Total hours: 52
This is me on a normal day where you can see I’m in yoga pants, a tank top and a jacket. I wear this type of outfit to both school and work. I get up very early for school and I am gone most of the day so I like to be comfortable. I work at my father’s office where I do random busy work and do not interact with many people, so I have the ability to dress more relaxed. Over the past few years I have become very lazy about my appearance. I spend most of my morning in bed hitting the snooze button. When I do finally get up I am out the door 20-30 minutes later. I throw on comfortable clothes, normally black and grey, and make-up is very rare.
I was struggling with what concept to do for this project until one day I wore this outfit to school. A few of my classmates complimented me on how I looked and so my idea was born. I do not wear a lot of skirts, though I do like them, and the only reason I was this day was because all of my pants were dirty. After the reaction I got on my appearance, which I felt I did with little effort I was curious to see what would happen if I really put effort into it.
Outfit 1: 6 Hours
This outfit was worn one night where I went out with a group of friends for food and drinks. I spent about an hour getting ready and had my younger sister do my hair. Out of all my outfit this was the only one that do not get me verbal feedback. None of my friends said anything about my outfit until the end of the night when I told them about the project. After I told them they did say I looked nice. I realized this was not the best group of people to experiment on because to them I was dressed normal. The times I do see them we are always at an event such as a wedding or party where I spend more time on my appearance than my normal day.
Outfit 2: 9 Hours
After my experiment with outfit 1 I felt work would be a better place to experiment on. It took me about an hour and a half to get ready and I went through many outfits until I found this one. I made this dress around 5 years ago and I have only worn it once or twice. Of the few years I have worked at my dad’s office I have never worn a dress. Everyone seemed to react to the way I was dresses and I few of them said I looked very nice. One even said “Hey girl look at you!” while he looked me up and down. I felt a bit uncomfortable with how form fitting the dress was and how the V-neck kept creeping down all day. It was obvious some of the guys noticed it too. All day I was pulling up my neckline. I was wearing hose underneath that I also had to keep pulling up all day. Part way through the day I noticed there was a long tear in the hose which I kept trying to hide the rest of the day. The hose were also uncomfortable pulling in at my sides and left red marks around my waist.
Outfit 3: 10 Hours
This was what I wore to work on Halloween so I tried to add a little hint to the holiday to my outfit. It was the only time I changed my necklace and I also added a black and orange bracelet. I felt very weird wearing a different necklace and it made me realize how attached I am to my normal one. This was my least favorite outfit however it was very comfortable. The jacket I had on was a bit long and it made the outfit look frumpy to me. I wore a long black skirt that I have only worn a few times and a zebra print tank top that I really like. My shoes were black sandals that I wear most days when the weather is warm. I did not get much of a reaction from anyone. Three people said I looked nice, two of which were my mom and sister before I left the house, the third was a woman at work. When walked into dad’s office he asked me, “Oh why so dressed up?” and said I looked pretty. I did wear make-up but I felt that I should have spent more time on it. After half my day at work I had wiped a lot of it off accidentally. Out of all my outfits this was the one I felt was least representative of my idea for this project.
Outfit 4: 8 Hours
I wore this outfit to work and later to a family dinner. I have had this dress for a long time and I use to wear it to my old retail job where I worked as a cashier and sale representative. It had been at least 4 years since the last time I wore it. I spent more time doing my make-up and I added coloring in my eyebrows, something I have never done before. I repeated my jacket from outfit 3. Any time I wear something above the knees I always put on leggings or hose on because I feel my legs are pasty looking. This time I did not because as I said for outfit 2 my hose had a huge hole in them. This made me very uncomfortable all day. I felt almost naked with my legs exposed and I hide a lot at my desk. One of the guys at work said “wow you’re in a dress girl” and said it was pretty. No one else commented on my clothes but I did notice that many of them were smiling and talking to me for a lot longer than normal. One was even invading my bubble a little too much. At dinner everyone in my family said I looked very pretty.
