Final Project Art 302 Alter-Ego

For my final project I decided to change my appearance by costuming myself in a business suit.  I decided to go with a business suit because I wanted to create an alter-ego that was furthest away from my own appearance.  I would consider my choice in fashion to be more laid back with a touch of style.  As an artist and merchandiser my professional attire reflects more of my asthetic style.  This allows people to get a sense of what I represent much easier than the hegemony views of what professional attire is, the business suit.

These are photos of me at several different Art Shows that I hosted for Eden Boutique as their Marketing Manager.  You can see that all though I have a little bit of a different style in them, my fashion sense is much different then the typical business suit.  According to the article The Psychology of Business Suits by Gino Hitshopi, the business suit is “…for business, and should not be a fashion statement, except for in the tiniest ways.”

The business suit became most popular shortly after the rise of the aristocrat and the fall of the “old money.”  This was the time around the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century.  With the rise of the aristocrats and capitalistic gains the business man became a huge part of society.  Thanks to mass production of clothing around the turn of the 20th century business suits were made ready-to-wear making this the staple look for every business man.

The business suit is supposed to represent affluence and power.  It is an instant way of letting others know that you are about business and making money.  It represents your professionalism and lets people know you are organized and serious.  The nicer the suit the more power it possesses.  The suit is a way to gain respect in the professional world and to separate oneself from nonprofessionals.  It is a way of saying, “listen to me, I know best.” It also can make people feel more important than.  It can be viewed as narcissistic and give people the illusion of being better than.  From this I want to record my own psychology behind the business suit. Do I feel separate, better than, more powerful?  I also want to observe the difference in how people treat me.  Will I notice a different in respect?  What kind of attention will I get and from whom?  Will I be treated differently by people?

According to the book in the chapter Manliness, Modernity and Male Clothing, ready-to wear suits lacked the custom fit of personalized tailor suits.  This led to poor fitting suits which set the difference in the status symbol amongst  suit wearers.  I would like to compare the response to my alter-ego by those who are also wearing a business suit and those who are not.  My theory is that the people wearing suits will be able to get a better understanding of my status just by the choice of suit that I wear compared to others.

Here is my Plan:

I plan to wear the business suit during routine activities in order to get the best observation of differences amongst the different people I encounter on a regular basis.  These places include the train, school, eating out, hanging with friends, and possibly a night out.

I will follow the instructions below provided by ehow.com to correctly fashion my alter-ego behind the costumed business suit.

Instructions

  • 1

    Wear a suit. Nothing says professional like a conservative suit. You need  something in navy, black or gray with a traditional notched collar jacket and  cuffed trousers or a straight skirt.  You may stray from these three colors, but keep the suit dark. When choosing a  suit, consider whether a man in your office would wear a suit just like  it.

  • 2

    Pair a suit with a white blouse.  To keep the look professional, put a white or off-white blouse with a dark suit.  Stick with basic cotton button-down blouses without ruffles or other  embellishments.

  • 3

    Combine a dress with a jacket. A dress can be professional if paired with a  suit jacket. The dress should be at least knee length and in a dark to medium  color. A print dress is fine if the print is muted and conservative. When  choosing a print dress, consider whether a man in your office would wear a tie  in the same print.

  • 4

    Stick with pumps or flats. Pumps are the quintessential business shoe for  women. Choose a pump with a closed toe and a two- to three-inch heel in black,  brown or navy. As an alternative to heels, and to wear with pantsuits, flats are  a good choice. Again, a closed toe is appropriate here. Your flats should look  like a man’s loafers.

  • 5

    Style hair conservatively. A professional woman’s hair does not provide distraction to  herself or anyone else. Long hair should be pulled back or put up and secured in  place. Short hair should be neatly styled out of the face.

  • 6

    Choose jewelry carefully. Too much or too big jewelry could take the  professional edge off of your look. A wristwatch and wedding rings are acceptable and one pair of non-dangling  earrings.

    Here’s to the Business Suit!

