About the Blog


We've created this blog to participate in conversations about the cultural construction of fashion, the semiotics of clothing, and how we can take these theoretical approaches to thinking about clothing and apply them to our daily dressing choices.  We believe that those interested in participating in this kind of discussion can all be described as “scholars” of fashion and style, whether or not they currently have an institutional affiliation.

As scholars interested in the study of language and literature, we engage daily with examinations of how language functions, how it articulates meaning, and how readers of language interpret and understand words on the page.

As scholars interested in style, we would like to examine how clothing choices function in ways similar to language.  In this regard, we take a cue from Tim Gunn, who declares, "I believe in the semiotics of clothes: the clothes we wear send a message about how we're perceived.  Accordingly, it's important that we each accept responsibility for how we present ourselves to the world."  Because we accept that responsibility, each of us believes in the practice of dressing with intention.

Since we see "composing an outfit" as an act similar to composing a written text, we've developed the "style guide" theme to pay homage to the countless style guides, handbooks, and manuals we consult when we write.  We use these guides to give us ideas, to find ways to improve our writing, and to help us decide when it's appropriate to break the rules they establish.  We hope our blog can be used in the same way.

We embrace the idea of "fashion" as it is defined by Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture: as "the cultural construction of the embodied identity."  As such, we also agree with Dr. Elaine Showalter, who suggests that "armed with these definitions, feminist intellectuals can honourably participate in the fashion blitz of the 21st century."

We identify "style" as one's personal engagement with the cultural construction of fashion.  While none of us believe we have a static, stable "identity," we do regard our clothing choices as representative of the meaning we want to convey to the world on any given day.  We also believe that since dressing is performative, what we wear  has the potential to impact how we think about ourselves.

We hope you will join the conversation!

Tim Gunn on Clothing (Oops!  It looks like EW has taken down our link.  Tim Gunn also talks about the semiotics of clothing here.)
Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture
"Fade to Greige" by Elaine Showalter