Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Reuters interview

I was interviewed six weeks ago in Singapore, and finally here it is

Q: Do you think women understand the psychology of clothes better than men?

A: "It's very rare to come across women who say I don't care what I wear and what I look like. And I think even when they say that they don't mean it. Or what they mean is they've given up, they just don't think they can find anything that suits them.

I've watched with great interest the psychology of these makeover shows, (such as) Trinny and Susannah, and how very much those women want to be transformed. They want to look in the mirror and think they look the best that they can look. They understand how very well clothes can transform you... I think women get and understand what I'm trying to say about clothes, on a deeper level."


Toby Wollin said...

Very nice interview.

Anonymous said...

I was quite interested in what you were saying in the article about it being rare to find women who say they don't care what they wear or look like, and this being a sign of having given up. I'm living in Norway and as a non Norwegian its something that puzzled me at first - that there seem to be so many Norwegian women who dress like this. Then I discovered its something to do with asserting a regional identity - they usually come from the countryside and want it to come across that they are 'farm people'. So I'm not sure thats the same thing as having given up - its seems more akin to punks wearing trash bags and safetypins, ie its not normative fashion but its using clothing to give a purposeful message.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Seilduksgata, that is a very perceptive comment about this thought-provoking interview. Although in general I agree with Linda's take on (heterosexual) women's and men's respective attitudes to dress, there are very strong cultural differences as well. I have lived in Italy, and Italian men are most certainly not less interested in being well turned-out than Italian women are!

What you say about Norway also holds true for some people in English-speaking Canada - here I am thinking in particular of Vancouver and British Columbia, because that is a prosperous region, and people aren't dressed in outdoorsy attire because they can't afford smarter urban dress, or even because they don't care - on the contrary, a lot of the outdoorsy clothing is very pricy indeed.

And of course they say we (women and men) are too clothes-obsessed and snobby in Montréal - a friend complained about thinking she was expected to get dressed to take out the rubbish here.

This morning I saw a group of men whom I believe to be West African, beautifully attired in dress-casual sportcoats and trousers, a couple with hats or caps. That was probably an expression of dress as an expression of pride among oppressed or colonised people, as Linda noted in her characters who had endured anti-semitic or racial persecution.

Linda Grant said...

I agree both these comments.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting subject and keeps many fashion academics in paid work! I think Linda's claims are generally considered to be the case and there have been many volumes written on the relationship women have with their clothes. I do think society sets much higher standards for a woman to achieve. Simon de Beauvoir pointed this out decades ago - that a man with a stain on his collar is regarded as rather loveable and in need of a wife, whereas a woman is just badly turned out and definitely not marrying material.