Women in Clothes

Women in Clothes : Why We Wear What We Wear

3.91 (1,770 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.

It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists, and artists including Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon, Kalpona Akter, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson, Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies, and illustrations.

Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends, and function as armor or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of women's style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always thoughtful impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed.

Sheila Heti is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be?. She writes regularly for the London Review of Books and is an editor and interviewer at The Believer.

Heidi Julavits is the author of four novels, most recently The Vanishers, winner of the PEN/New England Fiction Award. She is a founding editor of The Believer magazine and an associate professor at Columbia University.

Leanne Shapton is an illustrator, author and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Swimming Studies, and winner of the 2012 National Book Critic's Circle Award for autobiography.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 176 x 224 x 44mm | 1,050g
  • Particular Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846148359
  • 9781846148354
  • 60,051

Review Text

Like the very best non-fiction, Women in Clothes leaves you convinced that its subject might, in fact, be a way of understanding everything worth trying to understand. More extraordinarily, it also manages, through the cumulative power of all these individuals' words, to do what the best and most honest fiction does: it makes you feel less alone Guardian
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Review quote

Women in Clothes is a book I've been waiting for - a chronicle not only of what women really wear, but why they do so. The emotional attachment to our clothes is fascinating...This is one to be unpicked slowly and savoured. * The Independent, Books of the Year * Down-to-earth and visually exquisite ... a thing of beauty, five stars * Telegraph, Books of the Year * Endlessly fascinating * Psychologies * I am jealous of the editors of Women in Clothes not because they have cool clothes or great hair, or perfect bodies. I am jealous, and admire, that they found a way to work together to create something a little bit revolutionary * The Millions * Unlike many books about style and fashion, Women in Clothes doesn't cast judgement and it isn't prescriptive... Across its diverse set of contributors, the book maintains a refreshingly confessional, vulnerable, intimate, and compassionate tone * Quartz * This vast field study asks not what we wear, but why we wear. It unites hundreds of voices in a sartorial conversation that is blissfully free of angst, refreshingly unfashiony, and spiced throughout with terrific illustrations and visual projects. * Financial Times, Books of the Year * This charming patchwork expands the scope of fashion writing by looking not at forerunners of style but at how those outside the industry think about what they wear...The range of women involved - 642 according to the editors - is dazzling * Boston Globe * In Women in Clothes, the artful, often elitist language of fashion is stripped away, leaving behind a conversation that is funny, painful, certainly vulnerable and ultimately empowering * NPR * Our digital age makes artistic collaboration easier than ever - and Women in Clothes is one of the great outcomes. Women in Clothes is your new style encyclopedia * Time Out New York * The book feels like a community - a support group, even - for women who want to talk about family, and gender politics, and art - anything really - through the lens of fashion * Bustle * Poems, interviews, pieces that read like diary or journal entries-all these responses help the editors fulfill their aims: to liberate readers from the idea that women have to fit a certain image or ideal, to show the connection between dress and "habits of mind," and to offer readers "a new way of interpreting their outsides."

"What are my values?" one woman asks. "What do I want to express?" Those questions inform the multitude of eclectic responses gathered in this delightfully idiosyncratic book * Kirkus * A thoughtful, droll and often moving tome ... amusing, enlightening and often startlingly honest * Interview * Women in Clothes looks like a novel, reads like a passed note from your best friend...Seeing the breadth of answers in the aggregate is fascinating, and comforting...It's nice to know how many people live as I do: with piles of clothes on the floor but nothing, ever, to wear * Grantland * A refreshingly honest and often complex look at how we present ourselves visually to the outside world. And at a time when fashion and feminism frequently appear in the same sentence, it's an important book for women * Style.com * A gloriously eclectic account of fashion choices * Sunday Telegraph * Rich with detail, the must-read anthology shows how daily sartorial decisions speak volumes * Lucky magazine * From an initial conversation between three girl crush-worthy authors, a book appeared: Women in Clothes is a look at why and how we wear what we wear, in 600+ meticulously and beautifully designed pages of essays and conversation, with every possible permutation of women exploring their personal history through their clothing choices. -- Elisabeth Donnelly * Flavorwire, 25 Must-Read Books * If you buy one book about personal style, make it this one. Women in Clothes... is an admirable and earnest attempt to unravel the snarled thread that runs between the way women look and how they feel about it... The cathartic urgency with which the book's contributors write suggests they themselves didn't realize they had so much to say about clothes. Maybe it was just that nobody ever asked * Elle * Offers extraordinary, and unusual, insights into our relationship with clothes ... the collection of experiences is broad and unfiltered ... so many voices might have been overwhelming but together they make a surprisingly consistent and companionable chorus -- Jo Ellison * Financial Times * I can't put Women in Clothes down. Like a cross between Edie, Our Bodies Ourselves + The Gentlewoman: ADDICTIVE. -- Miranda July Like the very best non-fiction, Women in Clothes leaves you convinced that its subject might, in fact, be a way of understanding everything worth trying to understand. More extraordinarily, it also manages, through the cumulative power of all these individuals' words, to do what the best and most honest fiction does: it makes you feel less alone * Guardian *
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About Sheila Heti

Leanne Shapton is an artist, illustrator, and writer who was born in Toronto and lives in New York. She is the author of several books, including Swimming Studies, The Native Trees of Canada, Women in Clothes (with Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits) andImportant Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry. She has contributed to The New York Times, Harper's and The New Yorker among other publications, and teaches creative writing at Columbia University. She is one of the founders of J&L Books, a non-profit imprint specializing in photography.
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Rating details

1,770 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 36% (632)
4 35% (613)
3 19% (330)
2 8% (141)
1 3% (54)
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