Fashion, clothing, and style are often portrayed as frivolous interests. Wasteful of time, energy, and money. Vain and self-absorbed. Unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Which is downright hilarious when you consider how important clothing has been to human culture over time. Clothing has served as a medium for self-expression, a way to quietly rebel, and a means of delineating power structures. Now, I’m no historian and I’m sure some of you ARE historians, so I encourage you to peek at the contributions in the comments. But from a non-historian’s brain come the following examples: Throughout many cultures, royalty and nobility will show rank and wealth by wearing certain colors, materials, and garments. Judges and clergy wear robes to indicate authority and set the tone in courtrooms and places of worship. Athletes associate with their chosen sports through accessory, shoe, and clothing choices.
Originally posted 2012-09-25 06:19:21.
Lovely reader Bonnie – who is a university student – sent this question via e-mail:
While I don’t dress in a particularly fancy way (I normally wear a collared shirt with dark wash jeans and riding boots, or a tailored shirtdress with a cardigan and a pair of sandals), the things I wear look out of place amongst the hoodies and ugg boots worn by my peers. Most of the time I even look smarter than my lecturers! In the faculties I am in (I am doing a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science) people seem to consistently dress down.
Originally posted 2012-01-04 06:18:10.
Reader Judy sent me this request via e-mail:
One of my fellow engineering students made the comment that girls in engineering are either “hot” and dumb, or really smart, socially awkward, and “ugly.” Upon remembering that I am, indeed, a girl, he babbled something about a happy medium, but the meaning was nonetheless clear. Time spent with power tools can limit my skirt and dress wearing, but I like to believe that I can be perceived as a woman, even an attractive woman, and also as competent and intelligent.
Originally posted 2011-08-09 06:22:31.