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Women in Clothes Paperback – Deckle Edge, Sep 4 2014
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“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
“Thoughtfully crafted and visually entertaining, this collection, edited by Heti, Julavits, and Shapton, uses personal reflections from 642 contributors to examine women’s relationship with clothes in a deceptively lighthearted and irreverent tone….it also inspires meaningful questions…the prose is spliced with striking visuals…[a] provocative time capsule of contemporary womanhood.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] delirious assortment of conversations, essays, journal entries, and photographs…This big, busy book feels like a thrift store brimming with jumbles of clothes and accessories and alive with women’s voices. Their comments and stories are canny, funny, incisive, twee, surprising, and caring, as thoughts and anecdotes about clothes touch on everything from gender to beauty, sex, mother-daughter relationships, aspirations, money, human rights, health, work, creativity, and violence. A uniquely kaleidoscopic and spirited approach to an irresistible subject of universal resonance.”
“This is the wisdom of the crowd, and while it's not authoritative or prescriptive, it's reassuring and fun.”
“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 [is] dazzling…a welcome addition to writing that often focuses on a single trend for all.”
—Madeleine Schwartz, The Boston Globe
“[A] thoughtful, droll, and often moving tome…Women in Clothes is the pulchritudinous addendum to Mr. Twain’s famous quote—clothes make the woman.”
—Sloane Crosley, Interview
“[A] winningly zine-like compendium.”
—Meghan O’Grady, Vogue.com
“Women in Clothes dares to dive into the realm of heels and chiffon to suss out the deeper underpinnings of what we wear.”
About the Author
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 magazine.
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 and an associate professor at Columbia University.
LEANNE SHAPTON is a Canadian illustrator, author, and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Swimming Studies, winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm entranced by it. It's so inclusive, invites women of every age, weight, nation, race, everyone to give what they wear a good hard enjoyable think.
This is the book of the year. I'm giving it to everyone I know. And Amazon.ca, enough with the delays. Fix your stock problem, please!
I feel kind of ripped off and wish I never bought it.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
it is without a doubt one of the best books i've ever read. i felt so emotionally drained yet revitalized at the same time. i found myself veering off into my own thoughts time and again. the book is cathartic, whether you want it to be or not...sad and funny and just so damn human or should i say woman? plan on crying or at least getting close, especially if your own mother is gone.
i wish i had the words to describe it. you just have to read it..you really NEED to read it. i have this overwhelming urge now to document my whole life and send it to the authors.
my one tiny critique would be that the print is very, very small and the layout on some pages defies any real ability to read them without a ruler in hand to go from line to line. i found that extremely frustrating and gave up on a few pages before i even read the first word. thankfully, the whole book is not laid out that way or i would have sent it back unread.
This book collects interview responses from more than 600 women to a series of questions about clothing.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, I felt this book suffered from too-small type (it was hard for my 50-ish eyes to read) and from not identifying most of the survey respondents until the end. It would have been interesting to know more about people than just their names. In some cases, I wasn't even sure if a person was male or female (there are some transgender individuals). Age, location, and other identifiers would have given context to the responses.
I also felt the book started off badly with an interview between the authors that read like a literally transcribed phone conversation--this put me off to the point I almost didn't read the book.
Glad I kept going. I did enjoy this book, but I think the best way to read it is by skimming it and diving in to those that interest you. Personally, I enjoy reading about people who enjoy fashion, style and clothes and how they make the most of it, such as artists, entertainers, performers and designers. However, many of the respondents in this book seemed to actively hate fashion or purposely try NOT to look attractive. I didn't really care to read about this.
This book is very cerebral and may appeal more to you if you are involved in women's studies, gender studies, in or recently out of college or grad school. It made me feel a bit old and bourgeois for caring about clothes…which wasn't what I expected from this book.
While there were a few interesting bits along the way, (depressed people wear brown, not black . . . .????) much of the book, like many of the illustrations, were just annoying. Part of the problem may be that there seems to be a relatively high quotient of very young responders, and a great deal of camp, quirky, transgender, edge, cute --- and I myself am just a rather ordinary middle aged woman with a definite interest in the style, trends, self expression through clothing, but a predisposition to the classics.
This is the kind of book that I would expect to see stacked in piles at Anthropologie (and I predict that those piles will eventually be moved to the sale room shelves.) So, if you're curious flip through it there or at a book store. Buy yourself a lip gloss or two with the dollars you save.
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