Physiognomy

It’s amazing how many ways fashion is connected to our innermost instincts. This weeks’ readings had me thinking a lot about the skin. I think The first few sentences of The Dressed Body puts it restating Umberto Ecco puts fourth: “Dress, then, forms a part of our epidermis-it lies in the boundary between self and other.” You know how girls refer the rituals of putting on makeup as “putting on my face”? Clothes do the same exact thing, only you are putting on your body, you are dressing yourself in a layer that can morph your true physique and send a message to the world what other colors you are. Now, later on in the readings, I started to think about shopping. I started to think about stepping into a store and perusing the floors with full-marked prices and new product. I see shirts with the perfect weight and drape to them, I see textiles being used that are absolutely perfect and appropriate for the season outside the stoer, I can look at a jacket or pant’s tailoring and know that it creates the best silhouette to date. Then I move to the clearance/sale section and notice, things look different. Yes, the colors are out of season and the textiles are even less appropriate for the weather outside, but more than anything, I notice that the shapes and silhouettes I’m seeing are totally unflattering and misshapen. I’m sure a lot of you have thought that whilst perusing a sale section at least once. So now I’m thinking, in fashion, we do not only cast aside unseasonal garments, we deem one silhouette as better than another on a monthly basis when product rotates. As fashion moves forward, so do bodies. The person who is able to buy garments just as they hit the market has a different “body” than the person who can just now buy last-season’s leftovers. This is a weird thing to me. There’s a lot to be said about social classes here, I think.

In response to Edmonds’ piece on the vanities in Brazil, I think we can say there is another economy in Fashion aside from the Cultural Economy, and that’s the Beauty Economy, the currency of physical beauty. Is beauty really a necessity, just like money is? It could be argued that, well, maybe. Physiognomy is the act of “judging by the cover”. It is embedded in all of us and has been since the dawn of time when humans had to immediately make snap judgements about character and social cues in order to survive. its funny how these senses, over time, become less about survival in the mortal sense and more about  survival in the cultural sense, like how Sex is or (arguably) exercise. I would love to discuss this notion further in class! Beauty has power, and it is inseparable from fashion because it thrives as main inspiration for many designs and works in the industry. It is not essential in fashion design, but its always present in one form or another.

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About romanorums

writer, blogger, student, redhead.

One response to “Physiognomy

  1. hannahmooy

    I agree with what Claire is saying here. I think that in the fashion industry beauty is becoming more like what money is to a person on wall street. The prettier you are the farther you will go. Is it ever about what you can do in the workforce rather than what you look like? Coming from a fashion photography background, I can say that what i look like might make less of a difference working for a photographer and more of what I know and how well I can utilize my abilities. Whereas, someone who works in the fashion industry for a magazine has more experience of what looks nice because all they hear is mediamediamedia. And i’m not saying that the fashion industry is shallow and materialistic (well it is…), what i’m saying is – looks matter in the workforce for the fashion industry. I’d also like to discuss this further in class tomorrow.

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