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Sartorial Misdirection

Findlay, Rosie (2021) Sartorial Misdirection. In: Sartorial Society Season 4, Week 5, 25 November 2021, Online. (Unpublished) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:95313)

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Language: English

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a tweet. It read, “Thinking about exploring how extravagant clothes can be a way to hide or escape complicated feelings about yourself, a strategy of sartorial misdirection.” I invited anyone who related to the thought to contact me via DM, and to my surprise, a number of people, including some of whom I don’t personally know, did. In brief messages, they explained how and why the tweet resonated, ranging across experiences of coming out, living with chronic illness, of the joys and pains of motherhood and the discomfort of puberty. How people defined ‘extravagant clothes’ varied from garments that disguised, were extremely colourful, imitated historical costume, or recreated a far-away fashion trend, but the stories they evoked often touched on difficult feelings — of shame, confusion, pain, alienation from one’s self. And they revealed how clothing can become a way to hold and ‘speak’ these feelings, transforming them into a material skin that is more comfortable to wear, offering beauty, release, invisibility, and sometimes, recognition.

Here, I want to tell some of those stories, with my interlocutors’ permission, to consider with the audience how eye-catching, “statement” clothes can be a way of hiding in plain sight, unpacking what sartorial misdirection looks like in practice and how it helps individuals navigate their worlds.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: dress; affect; embodiment; story-telling
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Rosie Findlay
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 10:20 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 10:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Findlay, Rosie:
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