Fabulous Fashion Quotes from Elizabeth Wilson’s “Adorned in Dreams”

Many people throughout the centuries have derided fashion as a vain, trivial and detrimental to the advancement of women. However, fashion is far from a frivolous matter. It is how we express ourselves. It is how we perserve the past and convey the current culture that we live in. Fashion holds the past, the present and the future. It is life.

Though fashion has been known to make an ornament of a woman and degrade her to a sexual object, it actually is conduit for her self-expression and freedom. In fact, women are permitted a greater range of self-expression and freedom when it comes to fashion than men. Women can take pleasure in a wide-range of categories that are taboo for men. According to Greta Christina, a cultural theorist, “If fashion is a language, then women have a much wider vocabulary.” When it comes to fashion and feminism, fashion should be not be seen as foe to women’s equality since it is one of the few areas that women possess more freedom and flexibility than men. Since fashion offers women freedom and the ability to define themselves however they wish, it should be seen in a more serious, substantial light.

With these thoughts in mind, I started reading Elizabeth Wilson “Adorned in Dreams.” This is a fashion theory book that looks at fashion through the lenses of class, gender, culture, economics, race and politics. To pay homage to the upcoming fashion week in New York City, I thought I would select some fabulous (not frivolous) quotes on fashion from Wilson’s book. These quotes show how significant fashion is to the individual, humanity and history.

“Fashion is a personal, intimate experience that is closely associated with the body.”

“fashionable dress provides armour against the world.”

“Clothing is central to all cultures including Western Europe and North American Cultures.”

“The basic premise of “Adorned in Dreams” however stands: that dress (and in western societies dress is fashionable dress-a continually changing phantasmagoria of styles-) is socially central, a symbolic system of crucial importance; and that garments as objects, so close to our bodies, also articulate the soul.”

“Dress is always unspeakably meaningful.”

“Even the determinedly unfashionable wear clothes that manifestly represent a reaction against what is fashion.”

“To dress fashionably is both to stand out and to merge with the crowd, to lay claim to the exclusive and to follow the herd.”

“Fashion is freed to become both an aesthetic vehicle for experiments in taste and a political means of expression for dissidence, rebellion and social reform.”

Source: Wilson, Elizabeth. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. Rutgers University Press. New, York. 2003.

(Source Image: http://www.amazon.com)

Hollywood Costume Exhibit at the V & A. (www.vanityfair.com)

Alexander McQueen (http://blog.museum.org)

The Roaring Twenties: A time of experimentation and liberation for women.

The first fashion week. (Image source: http://www.goldenfingers.info)

Oh the possibilities that a woman has when it comes to dressing. (Paris Fashion Week 2013 Chanel)

Fashion is always evolving. (my.churpchurp.com)