Thursday, August 5, 2010

I dress therefore I am

Reading this seriously unsettled me so I don't see why you shouldn't have to read it too read it too. For those who can't be bothered scurrying off elsewhere, it's a New York Times piece about people going on "shopping diets".

You can do this in one of two ways: by buying no new clothes for a year (underwear and shoes not included) or by wearing only six items of clothing (again, underwear and shoes not included) for a whole month. Apparently a 31-year-old Wisconsin woman achieved the latter, and was astounded that no one noticed - not even her husband.

Putting aside the quibble that most married women would expect their husband to be the last person on earth to notice, I take issue with the implicit assumption that the main reason we pay attention to our appearance is to have others notice it. What Wisconsin woman herself felt about the month-long removal of choice and an unvarying dress diet isn't reported. But another woman said she suffered mood swings, and lost the will to get up in the mornings. That's more like it.

Others report a life-changing experience. Oh dear. A Texas man who undertook the challenge ended up questioning "everything”, including why he was spending 20 minutes every morning figuring out what to wear. (Also including, perhaps, why his country invaded Iraq and why it can't provide basic health care for millions of its own people.)

Here a young male reporter earnestly addresses the camera about "the way people relate to their closets", and the founder of Six Items or Less talks about reducing her clothing choice to see if it frees up her mind for other creative activity.

Like writing a novel? Gulp.

If you want to know even more about this sort of thing, go here.
I won't be right behind you.

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