In my daily scouring of fashion blogs which always include the ever spot-on musings of bits+bobbins and Style Bubble, I was intrigued by news of a soon-to-be released book called What I Wore Today: Online Fashion Narcissism From Beijing to Berlin (Korero Books, 2008). As the title suggests, the book explores the online phenomenon of photographing oneself in one’s finest finery (however that’s defined in your circle and in your head). Whether the book’s corporate author interprets this as self-absorbed narcissism or just healthy self-love is the question at the center of speculation among fashion bloggers and their communities of online readers.
I don’t want to offer an opinion about a book I haven’t read but I do want to note the coincidence of this online conversation with a conversation I was having with myself just a few days ago when I took a picture of myself in my new high-waisted shorts and posted it in my Facebook site — mostly because I enjoy sharing such personal triumphs with Mimi. I will admit, though, that before posting the new photo (in its unabashed posey-ness), I did feel a twinge of concern for my own . . . ok, narcissism — particularly feminine narcissism. The censures against women’s trifling vanities (of which fashion and cosmetics usually top the list) run long and deep. Even while we know those who would dismiss women as narcissistic and shallow for their attention to personal appearance are sexists in deep denial of the power of clothes for both women and men(see the quote posted on 04 July 2008 called “Why Clothing Matters”), the self-reflexive speculations that are provoked just by a book’s title illustrates the depth of women’s self-doubts born from a legacy of informal and institutionally sanctioned sexism and gynophobia. (I can’t believe I just typed that!)
So I took the picture (above) because I love clothes: the way they’re made, the way they’re put together and worn in unexpected ways, and the way bodies like and not like mine are adorned by them. So what’s wrong with that?
I also love fashion as a research object but I digress . . .