Have you ever tried to explain to someone why fashion isn’t stupid or meaningless? I have, and it’s not always easy. Lucky for me, Linda Grant has written an entire book in fashion’s defence. Analytical and critical, Grant discusses the symbolism of clothing and adornment throughout history, looking as far back as the Old Testament. Written in a smart, cheeky, and poetic style, almost like a novel, the book draws on Grant’s personal experiences with clothing, demonstrating how intimate a connection one can have with a particular pair of pink suede wedges or a handbag passed down through generations. Though a few of her interview-heavy defences may take long to execute, Grants argument is definitely convincing. Clothing isn’t just something we put on to cover our naked bodies: our wardrobes are our autobiographies. Clothing shapes who we are and communicates our personalities to the world before we have the opportunity to speak. Next time someone tries to tell me fashion is insignificant, I may just shove The Thoughtful Dresser (politely) in their face.
By Linda Grant (Scribner)
Reviewed by Stephanie Fereiro (originally published in Worn Fashion Journal Issue 12)