    Purchasing the Suit

    Working on a budget I wanted to find a business suit at a reasonable price, I ended up going to Ross.  They carried name brand and off brand suits.  There were pant, skirt, and dress suits.  If I wasn’t on a budget I would have went with a black pant suit by Calvin Klein that I found for $59.99 with a original price of $179.99 but I ended up going with a skirt black pin striped suit for $13.99.  The fabric and construction of the Calvin Klein suit was better quality.  It also had small zipper pocket detail on the jacket which gave it a more modern and designer look.  I also purchased a white button up blouse with little detail in the front at $12.99 and some loafer pumps on sale for $9.99.  Overall my business suit cost about $40.00.  Not bad!!! I finished the look with my hair pulled back.

    I have a pear shaped figure and this made it difficult to find a suit that fit me perfectly, either the jacket was to big or the skirt to small.  I ended up going with the skirt being a little tighter then I would have liked because the large jackests made me look like I was being swallowed.

    When I was trying on the suits I was wearing a beanie.  I had to go out of the fitting room to exchange one suit for the other.  The lady working the fitting room giggled at me and said that the beanie and suit just looked silly together.  I thought this was interesting because it was a clash of two types of style…laid back vs. up tight. It did look silly but it was the suit not the beanie that made me feel.

    Hanging with Friends

    So Friday night my husband and I went to hang with our friends Kris and Sandra.  Usually we just hang out, shoot the shit and drink some beers.  Normally when we go to visit we are extremely laid back.  All of us have just finished a long week of work. The men work blue-collar jobs, one in a warehouse and the other in air conditioning,  Suits are just not our thing.  When they first saw me they took a second look because they did not recognize me right away.  They laughed and ask what’s up with the suit.  I explain to them that I am doing it for a project.  After that it was back to normal as if I didn’t  have the suit on at all.  I think this is because I have a very strong personality and even behind the suit it shines through.

    Running Errands and a Cocktail

    So I then decided to wear the suit while running errands.  I needed to go to Target to pick up some things.  I really did not notice a difference in my service however I did notice a difference in attention. There were more  friendly smiles amongst other customers.  The tapping of my shoes also created more attention.  I was really uncomfortable and would have rather been shopping in my flip-flops and casual clothing.

    Later Iwent to get something to eat at a local burger spot on a strip in Long Beach known as Retro Row.  Here you will find a number of different vintage shops with a hipster vibe.  I felt completely out-of-place.  Psychologically I felt older and an outcast amongst the young hipsters.

    Finally Matt and I ended up at the Yard House of Shoreline in Long Beach.  We sat at the bar.  I noticed that I was more aware of other professionals around me.  There were a lot of men that seemed to have taken off their tie and jacket and opened up the top to buttons of their shirts.  Matt again was in his casual clothing and sitting next to him just felt awkward, I looked like his boss rather than his wife.  I noticed that when we were served there was more eye contact between me and the bartender rather than with Matt.  I accidentally left my ID at home which I was happy about because it gave me an opportunity to do an experiment.  Typically if I don’t have my ID they will not serve me alcohol, especially in a corporate restaurant such as Yard House.  When I told the bartender that I didn’t have my ID she got her boss to okay it.  I told the manager that I was 33 and born in 1979.  After observing me he gave me the okay. I really don’t think this would have happened if I was in my normal clothing.  I have a feeling that the suit made me look like I was more sophisticated, older, and possibly an important customer.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/k559ljc0dex1qjw/VID_20121119_221412.3gp?m

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/77r6t2sxe8damq6/VID_20121119_221516.3gp?m

