It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists and artists like Cindy Sherman,  Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson,  Lena Dunham and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies and illustrations. Women of all nationalities, famous, anonymous, religious, married, single, young, old. Women like you and me.

Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends and function as armour or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of women’s style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always telling impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed.

Reading this book it seems  I’m surrounded by a lots of friends, talking about our clothes and our habits. It’s a wonderful book, unlike any other, to read over and over again.

To give you an idea I selected two fragments:

DIANA BECKER I was in line at the Guggenheim with my favorite cousin, who is a stylist. There was a woman in front of us
and we couldn’t understand her. She had a beautiful sixty-something face but she felt like a girl.
Her outfit was perfect, her body svelte, not yoga-tight or anything extreme. We were obsessed with her and
labeled her one of the ‘young-old’. We still hunt for them and wonder if weather or cultures inspire more of them.
What’s their secret? Do they have good taste, or is it their mental state, diet, exercise? And why are they
mostly not American? X

AMY ROSE SPIEGEL I think it’s important to have one red detail: a purse, a hair bow, shoes. I think of it like a red
door on an otherwise plain house, and how elegant that always seems. X


Women in clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton. Forthcoming from Penguin.