Outfit 5: 10 Hours
Of all the outfits this was my favorite to wear. Like many of my other days I wore it to work and spent at least an hour and a half getting ready. I put more make-up on than the prior times and I took it with me in case I need to touch it up. I borrowed my sister’s skirt and a pair of her shoes which I wore in outfit 2. My shirt was also a repeat from outfit 1. My mother surprised me with some new hose the day before which made me feel a lot more confident having my legs exposed. I got a lot of attention at work and many of them said I looked nice. One told me I looked like a sexy hippy and that my skirt was a cross between a hippy pattern and a Mexican blanket. I did not see it but it definitely made me laugh. This outfit made me feel pretty and slim and was still being very comfortable. Most likely I will wear this again.
Outfit 6: 9 Hours
My last outfit was worn to school and it took me two hours to get ready. I spent a lot of this time curling my hair and burning my fingers on the iron. The night before I painted my nails red and wore red lipstick, which came out more pink. I wanted everything to match the red pattern on my shirt. I also wore the most uncomfortable red heels to match as well. I really wanted to try this project at school before but I already was getting up at 5:30 and did not want to get up any earlier than that. Also my morning self is not very cooperative . Lucky this day my first class was cancelled so I used the extra time to get ready. Of all the outfits I got the most reactions from this one. Many of my classmates said I looked very nice and pretty. I got a couple “wow look at you” and some students from this class asked if I was dressed for this project. Professor Lung called my “Fancy Mandy”. I got comments on my shirt and many people said my horribly uncomfortable shoes were cute. Even though I thought the shoes were pretty it only took me walking from my car to class to make me hate them.
What I learned from this project…
Before this project I already knew I was pretty lazy with the way I present myself but I never realized how much other people must have noticed. For example with my inspiration outfit the only abnormal thing about my appearance was the skirt and hose. I did my hair the same, I had no make-up on, and the shirt and jacket were both things I wear a lot. As much as people’s comments made me feel better about myself and gave me more confidence they were not worth how uncomfortable some of the outfits made me feel. I learned I HATE heels and I do not understand why anyone would kill their feet. There are so many comfortable cute shoes out there to wear instead. I hate that people are judged so much on appearance by society, but what I hate the most is I know I judge other too on the way they look. This project has made me more aware of how I judge others and that I need to change that myself. All of the extra time I spent getting dressed for these six days could have been spent doing something way more productive. I realized I do not want to spend more than 30 minutes getting ready for a normal day. Despite everything I have caught myself trying a little harder on my appearance. On school days it has not changed as much because I still like my sleep but I have been wearing more eye make-up and coloring in my eyebrows; however I am still trying to remember not to rub my eyes. I have also kept my nails painted for over a week now and continue to touch them up when they chip. Knowing me I will probably spend more time on my appearance but I may get over it eventually.
On this day I had to take the WPE and I choose to wear this outfit because it was comfortable but not to lazy looking. I wanted to be able to focus on writing and not be restricted by my clothing. My clothes made me feel relaxed however the room I took the test in was a little cold for short sleeves. I pinned my hair up because I was having a bit of a bad hair day and it did not look very nice down. My accessories never change from day to day. My necklace which I got from my mom in high school says courage on it. It means a lot to me because at that point in my life I was having a hard time and it help me to push through it. The ring is my high school ring and I have worn it since my freshman year of high school. I have also been wearing my earring for many years now. I feel very connected to my accessories and so I almost never wear anything else. There is no make-up on my face because I do not really care to wear any and I do not want to add to the time it take my to get ready for the day. I did not interact with very many people that day and no one said anything to me about my outfit.
After I got home from my test I changed into PJs and took a nap. At home I am always in PJ or yoga pant with a shirt on. I wore these two pieces because they fit nicely and I do not get to hot in my bed. My shirt was a gift from my mom because I am a big Daryl fan. I feel a stronger when I am in it like I took take on the world. The pants which were also a gift are one of my most comfortable pairs. The fabric is very light and comfortable. I never feel restricted in these pants. I wear both of these so often that no one at home made any comments about them. Also every one of my siblings has a pair.
