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Why Clothes Matter

多少年来 我们一直在为他人所包装
Once, we were all dressed by someone else.
家长给我们挑选T恤 学校告诉我们应该穿什么颜色的裤子
Parents picked out a T-shirt; the school dictated what colour our trousers should be.
偶尔 我们也会有一些机会在服装世界中探索我们可能成为什么样的人
But at some point, we were granted the opportunity to discover who we might be in the world of clothes.
We had to decide for ourselves about collars and necklines’ fit
颜色 图案 材质 之间的匹配
colours, patterns, textures and what goes (or doesn’t) with what.
We learnt to speak about ourselves in the language of garments.
尽管就时尚行业而言 很容易会穿搭得让人觉得愚蠢或是浮夸
Despite the potential silliness and exaggeration of sections of the fashion industry,
assembling a wardrobe is a serious and meaningful exercise
Based on our looks or background, others are always liable to come to quick and,
not very rounded decisions about who we are.
大多时候 这些判断都不够准确
Too often, their judgment doesn’t quite get us right.
They might assume that because of where we come from, we must be quite snobbish or rather resentful;
根据我们的工作 为我们戴上“阴沉”或是“浅薄”的帽子
based on our work we might get typecast as dour or superficial;
擅长运动 常常让人觉得自己头脑简单
the fact that we’re very sporty might lead people to see us as not terribly intelligent;
又或是因为一个有点政治色彩的小饰品 被人与“锱铢必较”联系起来
or an attachment to a particular political outlook might be associated with being unnervingly earnest.
衣着给了我们一个机会 来纠正这些假想
Clothes provide us with a major opportunity to correct some of these assumptions.
精心打扮了一番后 其实就像是化身为一名导游 为参观自己的人们义务解说
When we get dressed, we are, in effect, operating as a tour guide, offering to show people around ourselves
我们会极力强调那些能展现自我的东西 一些有趣或是有魅力的小物什
We’re highlighting interesting or attractive things about who we are and,
与此同时 我们试图消除误解
in the process, we’re clearing up misconceptions.
就如同艺术家一样 我们在给自己画像
We’re acting like artists painting a self-portrait:
刻意地引导着观众 予以他们应有的视角 告诉他们这是究竟谁
deliberately guiding the viewer’s perception of who they might be.
1961年 英国画家彼得布莱克画了一幅自己穿着夹克衫 牛仔裤 运动鞋的自画像
In 1961, the English painter Peter Blake portrayed himself wearing a denim jacket, jeans and trainers.
He was deliberately nuancing the view most of his contemporaries would have had of him:
大家都知道他是一位成功的 智慧的画家
based on knowing that he was a successful and rather intellectual painter.
对他的印象往往会是 有些许冷漠并且非常有教养
He might have been thought of as slightly aloof and highly refined;
脱离常人的生活轨迹 而对现实生活也颇为挑剔
detached from, and censorious of, ordinary life.
But his clothes speak about very different aspects of his personality:
它告诉我们他是谦逊的人 热衷于谈论流行音乐
they go out of their way to tell us that he’s quite modest; he’s interested in talking about pop music;
很大程度上 他把艺术也当作一种体力劳动
he sees his art largely as a kind of manual labour.
他的衣服和我们的一样 给出了一个至关重要的自我陈述
His clothes, like ours, give us a crucial introduction to the self.
这似乎能解释一个很有趣的现象 当我们和好朋友在一起时
This explains the curious phenomenon whereby if we’re staying with good friends,
we can spend a lot less time thinking about our clothes,
与之形成鲜明对比的是 当我们和陌生人在一起时 常常因为着装问题而焦虑万分
compared with the anxiety about what to wear that can grip us with strangers.
和好友在一起 我们可能就披了件睡衣随意而坐 或者匆忙地套上一件旧线衫
With good friends, we might sit around in a dressing gown or just hastily slip on any old jumper.
因为他们已经知道我们是谁 也就不再需要我们的服装作为线索
They know who we are already; they’re not relying on our clothes for clues.
而另一个奇异而引人深思的事实是 特定的服装能够让我们变兴奋
It’s a strange but profound fact that certain items of clothing can excite us.
当我们穿上它或看到别人穿上它 我们就感到兴奋万分
When we put them on or see others wearing them, we’re turned on:
一款别致的夹克 一双入时的鞋子 一件完美的T恤都能引起我们的物欲
a particular style of jacket, the right kind of shoes or the perfect shirt might prove so erotic,
we could almost do without a person wearing them.
我们会倾向于认为这是种恋物癖 但
It’s tempting to see this kind of fetishism as simply deluded but
它其实是在以某种夸张的方式向我们发出信号 一个更普遍更通俗的观念
it is alerting us in an exaggerated way to a much more general and very normal idea:
that certain clothes make us very happy.
They capture values that we’re drawn and want to get closer to.
而情感成分则延伸自更普遍的情绪 也可以理解为共鸣
The erotic component is just an extension of a more general and understandable sympathy.
The French novelist Stendhal wrote:
‘Beauty is the promise of happiness’
and every item of clothing we’re drawn to contains an illusion to a different sort of happiness.
也许是一双别致的靴子 让我们更加自信并且更有竞争力
We might see a very desirable kind of competence and confidence in a particular pair of boots;
we might meet generosity in a woollen coat or a touching kind of innocence in a hemline;
a particular watchstrap may sum up dignity;
the way a specific collar encases the neck could strike us as commanding and authoritative.
The classic fetishist might be pushing their particular attachments to a maximum
在选择喜爱的物件时也极为严格 但他们其实是把自己禁锢在了一个普遍的主题上——
and be rather restricted in the choice of items they favour, but they are latching onto a general theme:
clothes embody values that enchant and beguile us.
By choosing particular sorts of clothes, we are shoring-up our more fragile or tentative characteristics.
向别人声明自己的同时 我们其实也在策略性地提醒着自己
We’re both communicating to others who we are and strategically reminding ourselves.
衣柜里 有着我们最精心书写的自传语句
Our wardrobes contain some of our most carefully-written lines of autobiography.