    A Day at School

    So I start my day by taking the Metro.  When I take the metro I like to hide as much as possible.  My clothes are usually layered, typically a maxi, t-shirt, sweatshirt, and a beanie.  I try to not wear anything that is going to attract too much attention because there are a lot of crazy’s on the metro.  During this particular trip I over heard a girl talking about how she stabbed a guy in the hand!!!  This ride I had a man approach me and I had to make it clear that I was married.  When on the metro I had another man offer me his seat.  When I reach my transfer point in down town LA I am amongst many different professionals in business suits.  Most of the time these professionals are in a hurry and rarely ever make eye contact.  In a business suit I actually captured the attention of one professional that did a friendly nod and smile.  This man was wearing a brown suit with a mix match jacket and pants although his tie brought them together giving it a cohesive look.  Because I have researched a little about the business suit I was able to identify that this is not a power suit.  This professional seems that he works with people and the suit is worn to give a perception of professionalism and knowledge.  The colors are more inviting and less intimidating which is good for working with others and trying to get them to trust you.  Along with the attention I received from other professionals I also received more attention from men.  Whenever I wear more fitted clothing I seem to attract attention from the opposite sex.  This is one of the reasons why I find myself wearing more relaxed clothing.  I feel uncomfortable and prefer not to have the attention.

    At School

    Once I was on campus I noticed that there were no other woman wearing a suit.  I saw mostly young men close to the business building wearing a shirt, tie, and slacks but their suits were dressed down.  Overall they still looked professional but it was obvious that they were just students.  I did notice a women wearing a red dress that resembled a button up blouse with some nude pumps.  This woman gave the impression that she worked in a professional  enviroment although her color choice expressed more personality and drew attention, something that would not be found in a power suit.  In the suit that I was wearing I felt like I looked more professional and more conservative than she did which is funny because I’m not at all.  This is the illusion that the suit takes on and this shows how colors subconsciously effect our perception.

    When in the library I typically go to the third floor where I can find a quiet place to sit down and study.  I usually walk around the building until I can find a place to plug-in my laptop.  When walking around once again my shoes made a click clack sound.  The sound actually reminded me of the sound of teachers walking down the hall.  I’m sure that the majority of people who could hear my shoes assumed that I was someone who worked in the library or a professor.  Normally when I walk around the building I try to be very quiet in hopes of not disturbing anyone.  With these shoes there was no way that I was not going to be noticed.  Dressed casual and as a student if I’m loud I get occasional stair downs, in the suit students would just glance up and then go right back to what they were doing, most students did not even look up.  I believe that in the suit the students assumed I had some type of authority or superiority.  I’m pretty sure I got mistaken for staff.

    Conclusion

    After my study I have concluded that the business suit does give an illusion of superiority.  There seems to be a separation between myself and others that I normally would associate with.

    When hanging with friends I felt like an intruder in the business suit and silly because I felt as though the suit did not match my personality.

    The tailored suit forced me to sit up straight and tall, a non-verbal indicator of prudence and confidence.  The shoes were loud and the sound gave an illusion of confidence and demanded attention.

    People that wear suits seem to respect one another more and feel comfortable when around other professionals.

    The business suit may allow me to receive special privileges otherwise not given, such as a drink with no ID.

    Psychologically I did not feel more professional and confident.  I actually felt less confident and somewhat insecure.  I did not like the way I looked and nor the fit of the suit, it was very uncomfortable.  

    Overall when wearing the suit I was uncomfortable, cold, or readjusting my ill fitted skirt.  The suit felt boring to me and I couldn’t wait to get back into my normal clothing.  I appreciate that in my typical clothing I am able to invite others that may have more similar interest.  The false power behind the business suit is not worth the discomfort.  I found the suit to be extremely boring!!!

     

Stenciling The Flower of Life

When creating the stencil I needed to decide what I wanted printed dark.  I chose that I wanted the petals of the flowers within the circle to be the main print so I cut out the petals.  In order to keep the stencil strong and intact I left bridges between all the petals.  These bridges I will fill in after I stencil.