This was a Saturday where I went to Tustin Tiller days, a carnival my city have every year. I wore a shirt from my sister closet because I was having one of those days wear nothing in my closet was working for me. I also wanted to wear my brown shoes because the ground at the carnival is mostly dirt so it would not be noticeable on this pair. These are my favorite pants and I wear them a lot because they are comfortable and I feel they are flattering. All my accessories are the same as before and I do not have any make-up on. I felt comfortable in my outfit and a like more stylish then most days. I normal like to wear sleeves because I am a little self conscious about my arms but I had a bit of beer so the discomfort did not last long. I had a couple of my friends tell me I looked nice and my little sister commented on how I took her clothes.
This was one of my days off from school and work. I spent the day doing homework so I never changed out of my clothes. I like to wear these because they are very comfortable to sleep in as well as to do homework in. A lot of my homework is stuff I can sit in my bed and work on and sometimes my project are in my bed with me so when I wake up and can just turn on the TV and work on my homework. I normally wear socks around the house but we have all hard floors and it can get a little cold sometimes. Also your feet can get a little dirty because everything that gets tracked in just stays on the surface of the floor. I have the same accessories on and all I did with my hair was comb it out when i woke up. I had to go outside to my car at one point and my mom commented on the length on my top and said it looked a little sex for the neighbors.
This was just another day off for me which meant I was being homework again all day. I wore both of these piece on earlier days which shows that I repeat my clothes a lot. Again they were very comfortable to wear around the house all day. I wear a lot of black and dark colors because its slimming. I have all the same accessories on as before and in my hair I have one pin to keep my bangs out of my face. No one commented on my outfit this day.
That night I went to Project Nunway so I wanted to dress up a bit more. I took another shirt from my sister’s closet because she always has cuter clothes than me. I wanted to dress up a little more for this night because I knew everyone else would be. I even put make-up on but still no very much. I wore all the same accessories however I added one more ring that I normal do wear to but it had gone missing for a while and I found it the day before. I borrowed my sisters shoes because they matched the shirt and they were a lot more dressed up looking than another I have. I felt very pretty in this out fit and it gave me a lot of confidence. Everyone in my family told my I looked very nice but I did not receive any comment while I was out.
I had another day off so I wore this for most of the day. I did not plan to wear all Star Wars clothes and I did not really notice until my brother pointed it out. I love this shirt because it is loose fitting and very comfortable to sleep in. The pants are made of a very fluffy material and it was a little colder this day so they kept me warm. My accessories are the same as before and my hair is pretty much what it was when I woke up.
I had to go to Michael’s to get some supplies for a project so I changed my pants to something a little better for going out in public. My accessories stayed the same and my hair was a little messy so I just pulled it back. The socks I put on after I got back home from the store. It was a little cold so I chose long thick socks to cover my feet. No one made any comments on my change of pants.
All three exhibitions were very interesting to me and each in their own way. They were visually very different from each other and expressed many different ideas. When I entered the Samurai exhibit it was as if I had stepped on to an ancient battle ground. The first thing you see is a samurai sitting atop his horse, each covered in armor. Both a samurai and his horse are decorated with motifs meant to intimidate their opponents and show their strength. One helmet had a figure of Fudo Myoo known as the immovable one while a horse wore a motif that represented the overcoming of obstacles.
Other clothes were adorned with family crests making their bodies “a symbol of its cultural location” in society (Entwirtle 37). My favorite part about Hassan Hajjaj’s My Rock Stars Experimental Volume 1 was how each musician would turn and face who ever was playing. I really liked the music and the use of detailed designs and bright colors that grab the viewer’s eyes. The Kimonos were all very beautiful with many different designs inspired by many different ideas and events. One example was a pattern that had a blue background with white squiggles across it. It marked a time when Japanese women were newly able to become radio announcers.
