Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I wanted to talk about vanity. It's a word that is often incorrectly applied, as if care and attention to appearance was conceited, a negativity or character flaw rather than a response to our culture. Joanna Entwistle says very reasonably in The Fashioned Body that "dress or adornment is one of the means by which bodies are made social" and if you hold onto this idea conceited vanity becomes an abstract concept rather than an attainable reality. What appears to be vain is in fact someone who is intent in society, attempting to socialise through their bodies and to socialise their bodies as well. People who appear vain are often very socially engaged, conscious of social rules whether they are inclined to follow or rebel against them. "Dress is the way in which individuals learn to live in their bodies and feel at home in them." Slight observation of the way people dress and the way that they interact is particularly interesting, social engagement and pristine clothes generally go hand in hand. People inclined to extroverted behaviour are often more carefully adorned.

Dressing is an act of creation, it is possible to create personalities that you can use to face society through dress, women in high heels stand and in some cases behave differently depending on their shoes. Clothes create feelings within ourselves that we can then express outward again and that is because adorning yourself is to dress in social fabric as well as simple material.

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