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Final Project Art 156

For my final project I was inspired by a few things. First I wanted to use materials that I already own so I could save money, which is always important for students. I also wanted to produce something that would show my merchandising and design skills, so producing a cohesive line was important to me. Finally I had to take my inspiration from the museum visit to IFF and what I have learned in class to produce a line.
I found in my stash of goodies this beautifully vibrant fabric with a fun and organic print of paisley’s, flowers, and lady bugs. The bright vibrant colors reminded me of all the beautiful mixed colors in the crocheted coral. The organic
shapes and elements of life remind me of the theme of the exhibition, the beauties and wonder of the miracle of life.
With this beautiful fabric I will be making a collection of purses. I will draw emphasis to certain elements in the fabric by embroidering on top of the print. I will mix different prints and create 3 dimensional flowers that I will use as decor on the bag creating rythm in the line.

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Fashion Observation and Comparison to Dressing the Body

Today I chose to do my observation at school because of convience.  To be honest I really don’t see much fashion on campus.  It’s usually quite dull, jeans and a sweatshirt.  The only fashion that I usually see that is worth recognition is usually the highschool art students.  I can’t bash the college fashion too much though, one day most of these students will have to turn in their comfy jeans and sweatshirts for a stiff tailored uniform as professionals.  I will also note that it is really sad how conformed of taste the majority of people have on campus.  Maybe it is because I’m an art student, but the wacky colored hair and funky choice of mismatched garments seem to be the most aesthetically pleasing to me.

So the first person stood out to me because her matching hair and jeans.  She seemed artsy with a Emo vibe.  When I asked her if I could take her picture she was somewhat shy about it but willing to do it.  The friends around her didn’t seem to dress with the same style but she was very young.  “The but for young” is because the girls seemed to be life long friends, they are probably just now discovering a new or truer them at this point.  The interesting thing to point out is that she definitely was representing a genre of fashion related to music.  Just by looking at her out fit I was able to guess certain personality traits and interests.  She dresses this way to make a point of who she is and what she likes.

Second is a picture of two highschool art students.  I absolutely loved their fashion.  I loved the corkyness of their clothing.  Their eccentric artistic personalities were well represented by their choice in clothing.  When I asked them about their favorite designers they started naming off Viviane West, Alexander Wang, and a few others.  What was interesting is that they were dressed in what to seem as second hand clothing but they were well versed in designer lines.  I attribute this to most likely coming from an affluent background but being their age not able to afford such lines.  Another thing that was interesting is that they were really the only ones that seemed excited to be part of a fashion project.  Their confidence in standing separate from the majority of campus probably reflects their acceptance of standing out and receiving attention.  It is true that amongst the rest of the highschool students they would blend in, this to me represents a subculture, a great target for marketing.  Although they were dressed differently they portrayed the same interest.

I than noticed another student that was dressed in athletic attire with a splash of what I recognize to be Hip Hop influences.  I was right, I asked him if he was an athlete and he is transferring here for football and track. He did want to make it a point that other athletes did not dress like him, he seemed to want to be related more closely to the Hip Hop culture.  Although this may be the case there is no getting around the obvious resemblence to other’s that might be found amongs the same social crowds.  It is evident here that the people we choose to hang around are those who we tend to mimic.  If a baseball jersey-t and hat with athletic sneakers and baggy pants doesn’t give a obivious statement of what he is trying to represent our his influences I don’t know what is.

 

 

My least favorite of all fashion, the tailored restricting conservative costume of every uptight business… the suit of professionalism.  The suit, a representative of the prudent image that one must put on in order to seem smart and professional.  This reminds me of the constricting garments that royalty wore in the seventeenth century.  So funny how the clothes people choose to wear really do protray the individaul, restricting clothes for a restricted life.  Schedules and routine blahhhh boring, although it is the one costume that can instantly give a person a sense of power.  Oh yeah, they were here for a business seminar.

The last two guys I had to capture due to their matching shorts.  What was their choice in dressing, the weather.  Hmmm, so interesting how they too resembel one another yet they have no fashion sense whatsoever.  This is another obvious example of social influences.  Students not so concerned with their outfits but somehow both are wearingh sweatshirts, matching shorts, athletic sox at the same length, tennis shoes, glasses, backpacks, and the same major!!!  Was this planned, I don’t think so.  A perfect example of how subconciously people are influenced by their social surroundings.   These guys as well were more than willing to help but not because the observation was for fashion but to help me with my school project.  Great sports!

