Body Dressing: Minding Appearance

During the course of the chapter titled “Minding Appearances” in the book Body Dressing author Susan Kaiser describes appearance and how it is linked to style, truth and subjectivity.  As suggested by Entwistle, dress forms space and with many interpretations, points out the boundary between body and the world. As meantioned in the previous chapters, dress is characterized as a “situated bodily practice” which results in a way of being and looking in society. The body and the way it is styled indefinable. Boutlwood and Jerrard make an interesting point about this topic describing how uncertainty or fluctuation is the center of crossing between the body and style of fashion. The way we dress acts as a bodily practice through our consciousness, which is also compelled by our beauty, moral principles, and social psychological yearnings acting in material form. As further discussed by Kaiser truth has resemblance to appearance style because both are individual terms that must have interpretations and reinterpretations to bring existence to knowledge and fashion individually. For example, among groups and cultures fashion is negotiated and evolving into a way of expressing complicated uncertainties, which are not easily expressed in words. It also gives acknowledgement to an individual many “identities and communities that combines style, truth and subjectivity”. Style can also be identified as a way for one to give a visual in concrete form to “who I am” and “who I am becoming” to society.  It is also discussed in the chapter that music, media and fashion trends have played a huge role in a persons way of dress and identity by either giving someone a sense of opinion or giving them a sense of direction on what trends to follow. It is also expressed that appearance does not calculate real issues and real thinking. We must be able to not focus on appearances to understand issues and ones identity.  It is also identified that “Both African American men and women use style as a verb, denoting that it is both a process and a way of becoming”. I disagree with Kaiser, hall and o’neal who says that this is seen as a “cultural bond” as well as a “political  strategy” for expressing and acting out resistance , for ‘talking back’ but should be seen as an individual aspect to any person who feels the need to express themselves against politics, religion, or any other social issues. As said by Heejung S. Kim “Self-expression is a notion that is closely associated with a horde of positive concepts, such as freedom, creativity, style, courage, self-assurance, and even healing and spirituality.”



This photo is of participants in the Black Panther era in the 70’s who fought against racism who’s style and dress also was a form of their expression

This photo is of the hippies of the 1970’s whose dress and style also resembled their expression and beliefs(peace and love)

This photo gives shows to two different women from different cultures expressing how their morals and cultural principles affect their dress


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