Despite these differences they had one thing in common they all had examples of cultures mixing. At the samurai exhibit there was a helmet influenced by the crested morion helmet worn by the Portuguese and Spanish soldiers.
Hassan Hajjaj, who dressed each musician in the western stereotypical garment, also repeated many things in each frame including the backgrounds, the object musician are seated on, and their sunglasses. . Their bodies become a “medium of expressi[ng]” that each culture may differ in some ways but they are a lot more a like then the world will admit(Entwirtle 37). At the Japanese kimono exhibit my favorite design was influenced from a painting by Gustav Klimt from Austrian.
Each exhibit, whether they wanted to or not, showed how cultures are forever mixing and changing with one another.
Appearance Hack Proposal
Spending a lot of time on my appearance does not come natural to me. I amount of time I spend on it each day is 15-30 minutes. I rarely wear any make-up and yoga pants for my best friends. For a special occasion I dress nice and take a little more time to fix myself up but not much more. For this project I propose to spend a lot more time grooming and dressing myself through make-up, hair, nails, accessorizing, and clothes. I chose this idea for two reasons, one because of a discussion we had in class regarding ourselves and how people view us, and secondly because I got a lot of positive responses recently for wearing a skirt. Funny thing was I only wore it because all my usual clothes were dirty. I want to see the difference of how others react to my appearance hack verses what they are use to. Originally I wanted to do something more radical but I’m curious to learn more about myself and the way I am viewed in this world. I feel this concept will help me understand these two things.
Cultural Doll Proposal
For this project I will be replicating my appearance hack project. My medium will be mostly yarn and some fabric. I will construct the body with multiple crochet methods learned in ART 156 and other methods I’ve learned on my own. The clothes will be sewn using fabric and decorated with multiple embellishment techniques. Although this doll is inspired by my appearance hack project it’s construction will express who I am. I love nothing more than to sit and experiment using varies craft techniques and I want this to reflect in my doll.
Reading #1 The Dressed Body
Describe the social and moral pressures which affect your choices in dress and those of your family and peers. What theory/ theories of dress and embodiment would you use to describe how you dress?
When deciding what to where I worry most about whether people will think I look fat in my outfit. I do not wear clothes that are form fitting or clothes that do not cover the areas I do not like. My mother has always been the same and that could be part of the reason I am. Most of the people I know say they dress for comfort, which is what I normally say too, but they always ask if what they are wearing makes them look fat.
The other less dominate factor in what I choose to wear is whether my out is attractive. I do not like to stand out but I also do not want peoples’ first thoughts to be “what was she thinking”. In the reading, according to Bell, Entwistle write that “wearing the right clothes is so very important that even people not interested in their appearance will dress well enough to avoid social censure”(36). This quote reminded me of an old friend who use to always say how he could care less about his clothes, and most of the time it was true, however anytime we went out with a group of people he would dress in more social accepted clothes.
I have always been one to embody those around me. Five years ago I dated a punk and hung out with all of his friends much to the disappointment of my parents. I started wearing more black and clothes with holes like I just did not care. Now I still wear a lot of black because of those years but since I started going to school for fashion I have tried to be less rebel and more stylish. Overall I still dress firstly for comfort, or more correctly to hide aspects of my body I do not like.
Describe a situation where you dressed inappropriately. How did this experience affect you? How did the garments you wore feel on your body.
There was a guy I liked for a very long time who finally asked me out on a date to a nice restaurant. I went shopping for a new dress to wear that would be appropriate for the restaurant, however when we got together he was in ripped jeans, a T-shirt, and an Angels cap. In the end we went to a different place not so nice where I was over dressed.
