a book to borrow from the library as I did after hearing the authors interviewed on NPR.
They could get a "fix" many times during a year because there is so much food for thought in the survey answers and interviews. What the book doesn't have for me is a summary chapter or New York Times style book review in it to clear my understanding of the topic. I can't focus a message from it in my mind. That is the beauty of it and the confusion too. The authors have made a worthy research effortthat will provoke thought in those interested in this kind of research..
It's difficult for me to not watch an entire movie. Except, of course, Gladiator. I had no trouble walking out on that one. Books are the same.
Even if I don't like it, I have to finish it. This is like reading the research for someone's thesis. The only problem with reading the notes for a thesis is that it's difficult to get the point. Aug 29, Andrea McDowell rated it it was ok Shelves: I finally finished this book. It took me several months to make my way through it; this was not, for me, a pick-it-up-and-finish-it-in-one-go kind of book. That's not necessarily a bad thing; I have a lot of books in the slow-read category that I work my way through in bits and pieces over the long haul, sometimes years.
But in the case of Women in Clothes, it wasn't necessarily a good thing, either. It aims to legitimize the concerns about dress--what to wear, when, why, and what that clothing co I finally finished this book.
It aims to legitimize the concerns about dress--what to wear, when, why, and what that clothing communicates--that specifically women have as something that it is possible for serious, intellectual and successful women to think about. It certainly makes the case that women largely do think about this whether they should be or not, and that women put a fair bit of thought into what their clothing says about them, their lifestyles, their aspirations, and so on.
But the sheer variety of voices somewhat undercuts the success of this central message: It raises the question, what's the point? Unfortunately this question--and others raised by the book--is never answered. The book is a very large collection of completed surveys you can find it here by about women, as well as essays, photo essays, stories, conversations and interviews with women about clothes.
There's sure to be something in there that interests and resonates with you. Unfortunately, there isn't a conclusion, or any kind of unifying discussion. I'm sure that was their point, but it was also a drawback.
The book would have been vastly improved if it were cut in half and organized in some fashion--by theme, perhaps, or socio-economic group. To accomplish this, the editors composed a survey of questions, ie: For example, there is an entire section about what women say when they get their hair braided, featuring nine photographs of white women in various stages of hair-braided repose.
This might have been a good place to include a woman from a different race — say, a black woman, for whom a relationship with braided hair is deeply intrinsic, and actually interesting. Alas, what we get are carefully curated outtakes presumably from a one-on-one hair-braiding session: Women in Clothes could have been a thoughtful exploration of elegance and artistry, self-awareness and self-design, but is nothing more than an exercise in narcissism, and a knowing appropriation of that which is pleasing to three middle-class white women, without giving any real emphasis to true individuality.
The introduction is both banal and stunningly self-important, as correspondence between the three primary editors via Skype and email is transcribed, seemingly unedited, and ostensibly to offer insight into how they came up with the idea for the book:.
Lo and behold, that is in fact how their book starts. But not before Sheila Heti explains the real impetus for the book: And what of those who believe, myself included, that thinking about dressing well is the absolute antithesis of style? There are illustrations and a few photos throughout.
WOMEN IN CLOTHES by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton. Forthcoming from Penguin in 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 24software.mls: 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/5.