Clothes… and other things that matter by Alexandra Shulman
Former Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman explores the meaning of clothes in her evocative memoir. Clothes… and other things that matter is a wonderful mix of memories, observations and fashion history.
She delves into her own life to explore the meaning behind the way we dress in a series of personal essays. From the bra to the bikini, trench coat to trainers, slip dress to suit, she discusses their role in women’s lives. But, it’s how our wardrobes intersect with our identities that is most interesting – the career ladder, ambitions, emotions, failure, body image, romance and motherhood.
‘Clothes… and other things that matter is a book not only about clothes but about the way we live our lives. From childhood onwards, the way we dress is a result of our personal history. In a mix of memoir, fashion history and social observation I am writing about the person our clothes allows us to be and sometimes the person they turn us into,' says Alexandra, the longest serving editor of British Vogue, a position she held for 25 years.
Alexandra’s clever writing shows the dramatic contrast between working in fashion and the reality of everyday life. For each item of clothing she details its history or explores how it represented a particular moment in time.
“The relationship between how I dress and how I imagine I am perceived is different now,” she says about her post-Vogue life.
“These clothes are the story of my life and my preoccupations; like everyone’s, they are unique.”
Alexandra certainly helped me understand my own fashion journey. While reading, I reflected on power dressing, dress-down culture and table-up dressing (particularly useful when zooming). Yes, what we wear does capture the mood of the era.
My identity evolved during my after school retail job and my early journalism career as a fashion columnist. Alexandra’s insights resonated, especially when I consider how I progressed through my media career. At the time, I believed I needed to project a specific image and dress the part. Now, I luxuriate in comfort in my working from home uniform - a denim skirt with a simple black merino tee and trainers.
Whether you think clothes should be important, or not, Clothes… and other things that matter is relatable on so many levels. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Hachette, RRP $39.99