When I first saw him a felt so uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was go home and change even though he was the one dress inappropriately for the occasion. We had met up at a friend’s house before going on the date and the look on my friend and her family faces when they looked from my outfit to his made me even more uncomfortable. At that moment I felt everyone’s judgment. It was obvious I cared more about the date than him and I could sense everyone know it too.as Entwistle states ” [d]ressed inappropriately we are uncomfortable, we feel ourselves open to social condemnation” (35).
For a while after this experience I always dressed down for dates, too worried I’d be over dress. It probably cost me a couple of second dates but eventually I did dress up more and more. The whole thing made me feel bad about myself and more self-conscious. Thinking about it now it was not so much how I was dressed that made me uncomfortable but how he dressed. When he asked me out I thought this is it he is finally noticing me but after seeing how he dressed I could tell his feelings were not really there.
Describe how you perform your gender. Consider your dress choices, how you walk and carry your body, what you say, how you attract a partner.
As long as I have been dressing myself I have always been a bit of a tom boy. I was the only girl with two brothers and all male cousins until the age of nine when my sister was born. I idolized my brother and spent a lot of time following him round mimicking him. At that time is was about being tough not girly, but as I got older, made more girl friends, and joined the lovely womanhood club, I started wearing make-up and feminine clothes. Its true that “[w]hen we dress we do so to make our bodies acceptable to a social situation” (35). In the chapter it mentioned women and heels and how Marilyn Monroe walked because of the way they were cut and this reminded me of my high school dances. Every girl was expected to wear heels to the formal dances and be able to walk in them.
I do not try very hard to attract a partner during my normal day to day activities but when I go out for with friends I will try harder, such as putting on make-up and wearing an outfit I feel complements my body. Normally that is a low cut top that is loose around the stomach and black leggings to slim the look of my legs. I do not add any jewelry outside of my normal piece which are a class ring I have worn since high school, small stud earrings that have been in for years , and maybe one of my varies chain necklaces with a little charm. For shoes I will wear something with a heal to add some height and because it is slimming.
Most of the time I do not think about the way I walk or move, maybe subconsciously, but there have been times where I saw a guy I thought was cute and I would stand up straighter and push out the chest a little. When I go out for the night I will do the same as well as try and sway the hips like Marilyn. As my mother would say I do not really talk like a lady but when there is a guy around I will talk more feminine and be smiley. Sometimes I laugh at their joke even if it is not funny.
Reading #2 The Modern Western Fashion Pattern
Describe what you think is the classical Southern California American beauty.
Depending on where you live in Southern California your answer may differ greatly. I have lived my entire life in Orange County where most girls want to seem as though they live on the beach all day. Like the photo below you must have long beach blonde hair, tan skin, a body that looks great in a bikini, as well as have the money that can afford you the big house with an ocean view. Having money is important to many around here and they “[try] to claim [this] identity …by ‘dressing above their station'” to make it appear as though they have money (15). All these features are not just expected by those who live here but also those that do not live here. I have done a little travelling in my life and almost every time I tell someone I am from the “OC” they ask, ” You must be rich? Do you live next to the beach? Where’s your tan?”
I am not a part of the beach scene, in fact I live 15 minutes from the beach and I do not believe I have been there all year. However, sometimes I feel the need to sit out and tan because it is expected of me. In the reading Gonzalez and Bovone ask, “are there any grounds for assuming that individuals can change their identity simply by changing their dress?” and I would say no, however, by changing their dress they can change what others interpreted as their true identity, which to some is more important than really belonging to it(15). For example when I was younger I would wear beach wrap dresses with a bikini underneath even though I was not going to the beach, or even swimming. As a little girl a had platinum blonde hair but as I got older it darkened so when I sat out to tan I sprayed lemon juice in my hair to lighten it. All throughout high school I wore thongs(sandals) because it was the shoes of the beach people.
As I have gotten older my idea of how one is suppose to look, not just in Orange County but anywhere, has changed, but I can still see my old tricks being used by the younger generations around me. I feel the world’s idea of the classical Southern California beauty is still thought to be the photo above and many from my area try to embody that image, however I do not share these thoughts anymore. I do not feel I can currently give my opinion on this because I am still trying to form it. It was as Professor Lung said in class, most people will not find their true identity until they are in their 40s, and it may take me longer than that.
