Monthly Archives: May 2011

First, Take Your Trowel…

Mark Your Man - because Peggy Olson says so!

I recently posted some half-arsed ramblings incisive comments on the personal and feminist politics of clothing, concluding that, for me at least, it’s a kind of game of coded references, as well as a means of looking ‘attractive’ and not getting arrested for indecent exposure. I wanted to follow that up by mulling over the separate-but-related topic of makeup, which I refer to as ‘ladygoo’, but only in private as the term is liable to be misinterpreted in an unfortunate way. Even more so than clothing, this has implications for feminist and feminine identity. So, makeup, maquillage, cosmetics, slap, what you will. Why do I wear it, what does it do for me, and should I even bother?

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The Way We Look Now

This is how I dress. This isn't actually me. But feel free to pretend that it is.

Grovelling apologies for the hiatus in posting, but I’ve been busy engaging in Extreme Awesomeness* (there’s a campaign to make it an Olympic sport by 2012). Today’s post is brought to you from the depths of my wardrobe, where I have been searching for Narnia and something to wear tonight down t’pub. The resultant tantrum – of the I WANT TO BURN ALL MY CLOTHES variety – got me thinking about the importance of clothing and dress in our self-presentation. Why do we wear what we wear, and, from a feminist/intellectual perspective, is it possible to justify a love of clothes, make-up and ‘dressing up’?

The observation that dress is a key component of our projected identity is hardly a new one. But before you call me Captain Obvious, what I’m thinking about in this post is not the general social implications of ‘clothing’ – the adoption of ritual costume, or uniform, or any other sartorial markers of distinct cultural identity. Instead, I’ve been considering the thought processes that I undergo while choosing clothes in an everyday context, and how this fits into notions of psychological, gendered and class-based identity. (Yeah, deep, huh? This is how I justify reading Elle instead of The Economist on the bus).

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