Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Thoughtful Dresser

Are clothes an ally to human dignity?  So says Linda Grant in her thoughtful book, "The Thoughtful Dresser".  We all like to be covered up most of the time but do clothes really have that much importance?

They do once we realize that our clothes and accessories tell a story about ourselves.  Each tiny detail sends out a coded message about our identity.  Those who write about the language of clothes, like Linda Grant, believe that clothes are always talking to us, and we are always answering back.  What we like in dress is often visceral and we immediately know if it's "us". 

But is it shallow to care so much about clothes?  I don't think so.  I believe style and clothing have the power to soothe us and can cast us a lifeline on those days when we're uncertain of who we are.  A spin in our closet reminds us, and dressing well and embellishing on one of those blues days can help us along until we are on higher ground.  There's a reason why lipstick sales go way up when the economy takes a free fall.

This summer I became obsessed with wearing a scarf in my hair.  You know the look:  cheery patterned scarf holding hair back with long ties down one side.  So feminine, but alas, I'm wearing my hair shorter and it's so silky itself, no scarf would stay on.  After searching online, I discovered firm headbands wrapped in fabric with ends left loose and hanging long enough to get the look I was after.  I bought a Pucci facsimile.  Then I saw that Anthropology had a version in a petrol blue Liberty print.  In a  campy boutique by the shore, I found a white one with handpainted violets strewn all over it.  Suddenly, they were everywhere.  All different. All me. And they made me happy.

Dressing well or thoughtfully tells the world you won't be kept down.  That each morning, no matter what anybody says, you and only you know what your place will be.  To love clothes is to embrace life and its kaleidoscope of variety.  Just think of my headband scarves.


  1. I'm so glad that you brought more attention to a favorite book of mine. You should try her novels too!

  2. Couldn't agree more! Love the cute headscarf look, and know how cute it must be on you. On me, not so much! And that's the point, right? To thine own self be true! You introduced me to this book and I adore it! Thanks a million for highlighting it here. Hugs, Kay

  3. ".....dressing well and embellishing on one of those blues days can help us along until we are on higher ground." Loved that phrase and it's so true. Looking good inspires confidence.

    Dressing thoughtfully also tells those around you that they are somehow special, special enough to want to dress pretty when you're with them. Male or female.

    Another great post "Emily"!

  4. Beautifully put! I hate that some people have tried to characterize an interest in clothing as trivial.