Describe your families culture and your personal Aesthetics and how these may or may not influences how you choose to dress. Include a description / photo of your iconic garment.
The question of what my family culture is sparked a very funny and interesting conversation between my mother, younger sister, and I. Separately we all came up with the same word to describe how we all dress, comfort. We do not practice any religion or follow any cultural customs that could have been passed down through the generations, so this was a difficult question for us to answer. My mom said, “I just don’t want you two dressing like tramps”, so being modest is important to her. There is one saying my mom tells me that was passed down through five generations and that is “fix yourself up”. My mom encourages me to put on a little make-up before leaving the house because her mother never left the house with make-up and her hair done. Of course my biggest peeve and her favorite thing to tell me is to dress more girly. My father described our family as casual, which to me is close to comfort. Individually my parents have their own thing they are against, she is hates tattoos and he is completely against nose piercings.
Personally I find symmetry in an outfit to be aesthetically pleasing. I noticed when I pinned up my hair this morning I made sure that both halves looked the same down to the direction the bobby pins were going, which could be more an OCD problem. The only things I am not symmetrical about are I have tattoos, a ring and a third ear piercing which are all on the right side of my body. I am not very girly and I tend to like the look of less feminine looking clothes in black and dark greys.
When it comes to how I actually dress it reflects a little of what my mom says I should wear, what my peers wear, and what I would like to wear. The reason I act on what she says is because I will hear it less often if I do. As to my peers its a way to fit in and feel part of the group as well as not to draw over attention to myself. I wish others had less of an influence on me and I could “accept what rings true to [my] own inner self”(19). Of course my own choice impact what I wear as much as the other influences. My clothes are not too feminine and they are mostly black and grey. I am not a big fan of skirts or dresses so I wear a lot of pants. Despite my mom’s hatred for tattoos I still have a couple, however, after how she reacted to them I have yet to get more and will probably wait until after I move out to do so.
My iconic garment is black tight fitting pants which I like most with my black boots and a grey shirt.
Who is your fashion icon? Who are the people you follow and admire in terms of dress? Please post images and describe how the person dresses.
I do not follow any fashion designers and I do not really care what celebrities are wearing these days. I idolized fictional female characters from movies and TV shows who are considered bad ass women. All these women are strong, independent and can do not need a man to protect them. They wear a lot of dark colors and boots with a little hit of femininity to them. Gonzalez and Bovone state “individuals first choose an identity from those images that they see around them”(18). I spend all my time either at school, working, or doing homework. In my little free time I watch my favorite TV shows.
Above is the character Maggie from The Walked Died and she is considered one of the tough female roles on the show. She wears the same outfit most of the time because in a zombie world one does not have a lots of options, however this is one of my favorites of any character. All she is wearing is a grey tank top, black pant, and black boots which you can not see in this picture. This is very similar to my iconic garment in the photo above. I like it because it is not what society would call delicate. It is sometime you can ripe or get dirty if you have too, which for me is good because I am constantly messing up my clothes from climbing up or crawling under things. I also love that she wears a sports bra, they are so much more comfortable.
Above is probably one of the most bad ass female characters of all time, Vasquez from Aliens. She wears a rolled up bandana around her forehead because a person as active as her sweats and around her neck is her tags and cross. She has a tank top with rough edges and what you cannot see are her camo pants, and black boot. I wish I was as tough as this chick! I guess she really makes me see that this style of dressing is my way of wanting to blur the lines between genders. I have always felt as a female I am treated as the lesser gender and she is proof it is not true.
Reading # 3 How Successful is Communication Via Clothing? Thoughts and Evidence on an Unexamined Paradigm
Is clothing meaning clear cut and straightforward or is variable and contingent? Provide three examples, from three distinct campus groups.
