To Armor, Disguise, or Attract? What We Project When We Get Dressed

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Joyce Wall's Lipstick Blots Joyce Wall's Lipstick Blots (Leanne Shapton & Heidi Julavits)

For many women, the clothes they wear give confidence, let them reinvent themselves and even transform how others see them. How we dress can express our values and our politics, can function as armor or disguise. Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton, and Sheila Heti talk about collecting women’s stories in the book Women in Clothes, a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities—famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old—about how the clothes we put on every day define and shape our lives. 


Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton

Comments [16]

Maria Traversa from Rockville Centre, NY

Yes, how we dress makes a difference in person’s life. I have experienced the melancholy of dressing, until I found the remedy of making my own clothes. It has been the most beautiful experience not only making the clothes but wearing them.
Lopate, yes, as old lady I dress times as a teenager. It is not for reason of looking young, but it is the experience of the choice made making the clothing and dressing on the mood that I am in.

Sep. 09 2014 11:53 AM
George from NYC

It's interesting how almost all the men posting comments about this particular Lopate show thought it was "ridiculous" or a sign of poor programming. But that's because the topic was about women and things that women are interested in. Since most men are not interested in women's clothes and perhaps prefer women without clothes, they find the topic trivial and valueless.

This is sexism. To dismiss as "ridiculous" that which is of interest mainly to women is just sexist. Lopate revealed his deep-seated sexism and antipathy to women's ideas, thoughts, and interests in his attitude toward the topic and his interviewees in this program. I also am not interested in women's clothes and would have simply turned off this segment but for my astonishment at Lopate's behavior.

Just because a particular segment doesn't interest some men doesn't make it "ridiculous". Women's clothes, apart from being of interest to women, are a HUGE economic engine and many talented artists, designers, and creators work in the field of women's clothing.

Sep. 06 2014 01:29 PM
Mike from Forest Hills, NY

I think that the Lopate show is absolutely wonderful, one of NYC's real cultural treasurers. That said, this piece was completely ridiculous. How can anybody even care about this stuff? I felt like I had wandered into a Junior High School hallway and was overhearing a bunch of kids rambling on about some inane topics in a completely disorganized manner.

Sep. 05 2014 12:22 PM
George from Nyc

I was surprised - shocked, even - at the dismissive way Lopate dealt with these women and this topic. He didn't even try to hide his boredom.

Sep. 05 2014 12:47 AM
Tony from Canarsie

At the beginning of this segment, one of your guests called people who don't care about fashions "elites." Considering that haute couture serves only the elite, that was an odd assertion.

I did like her "today our judgments are so snap" remark, though.

Sep. 04 2014 12:35 PM
suzinne from bronx

Please. Just another book we don't NEED. How do these upper class white women know about how black people dress? Absurd. And the mother worrying about the day when her daughter rejects her mother's clothing choice. Cry me a river.

BUT a more pertinent choice of topic - how clothing OPPRESSES women around the world. LIving in a community where I see women draped in black HEAD TO TOE, am increasingly offended how religions like Orthodox Judaism and Islam force women to hide their true selves.

Wbat do these authors know about anything?

Sep. 04 2014 12:31 PM
Fred from Queens

Another example of WNYC's poor programming.

Sep. 04 2014 12:29 PM
ellen from Manhattan

As women - and I"m in my 70's and it's still true - we look at what a man - or a woman depending on your preference - might find attractive and it's always what clothes tell about a woman. Yes, we'll notice of something enhances the woman's beauty - like a color, with an eye to enhancing one's own beauty - but clothes will also tell how confident a woman is - a slouch hat on a 75-year old artist may be the very thing that both men and women first love about her, etc.

Sep. 04 2014 12:28 PM

What about placing limitations based on occasion requirements (weather, formality)? Letting the daughter wear sandals with socks in the dead of winter makes no sense - she will get wet and cold. Wearing flip flops to meet the President at the White House? Wearing pj's or underwear to your college lecture? (I can't always tell the difference.)

Sep. 04 2014 12:26 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

All due respect, Leonard, but you're out of your element!

Sep. 04 2014 12:25 PM
Rose from Brooklyn

I'm curious, do the writers address that women don't always seek to fully highlight their figure or attractiveness? Sometimes it's tiring to dress in a way that gets a lot of a certain kind of attention. Then again, often it doesn't matter what you wear, you may get attention you didn't want anyway.

Sep. 04 2014 12:25 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Are leggings pants?

Sep. 04 2014 12:21 PM

One thing all women can agree on is the horror of trying on bathing suits.

Sep. 04 2014 12:20 PM
Miscellaneous from NYC

This segment is ridiculous. One of the things that clothing is designed to do is ENHANCE someone's appearance. Occasionally, one does not care to have one's appearance enhanced - i.e., while mowing the lawn - but most people make some sort of effort to appear more attractive. For those who can't, the Fashion Police are out there. Fashion tip: if you weigh more than 200 pounds, spandex is NOT your friend!

Sep. 04 2014 12:18 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Fascinating discussion. I have a question ... *yawwwwnnn ... never mind, forgot.

Sep. 04 2014 12:16 PM
Michele from Washington DC

Did you include African American women or Latinas in the book?

Sep. 04 2014 12:16 PM

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