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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Bookstack for the Future from Our Past.

Astonishing as it might have been for my university 80s-self to witness my present-self cinematically appearing in the college dormitory, were it possible - I would present the following bookstack to that self:
  • Dress and Popular Culture
  • Fashion at the Edge:  Spectacle, Modernity, and Deathliness
  • StreetStyle:  From Sidewalk to Catwalk
Interwoven with late night studies of English literature, French language, and Art - I was studying fashion, unofficially, and have been ever since.  It is a bookstack which offers answers and evidence in response to some whys of fashion:
  • Why do styles shift in and out of popularity.
  • Why are styles adopted by groups of people.
  • Why do trends occur and sometimes reoccur.
  • Why does being fashionable hold such importance for some people.
  • Why is fashion often symbolic and not only functional.
If you've a burgeoning penchant or interest for... fashion+psychology+unspoken language+meaning - it's your bookstack too.  Here's a story for you.
Knowing now what I knew and loved then, I contemplate how to impress my 80s self.  Past midnight, in the hallway of the dormitory - when everyone else is asleep  - is when I will find myself sitting there in a silly oversized t-shirt reading too many assignments for one night - face coated in minty-sulphuric, green, beauty-clay.
The matte, black, stretchy pleather leggings of a few twenty-first century years ago will be just the thing to catch my eye.  Those, I think - along with some over-the-knee, black leather riding boots.  The rest won't matter.  Long hair and double-pierced ears will be edgy enough to impress that person sitting there in her clay beauty treatment, growing out a mullet.
That self might recognize this self - perhaps critically... never mind that.
Me: Appearing in the doorway slowly and casually sauntering by, "It seems the studying will never end... I remember."
In response, a glance of surprise and scrutiny... also approval for the "look".  It worked.  I think I'm someone's visiting mother.
Me:  "These books are perfect for you and hold answers to many of your questions.  Read them between your assignments."
In wordless response, I retreat to the dorm-room, leaving the books on my desk and ascend the loft bed ladder... thinking I've missed too much sleep - as I drift off, unaware - until tomorrow - of the messages to myself tucked among the bookstack pages.
If that very short fiction left you in the mood for still more imaginary/fashion/time travel quick-fiction, your wish is granted here.  Or, if you'd like more than just the bookstack - there are more books and movies here.  More about 80s beauty and hairstyles here.  An 80s fashion post with more about leggings here.

The Perfect Bookstack for the Fashionably Curious:
Dress and Popular Culture, Patricia Cunningham and Susan Voso Lab.  Bowling Green State University Popular Press - 1991.

Fashion at the Edge:  Spectacle, Modernity, and Deathliness, Caroline Evans.  Yale University Press - 2003.

StreetStyle:  From Sidewalk to Catwalk, Ted Polhemus.  Thames and Hudson - 1994.