Bren works as a teacher in the Geography department. He referred to his outfit as So Cal adult causal and dresses for comfort. He enjoys being outdoors and does not want his clothes to restrict the mobility of his body. His accessories include a watch and belt he wears daily and rainbow sandals that would be comfortable for a day of walking around. He likes to keep his hair short and a little scruff because keeping a clean shave is a pain.
Tamara works in facilities and operations as the sustainability projects coordinator. She chose her outfit because it was easy, fast, and practice. Her bag and shoes were meant to add a “pop of color”. Other accessories include sunglasses for the sunny day, a simple bracelet, and she always has her reusable water container to avoid the need for one use bottles.
Josh is an art student who dresses for comfort and wears his favorite color grey because it brings out his eyes. He has on three bracelets, all gifts, two from friend’s travels to Cambodia and El Salvador, and the third from his boss which supports a cure for prostate cancer. Earlier he was wearing his navy blue Vans for comfort.
All three people seem to say the same thing when I asked them why they picked their outfits, comfort. They wanted to be able to move around throughout the whole day without being restricted by their clothes. Their clothes expresses to others their need to feel comfortable. All of their “clothes and personal appearance are means of non-verbal communication used to exchange personal and social information (119). Their dress communicated their desire to be comfortable as well as to look well put together. Tamara was the only one who mentioned anything about adding a little style to her outfit, even though overall everyone dressed pretty stylish. It is clear she wanted to attract more attention than the guys did but both males clearly put some thought in their appearance before stepping out the door. They may not have been looking for attention from others but they definitely did not want to receive negative attention. Tamara gives us social information through her use of a reusable bottle which reflexes her stand on environmental sustainability.
Create your own adaptation of the Definitions of the Concise Dictionary of Dress consisting of text and image.
To use ones dress to hide and guard yourself from others.
To feel confident and safe with ones appearance.
To dress similar with the majority and blend into the crowd.
To exaggerate ones dress in a showy and ridiculous way.
To be restricted in ones clothing.
To show balance and control with precise designs
Something crucial and required for a persons outfit.
To dress simple and avoid standing out; not drawing attention to ones self.
A desire to dress in a current and attractive way.
To be free flowing and unrestricted.
To design using pleats or wrinkles to form desired lines and/or shape.
Reading #5 Desire and Dread
Do you see cultural trauma influence their collections? i.e. war, poverty?
Isabel Marant’s work has a very military feel which is most likely influenced by the ongoing war across the Middle East. Her work also has a feminist feel and resembles the power of women and their ability to lead in this world. She combines the ideas of strong and sex to form the look of a powerful woman. Isabel’s idea of a powerful woman is not a woman who holds power over our lives but a woman who holds the power over her own life and is confident in herself. This is the kind of influence young woman need to empower them to make their mark on the world. Women today have the ability to influence movement just as they did when “women wore a red ribbon around the neck in reference to the cut of the guillotine.” (212). Equality between the genders has been a long struggle for women but with each passing year we get closer to that goal.
The military influence can be seen in a few aspects of her clothes one of which is her use of broad shoulders mostly seen on her jackets such as figure 1 from her winter 2014 collection. Many of these resemble the ridge square shoulders repeatedly seen in military clothes such as the Italian WWII soldier in figure 2. Also seen in this picture are the jodhpurs style pants Isabel mimicked in spring 2010 seen in figure 3. She also uses a lot of earth tone colors and camo patterns see on modern military clothes. For example in the figure 1 the vest and pants are an earthy green and the shirt has a camo pattern. Most of the models in her fashion shows wear boot inspired shoes such as the boot style heals in figure 1.
All for her clothes are made for a strong, confident woman and during her fashion shows every model expresses this in her movement. The jacket shapes are very big and ridged which gives a strong superior look. All of the hemlines of her skirts and dresses are keep short and always above the knees to take advantage of the female legs. In this case she uses sexuality to enhance the woman’s power. Not all of her designs approach female power in this way; in fact many of them eliminate the idea all together. In figure 4 the outfit in very unisex with only a hit of shimmer from the under shirt. This style takes the focus away for the wears gender which can be very helpful for any woman who deals with gender discrimination.
