Our internet friend Shannon turned our attention to a delightful fashion-related article in an online publication called “The Smart Set.” Writer Jessa Crispin reviews various books about fashion . . . .
Instead of alleviating our body fears, however, so many books advising what to wear do nothing but exaggerate them. The entire structure of Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine’s book What Not to Wear is built to help you define your particular version of body dysmorphic disorder. Do you think you have short legs? A big butt? Big arms? There’s a chapter telling you how to dress around each perceived flaw. It’s hard to walk out the door feeling hot and feisty when your entire dressing process has been focused on your main source of anxiety. If I tried to dress to hide all the parts of my body I have ever been self-conscious about, the only thing left to wear would be a hazmat suit.
. . . . and ultimately recommends The Meaning of Sunglasses: And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable by Hadley Freeman.
If more fashion writing was done in the tone of smartypants Freeman, we could avoid the fear that caring about our appearance makes us a vain fool or a victim. A work colleague recently took one look at the four-inch peep toe heels I was wearing and snarled, “Don’t you know why men invented high heels?” I doubted anything I said would deflect what was coming next, so I just shrugged. “So you can’t run away when they want to rape you.” I understand. I used to be a humorless feminist, too, complete with shaved head and my father’s combat boots. Then I discovered Charles David heels and got over it. If only The Meaning of Sunglasses had existed sooner, I could have spent less time being a self-righteous twit.
Francesca says: It is possible to be intellectual and feminist and fashion-conscious!