Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


4 October 2017

FASHIONING THE SELF: a narrative of fashion, style, identity and age

Presented By Dr Jackie Goode
  • 1-2pm (part of the CRCC seminar series)
  • U.122 Brockington Building

About this event

It is the late1920s. A little girl is growing up with her two brothers in a tiny ‘two-up two-down’ terraced cottage down the road from the farm. Every year she goes to a party held for local children by the village teacher in the ‘Big House’ that dominates the village. Until a secret in the little girl’s family becomes public. After that, she never goes to the Big House again. Not for many years, that is, until she has children of her own. One day, she dresses her two little girls in their Sunday best - hand-smocked satin blouses, plaid pinafores, freshly-shined shoes and ribbons in their hair - walks them across the fields back to the Big House and knocks on the door.

This presentation is an auto-ethnographic story and film clip of the part played by clothes in the fashioning of the self. For me, now, an older self. The popular media suggest that we are currently witnessing “a fashion for older women”. Do fashion designers know this? The sociologist Julia Twigg suggests that the spread of fashion opportunities to older women entails the colonisation of their bodies by new expectations, new requirements – ones that demand that they be fashionable or well dressed, but that present the body in such a way that age is as far as possible effaced. So, does fashion efface one’s age or enhance one’s agency? And how are clothes so much more than communicative of style? Let the story begin…