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Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti

Women in Clothes

by Sheila Heti (Editor), Heidi Julavits (Editor), Leanne Shapton (Editor)

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1493123,116 (3.9)10
"An exploration of the questions we ask ourselves while getting dressed every day, and the answers from more than six hundred women"--From back cover.

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Recommended by Cece
  JennyArch | Jun 4, 2015 |
This was quite an interesting book, which is a series of writings, interviews, art projects, and surveys about women's relationships with their clothes (and via that, their friends, mothers, lovers, etc.). I thought this was a really valuable project and some of the interviews and pieces are beautiful and packed with emotion, like micro short stories. Others seemed a little overwrought, but nevertheless I thought this book was a great idea. However, for me there were some areas that needed improvement.

First, the three primary authors/editors really grated on me. None of them had much of interest to say; I found their tone really shallow and dreaded reading a segment that had one of their names on it. This might have been influenced by the bad first impression I got from the introduction: a transcription of a boring Skype conversation among the three of them. I took against them, perhaps irrationally, from the beginning, despite the fact that they managed to put together this pretty great collection of images and texts.

Second, on the whole the book's participants skew very heavily toward a certain demographic: upper-middle-class (to judge from the brands and prices that were cited), highly educated urban white (or Asian) women in creative professions. I get that this is probably one of the largest audiences for fashion, but I was hoping to hear from more points of view. It seemed like most of the alternate perspectives were shunted into the sections where multiple short excerpts were collected together on a theme. I realize that I, myself, fit into the category of well-educated, urban white woman in a creative academic field, but I would have liked more of a diversity of perspectives.

It wasn't deep or anything, but I really enjoyed it in spite of these issues. I ended up reading it pretty much cover to cover and will probably dip into it again someday. ( )
  sansmerci | Jan 17, 2015 |
This book is difficult. It is not that there aren't lots of interesting comments on how women feel about clothes, but I am too much of a scientist not to want some statistical info on the women quoted, specifically age and city. Race and profession would also be interesting because of the interaction between age of the respondent, her life experience, and the crowd she runs with. A woman of the 1960s who grew up with dirndls and dashikis and who never wore a bra is a different person from a woman of today who is stuffed into shapewear. Lawyers dress differently from artists. So for me this book is too unstructured.

I wrote the above paragraph as the start of the review, before I had finished the book. Much of the info I wanted, (including some ages, but no race designations) is at the very end of this 500+ page book. I did not know it was there as I was reading so the book lost a lot of meaning for me. I am not going to re-read to match the info with the names.

But now you know the list is there, you can bookmark it to cross-check as you read. For the next edition, the list should be at the front.

If you are dismayed by the Amazon online segment, the intro chapter is written a peculiar way. The main text reads better but the whole book sounds a lot like a slumber party in a sorority.

I received a review copy of Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton (Penguin Group Blue Rider Press) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Oct 4, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heti, SheilaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Julavits, HeidiEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shapton, LeanneEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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