Skip to main content

Fashion, Culture, and Identity

What do our clothes say about who we are or who we think we are? How does the way we dress communicate messages about our identity? Is the desire to be "in fashion" universal, or is it unique to Western culture? How do fashions change? These are just a few of the intriguing questions Fred Davis sets out to answer in this provocative look at what we do with our clothes—and what they can do to us.

Much of what we assume to be individual preference, Davis shows, really reflects deeper social and cultural forces. Ours is an ambivalent social world, characterized by tensions over gender roles, social status, and the expression of sexuality. Predicting what people will wear becomes a risky gamble when the link between private self and public persona can be so unstable.

233 pages | 12 halftones, 5 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1992

Culture Studies

Rhetoric and Communication

Sociology: Individual, State and Society, Sociology of Arts--Leisure, Sports

Table of Contents

1: Do Clothes Speak? What Makes Them Fashion?
2: Identity Ambivalence, Fashion’s Fuel
3: Ambivalences of Gender: Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Boys
4: Ambivalences of Status: Flaunts and Feints
5: Ambivalences of Sexuality: The Dialectic of the Erotic and the Chaste
6: Fashion as Cycle, Fashion as Process
7: Stages of the Fashion Process
8: Antifashion: The Vicissitudes of Negation
9: Conclusion, and Some Afterthoughts


Costume Society of America: Millia Davenport Award
Honorable Mention

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press