Adorned in Dreams: Reversing the Gaze: From the look of fashion to the lens of the wardrobe

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In this article, I investigate the wardrobe as a possible explanatory framework and methodologyfor studying and analysing the relationship between people and what they wear. Since I have previously elaborated on the human–object–time relationship in my concept of the biographical wardrobe (Skjold 2016), here I wish to elaborate on the human–object–space relationship. This implicates decoding and analysing the kinds of stylistic references people make use of when they build up their personal collection of garments and accessories in their wardrobes over a lifetime, and what these references carry with them in the form of institutionalized rituals, institutions, values and practices that the individual co-creates and reproduces. Based on this, I end up concluding how the discourse of fashion – as a set of values, practices and driving institutionalized rituals – cannot explain fully what goes on when people dress. Instead, I point to some coexisting discourses that I found to be represented in the wardrobes of my informants as carriers of alternative or even contradictory values and practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClothing Cultures
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

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