All in What We're Wearing

My Jacket is Japanese, Not Me

Last week, I walked out of the tube station and a man chased me all the way down the street calling, “Are you Japanese?” I couldn’t avoid him at the traffic lights, so I replied in my rather English voice, “No, I’m not.” This happens not only in London, but all around the world, and all because I am wearing a grey silk haori jacket that I bought in a vintage shop behind an industrial estate in the very unexotic Birmingham. Fashion allows the individual the freedom to combine clothing and choose styles. In the context of urban London, it seems that anything goes; but on what bodies are the national costumes of others off-limits for bricolage?

Kim Chi and Me

I first did drag my senior year of college, dressing in character with two of my girlfriends as a performance art piece. I borrowed their clothes and a cheap Ricky’s wig and bought a pair of cheap heels from Payless that I didn’t yet know how to walk in. I’ll never forget the first time someone referred to me as a “lady,” even though I still hadn’t quite figured out how to do my makeup.

On Shopping for a Maternity Bikini

This bathing suit bottom could almost be a full-sized strapless swimsuit for a smaller-than-average woman. Off the body, it’s not really recognizable as anything at all, because a garment like this doesn’t have a place in our mental store. It’s transitional, it’s temporary, it’s for these strange bodies we theoretically revere but that realistically freak us out.

The Profit Value of Dress to Protest

At the recent March4Women rally in London there was plenty of evidence that we are all paying attention to how we display our political values. As a researcher, I often find that my best ideas for studies start like this, a glimmer of an idea sparked by a chance meeting; politics and revolution began to stitch together in my thoughts.