So overall you can make clear assumptions on an individual.  This is proof that clothing is still a costume, a way to portray an outer image and attract the attention they seek.  Fashion is a social mechanism that helps us to find our kind or at least the people we would like to be like.

Fashioning the Queer Self

In this reading author Ruth Holliday will research the way identities are performed in relation to clothing and fashion by video diaries of several participants.  Her focus will be on the queer identity and the notion of comfort. Fashion throughout the years has been a way of self-identity.  It has been a way of identifying with a certain culture, a way of finding and being found amongst others.  Fashion is a way of branding oneself.  Ruth believes that “…fashion itself may have provided the most important signifier in the construction of queer identities in the West.” Today fashion is somewhat more androgynous and more excepted amongst heterosexual men, so it has lost its fire for identifying oneself in the queer community.  Ruth discovers through her video diaries that comfort is the key to what one chooses to wear.

What nessacarily defines comfort?  Ruth through her analyzation of two of her subjects defined comfort to be that related to authenticity.  For the queer one finds more comfort in what feels more expressive of oneself rather than that of the hegemonic view of the feminine and masculine behavior and attire.  A lesbian might feel more ‘comfortable’ in a t-shirt and jeans with some tennis because it is truer to one’s identity, she would prefer to be seen dressed this way rather than in heels and dress, she feels more comfortable in her surroundings this way.  On the other hand a transvestite would rather where her 4 inch heels and best dress no matter the physical restrictions because she feels more ‘comfortable’ in her settings.  It is interesting how lesbian feminist have freed themselves from bodily discomfort in clothing fighting against the hegemonic perception of what is feminine, while the queer man has restrained himself to these rules.  Ruth defines this bizarre way of thinking by describing comfort also to that of “…being ‘recognisable’ queer.”

When dressing to hit the town queer whether lesbian or gay not only is the physical comfort important the social aspect is as well.  Fashion for the queer self is a way to become recognizable within their subculture.  This leads to what is referred to as ‘family resemblance’.  Family resemblance is “…anything which is called by the same name but does not possess anyone characteristic in common.”  An example of this is when someone is assumed gay by what he wears and acts when in actuality his not.  This can cause someone to lose their self-identity in order to represent who they feel they are inside by others standards of what they should be on the outside.  This brings us back to the question, what is comfort to the queer?  Through this reading you will discover it is to most queer whether lesbian or gay, the ability to be recognized amongst their subculture.  Therefore Ruth concludes that “…the comfort of identity is thus far from an individual or individualizing state within queer culture.  Rather it is always social, though its discourse may sometimes carry the rhetoric of individualism.”

This is not surprising.  Throughout this book we have learned the power of social influence on fashion.  Whether a straight man, women, or queer dress has been a means of portraying an image.  I find it interesting though that all though fashion is usually described as a way of portraying the individual dressed it is actually the image that harmonically has been defined.  The truth is that fashioning the outer body will never be the key to the actual person it represents but a tool for the wearer.  Fashion is a tool for the person to portray an image that they want based on stereotypical views.

 

 

Physics at the Fringe at The Institute for Fashioning

The art exhibit Physics on the Fringe at the Institute for Figuring was inspired by the writer Margaret Wertheim whom explores the life and theory of outsider thinker James Carter in her most recent book entitled that of the exhibit.  James Carter was a man who was able to construct his who own theory of the universe from observing things around him.  His theory would be named Circlon Synchronicity “… which is a conceptual model of mass, space, time and gravity that is based on complimentary principles of measurement that describe the interactions of two fundamental mechanical particles of matter moving with thee dimensions of time.  Circlon Synchronicity is organized and explained within nine basic principles of physical measurements.” (living-universe.com)  What makes this theory different from other theories such as “…Special Relativity, General Relativity and Quantum mechanics is that it is based on physical principles of measurement whereas the standard models are just theories based on unmeasurable metaphysical assumptions” (living-universe.com).  Margaret and her sister Christine’s goal was to show the ‘poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics and engineering.’ (LA Times) Other theorists featured were Michael Evans, Stoyan Sarg, P.G. Tait, and William Thomas a.k.a Lord Kelvin.  All of whom were able to perceive their own perception on how the Universe was manifested.