Describe how women are being portrayed, through the use of construction, tailoring, embellishments, and silhouette.
The overall style of her works can be tomboyish and her most used silhouette is an inverted pyramid as shown earlier in figure 1. While some of her shoulders are a square shape other are big puffs resembling the big round shoulders of the 80s. This silhouette portrays a strong independent woman. She uses jackets and multiple layers which disguises the wears shape. For her fashion shows the women always wear their hair down and straight and a light amount of makeup. These aspects continue to play into the idea of seeing passed a person’s gender.
She designs a lot of her pants with a natural waist and a dropped crotch similar to a male fit making them a lot more functional. They also are made to be a little baggy which hides the female form and gives them a comfortable feel. She uses a military style cut such as the jodhpurs style as well as a more modern military boot cut. Isabel constantly designs clothes that have a unisex feel; however, when it comes to her skirts and dresses she takes the opposite approach. She designs them to wrap around the body and she likes to keep them very short to show off a woman’s legs which express the sexual side of woman.
During her fashion shows she uses the same accessories and shoes for all the models, varying only in color. This contradicts the idea that all women are obsessed with shoes and wear a different pair with every outfit. The belts used are masculine and very similar to some of the one I have seen my father wear; however, with some outfits she uses the belt to show a hit of the female shape. Most of the time she uses shoes that look like boots from the front but have a heel on them to add a feminine touch. She added other feminine details with her shimmery fabrics and flowery prints featured mostly in her spring and summer collections. An example of her flower pattern can be seen in figure 5. Here is “a woman who used her sexuality as a sword rather than a shield” (207). Her style has a earthy nature feel from her colors, patterns, the movement of her clothes, and the way they drape on the body.
What hierarchies of female power are being implemented? How / and why do you think this?
The most dominate aspect of these garments is the portrayal of female strength and their ability to rise above the stereotypes of the female gender. The designer to trying to draw the viewer’s attention away from the wearer’s gender and focus on their strength. This is done through the silhouette of the garment with the use wide shoulders and military look. The garment “suggeste[s] the terrifying power of women rather than their soft vulnerability” (208). Women in the military have always been a controversial topic and it is still a current struggle for female soldiers today. These fashions help support the idea that women are strong and have a lot more to offer and if given the chance they can prove it.
The desire for comfort is another aspect of Marant’s garments. I feel this relates to female power because these clothes demand comfort. After all the centuries where woman were restricted with corsets and tight tailored dresses they can finally be free from them. As can be seen in the figures above none of the garments are restricting to the wearer. All the clothes have a lot of ease in them especially the pants in figure 3 that puff out more on the side. On every jacket you can see many creases indicating the looseness. Another common trait on this designer’s pants is the dropped crotch. This is not something you normal would have seen in woman’s clothes in the past. It makes walking a sitting a lot more comfortable for the wearer. I have always been annoyed with the crotch on female pants and how tight they can be. These changes show how women have taken control over their lives and visual image.
Although female sexuality is not the major focus in Marant’s designs but it is still a part of it. As shown in figure 3 she used a belt to utilize the nature waist line to show the shape of the female form. The puff if the pants accentuate the female hips. This reminds me of ancient art works of female fertility where the hips were exaggerated. In figure 6 below the garment covers the entire body except for a small shear section that reveals the models nipples. In my opinion the female breasts have always been the most sexualized part on their body. Women have struggled with trying to cover them so sex is not brought into the outfit and I really like this garment because it leaves sex out and exposes breasts at the same time. It covers almost every part of the breasts except for the area that is normally always covered. Marant is using female sexuality to show that it does not limit us as it once did. It also brings up the double standard that men can be in public with their chests revealed but it is not okay when a female does it.