Once, we were all dressed by someone else.
Parents picked out a T-shirt; the school dictated what colour our trousers should be.
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.
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.
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;
based on our work we might get typecast as dour or superficial;
the fact that we’re very sporty might lead people to see us as not terribly intelligent;
or an attachment to a particular political outlook might be associated with being unnervingly earnest.
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
We’re highlighting interesting or attractive things about who we are and,
in the process, we’re clearing up misconceptions.
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:
based on knowing that he was a successful and rather intellectual painter.
He might have been thought of as slightly aloof and highly refined;
detached from, and censorious of, ordinary life.
But his clothes speak about very different aspects of his personality:
they go out of their way to tell us that he’s quite modest; he’s interested in talking about pop music;
he sees his art largely as a kind of manual labour.
His clothes, like ours, give us a crucial introduction to the self.
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.
They know who we are already; they’re not relying on our clothes for clues.
It’s a strange but profound fact that certain items of clothing can excite us.
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.
It’s tempting to see this kind of fetishism as simply deluded but
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.
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.
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
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.
We’re both communicating to others who we are and strategically reminding ourselves.
Our wardrobes contain some of our most carefully-written lines of autobiography.