What gives this scientific adventure an artistic aesthetic is the manipulation of mathematical equations being materialized in order to create an organic object.  An excellent example of this is seen in the Project Room entitled Pod Worlds.  In this room you will find an array of different coral reefs made from all different types of materials.    Amongst these crochet sea creatures are corals, anemones, kelps, sponges and flatworms all creatures that are genetically constructed through hyperbolic geometry.   Hyperbolic Geometry is best materialized through crocheting, discovered by Dr. Diana Taimina at Cornell University in 1997. The Crochet Coral Reef Project was founded in 2005 by the Wertheim sisters in order to raise awareness about global warming and its impact on the coral reefs in The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the world.  The rise in sea temperature forces the coral colonies to lose their symbiotic, food-producing algae, a process known as bleaching. (National Geographics) Margaret and Christine built off of Dr. Taimina’s coral crocheting techniques.  They made some adjustments to the pattern using a more freeform technique which gave the reef a more natural and organic look.  The bright vibrant colored yarns capture the beauty that it replicates of the all too quickly dying coral reef.

What I found so interesting is that such simple formulas could create such identical images of nature’s creations.  It also started making me think that if coral could be made by a mathematical formula through the technique of crocheting than it is only obvious that all other living matter is just another form of a mathematical equation of more complexity.  This made me think of Sacred Geometry.  Sacred Geometry is not a mathematical theory for constructing life but it is the geometry that can be found in almost all religious architecture and art from around the world.  It is also thought to have healing powers in music because of its harmonic ratios.  Sacred Geometry can also be found in a cutaway of a chambered nautilus, a bee honeycomb, or even in or galaxies.

 

 

 

 

So one has to wonder, what does all this really mean?  From what I see is that we are all are creators of our own manifestation.  Like the Wertheim sisters they took a perfect geometric equation manipulated it a little and created a replica of Gods perfect image of the glorious coral reef.  We are all perfect equations with minor differentiations creating uniquely ever-changing lives.  The more complexity in the equation the more complex shape of life it will become.  This would explain the complexity in the human DNA and it’s comparison to our totally unique characteristics, not only in our DNA but also in throughout our lives.  Overall I enjoyed the exhibit, it was a great way of combining science with art.

 

Desire and Dread: Alexander McQueen and the Contemporary Femme Fetal

Alexander McQueen, a visionary and extraordinary artist who knew how to capture an audience through a shocking new way of portraying fashion.  One of his most controversial shows Highland Rape was viewed by critics as a horrific scene of  half-naked women, bruised and bloody staggering forth on the runway.  In actuality this was McQueen brilliant ways of razing awareness for the genocide that was happening in different parts of the world.  His particular focus was the war between Scotland and England in which he referred to as “…the rape of Scotland by England,” he believed this war to be not a war at all but a genocide.  These types of shows are what the attention of the press but what captured the attention of couture designers such as Givenchy was his incredible use of slashing and his distinctive way of tailoring, “…it’s razor-sharp, his seams seem to trace the body’s contours like surgical incisions, skimming it to produce pointed lapels and sharp shoulders.”

Another area of fashion that McQueen played with was going beyond the boundaries of what stereotypical beauty is in the fashion world.  In the fashion world outer perfection is key in what is considered to be beautiful.

“McQueen, by contrast, actively explored the tropes of abjection in relation to the female body.” This was best seen in his show La Poupée.  This show was inspired by Hans Bellmars Dolls of the 1930’s.

