Friday, 30 December 2011

What Santa Brought

My Christmas this year was mainly books, thanks to my Amazon wishlists.   I've yet to download the programme that allows me to list anything I find on the internet; books and films are dangerous enough to wish for!  I think wish lists are the way to go to reduce the risk of wasting money on an unloved present.  That said, if one does gather ideas over the year, it is best to have a review when birthday or Christmas approaches, to make sure the items are still desireable.  I'm always amazed at how many things I'm able to delete.

I've struggled to blog consistently over the holidays in part because of the usual last minute preparation for unexpected events:  we don't normally have company on Christmas Day, and Simon stayed over a couple of nights so my 'work room' had to remember that it is also the 'guest room'.   Also, because having been given practically a new library of delicious books, my nose has been practically glued to paper pages.  I've read, cover-to-cover, three non-fiction books since Boxing Day, and I have several more to investigate.

I somehow managed to alienate the Amazon thingy that lets one show pictures and links to books, but here's a photo of the book anyhow. 

This book was great fun to read, giving loads of insights into reading people's clothing choices.  For example, a man from the East who wears a turban with his Western suit says that although he does business in the West, his thinking is still that of his homeland.  The same might go for an Asian woman who wears an elaborate native hairstyle.  These people often look very dignified, whereas a person in Western clothing who wears the native head dress of the place they go on holiday only looks foolish.

In times of recession, styles in Britain come all over tartans, tweed and green in colour.  In the US, all things patchwork, quilted and crocheted become the rage.

I'd read elsewhere that the woman who wears a red blouse underneath her proper business suit is telling the world she has a passionate nature; but not that when all the tabs and button downs are neatly fastened, people are repressing their true feelings. 

I knew a lot about the psychology of colours, but having pretty much decided that my favourite neutral these days is grey, I can't tell whether the author believes grey to be mousey or mysterious.  Apparently grey and white are colours associated with nuns!  Perhaps I should re-think navy as a neutral!

The part I need to go back and study - I'll definitely read this book several times - is where she describes the cycles of women's fashions vs women's freedom.  I follow that once Victorian women were no longer captive in their homes, shoe fashions had to change to allow walking on the street, bags more practical to carry items, etc.  Skirts grew shorter, corsets were abandoned, clothing became lighter.   I never picked up the Annie Hall style ("Yes, I'm wearing men's clothing, but it's too big, so you know I'm only playing") which I think is sloppy, but neither have I worn tight skirts or stilettos or the towering platformed heels currently in vogue.  The author suggests that women periodically give up their freedom when they wear fashions that restrict their movement or cause pain and that these fashions come about in periods of conservative patriarchy.  Or something like that.  I've never understood why an otherwise intelligent woman would choose to walk like a toy poodle.

In any case, the author made many analogies between words and clothing, ie  having a large wardrobe is like having a large vocabulary (this was obviously published before minimalism came along).  Putting an outfit together is like forming a sentence.  One can make conflicting statements within an outfit, etc.   What we wear, whether we intend it to or not, gives messages about our status, our aspirations, our emotional state and sometimes even our politics.   One can easily say:  "I'm available."  "I can't be bothered."  "I'm very serious about work."  "I wish to be known as a rapper/ preppie/ country boy."  Most of us know much of this by instinct, of course. 

Then again, in this day of ever more casual dress, one wonders if we are all guilty of dumbing down our communications.  I think more about clothes than my sartorial choices would generally indicate.  Then again, that's me all over!  I've always been more of a thinker and less of a do-er.

Do your clothes make the statements you intend them to?

1 comment:

Suburban Princess said...

Goodness...what an awful lot to think about! I'm not really into fashion, I just wear what I like, is made well, looks good, fits...I tend to keep clothes forever so need to trust they will last 30 years.

I do love colour tho! I am known for my bright sweaters, GTH pants etc :O)