I interviewed my friend Jenna who is from New York and is a sophomore at Lang. I chose her because I was curious how her interest in environmental studies affected her dress practices. While we talked, a theme that came up was about how fashion can be styled and what that says about a person. Jenna talked about how she thinks that the way she dresses says something about her, but she doesn’t know exactly what. She applied this to how she styled herself with ear piercings and that sometimes she’ll wear her hair back just to show them. I think this is an interesting theme because I feel the same way. I didn’t know it until I had the conversation with Jenna, but if I’m honest, I subconsciously dress for others too. We both agreed that many people do this without even knowing it. We dress for ourselves but there is a part that dresses for others as well. I can relate this back the image of Londoners walking in front of Harrods in 1909 that we discussed about in History of Fashion. The subjects in the painting show an action of looking at one another’s fashion and in a modern context, this is what some call street style. I never knew Jenna’s connection with her piercings and also with her anklet, all which she wears everyday. She feels more for her jewelry than clothing items, and that could be coming from environmental study subject position. We talked about the relationship between sustainability and fashion, mainly concerning thrifting. Jenna and I both agree that thrifting is environmentally beneficial, but also economically too. When it comes to comparing our dress practices, they are similar in valuing comfort and economical concern. It does differ in how we style ourselves, sometimes I overthink a lot about my outfits and what I look like while Jenna thinks more about being comfortable. I realized that Jenna’s outfits are simple on her body, the comfort allows her to get through the day easily as opposed to stressing over discomfort. This theme is relevant to Sophie Woodward’s study in Why Women Wear What They Wear. Woodward observes that “when women are dressing in a hurry, one of the most important factors in deciding what to wear is ease of access” 1 . This statement about the organization of a wardrobe can also apply to how comfort links to cutting time in the process of dressing and resulting in ease throughout the day. When I was listening to why she dresses this way, it occured to me that when the body is comfortable, the mind is able to focus on anything without being distracted by the body. Not only is there a relationship with the body and how comfortable the clothing is, but it can connect to the mind.
- Sophie Woodward, Why Women Wear What They Wear. (Berg, 2007) 44.