 

 

 

 

Alexander McQueen was often mistaken as being a misogynist.  This opinion was completely wrong.  McQueen wanted to create a the vision of a glam based on fear rather than allure and so he did in his version of the show femme fatale, Dante.  He “…wanted to create a women that looks so fabulous you wouldn’t dare want to lay a hand on her.”  McQueen sister was a victim of domestic violence and most of his friends were lesbian so the idea of him being misogynists are quite contrary.  He was actually a man who was quite aware of the cruelty that takes place across the world everyday and wanted to raise awareness to this. Another great inspiration for McQueen was Marquis De Sade who “…is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law.”   Sade portrayed women as the sexual aggressor in order to heal the victimization of their arbitrator. 

unfortunately Alexander McQueen ended his life early like most brilliant artist.  He was a visionary and was able to look deeper and see through all the glam and glitz.  He was able to bring darkness and step through the boundaries of the norm in fashion.  He will always be a great inspiration to many other designers.  An innovator who was able to raise conscience of what is really important in the world by playing with the human psych and captivating their interest.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1960’s was a time of great change and new ideas.  These changes were influenced by the major independent movements that were happening around the globe.  Amongst these changes was the traditional role that women were expected to live out, the role of house-wife.  Some of the causes of this sudden change in thinking can be contributed to the increasement of women in the paid workforce as well as the use of contraception.  “By the end of the Sixties, more than 80 percent of wives of childbearing age were using contraception after the federal government in 1960 approved a birth control pill. This freed many women from unwanted pregnancy and gave them many more choices, and freedom, in their personal lives.” (Cite)  With the gain of a women’s newly discovered independence and some change in her pocket a new market was formed.

With the use of television there were more fashion icon’s to emulate.  The media took full advantage of this opportunity by creating images of what the newly found independent women should be like.  It was based on a new style of fashion, not as restricting as previous years, the girdle was finally gone.  Women were able to wear what they chose to wear, when they wanted to wear it.  unsex clothing such as denim jeans were being worn, hem lines were rising, and the dull conservative colors of the fifties were being replaced with bright bold colors.  Some of the most influential fashion icons for most women at the time were Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy.

These ladies with their boyish features would become the mold for what a women were suppose to be.  It was off with the girdle and on to the diet and fitness trend.  The old expectations were replaced with a new one.

 

With the newly developed market and the use of media like never before consumerism was in full force.  Media could now brainwash its audience into new expectations of what women should be.  Today not much has changed in retrospect.  Women are still held to unattainable standards in media and still seeking to meet these standards no matter the danger, such as the Barbie women.  Although media within the magazines and on television has not changed much there has been an increase in awareness programs that teach young women how to deal with their insecurities.

 

Overall there are many different influences in our world today, it is our choice on we choose to believe in.  This is the luxury of living in the 21st century.  We not only are surrounded by advertisement that entice us and play with are humanly weakness of desire but also we are surrounded by infinite knowledge through google.  We are more equipped to handle the influences of our time but it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children.  What truly is the freedom gained for women is their freedom in choice, they get to decide who and what they want to be and there are now more than ever an array of women icon’s to choose from.

Manliness, Modernity and Male Clothing

This chapter talks about the reinvention of what was perceived to be the more attractive physique of the man.  This change can be closely related to the invention of the measuring tape and the published rules “…which presented systems of proportion as universal law,” helped tailors to fit any style pattern to any body type.  The author suggest’s that it “…is in the very seams and tucks of the modern man’s wardrobe that rising concerns over effeminizing effects of commodity culture and the declining state of the British physique can be most profitably read” (pg166).  Standardized fit’s allowed for mass production significantly multiplying the scale on an international and national level. It was through the manipulation of scale that the tailor could more precisely give the idea shape of a perfect manly anatomical shape.  According to Dr. Henry Wampen a german mathematician and author of some of the most influential books in tailoring believed that “…the appreciation of the naked male form in its perfect state might have some role to play in the design of manufacture of contemporary men’s clothing” (pg 168-169).

The success in reshaping the male form through the construction of the garment helped men to portray a figure close to the greek god idea perfection anatomy.  The problem with this new idea of creating a disguise was when men would change into their tennis out-fit and “…predictably expectations suffer a blow when his puny frame emerges from its well-cut covering to assume the requisite sporting garb…” (pg174).  The rise of mens fashion and the techniques led to a more competitive position in the sexual marketplace.  With the rise of interest in the male form and the influences of fashion through a glamorous perception Eugene Sandow was able to promote healthy living, an athletic body, and “…the duty to display status and distinction through dress.” (pg178)    His main contribution to this genre is that he used the body to raise public awareness of a healthier way of living.

It is no wonder that the suit still plays a leading role in the fashion that men wear today.  It was made for compatibility while giving the illusion of a greek god like physique. The most recent invention of disguising the body for a more preferable physique is the wonder bra.  The wonder bra gives the illusion of a bustier top but like the suit leaves the expecter disappointed.  Fashion will alway play a major role in determining what is considered to be the most desirable shape.  These changes are caused by the psych of the generation usually influenced by the political and social atmosphere of their time.  A good example of this is during the 1920’s with the emancipation of women.  A frame that was more desired was straight and flat accompanied by short hair cuts.  This look died out shortly after the return of American soldiers from WWII and the restoration of more traditional american views on gender roles.  Today are much luckier in that there are so many different ways to give a desired look without the restraint.  With modern movement exploration of shapes in art and architecture have helped to discover different means of giving a more desirable shape.  I’m personally looking forward to the next major change in fashion…socially excepting men in skirts.. how lucky and freeing would that be?!?!

 

 

Performing Selfhood: The Costumed Body as a Site of Mediation Between Life, Art and the Theatre in the English Renaissance

Although clothing was originally worn to protect the body it has through the years become a costume to protray the individual wearing it.  The author of this chapter uses the artistic genre of the Elizabethan and Jacobean England era and the golden age of English theatre to discuss this matter.  He uses this era because it is a time when ‘the boundaries between life and art completely break down, and … the conventional disticntion between reality and the imagination must give way to a sense of their interplay’ (Grennblatt 1973: ix pg 144).

During the portaiture movement portraits were used as a way to advertise oneself, to protray their aristrocracy.  The actual body of the sitter was secondary to the costume in which they wore.  The clothes these people wore during this era protray the strict rules of behavior and demeanour of their time.  “Right behavior would strike the spectator with awe; wrong deportment would have a comical or grotesque effect” (pg 155).  Appearance of this time was so important that the costume was not designed to fit the body but to construct the body.  Stiff insturments were used to show rectitude of the body which was  “…a moral as well as civilatory-aesthetic symbol “(pg 155). “Proportion and decorm were considered outward signs of inner nobility…lace ruff encircling the neck, disjoining the head from the body and restriciting movement… blown-up sleeves [separating] the arms from the torso…[hindered] any spontaneous movement,” were all insturments to contort the body in order to protray the character the body desired.

Today clothing is still a costume.  It is the layer that seperates the body from others and protrays the actor beneath it.  There are even more costumes today for an array of different genre’s.  These costumes are tools for people to fit into the social arenas that they seek.  The clothes that we wear are a non-verbal way of inviting and reflecting attention.  There are more characters to play than ever before with so many different influences.  Influences that spring from politics, social status, music, and art.  Although there are still some expectations of the outer body as a view to the true self, we are much luckier today than in the past.  The majority of clothing is loose fitting and made for comfort.  Although trends such as skinny jeans, heels, and tight mini’s are restricting they are by far comparible to the depths of restrictment of the past.

These costumes that we wear can be viewed as positive or negative.  The negative being that it seperates people based on judgement through outer appearance.  The positive being a right to self expression.  Overall the clothing that we wear is a costume to the actor that we are trying to protray.  Clothing is not the truth to the inner being of the individual.  We can appreciate the costumes that we get to choose but we must remember that it is just a costume.  The true individual is the real character beneath the clothing, it is the actions that make the individual not the clothing.