There are famous ones, of course (Lena Dunham, Tavi Gevinson, Molly Ringwald), but what makes the collection so valuable are all the contributors who aren’t: From a radiation therapist in Australia to a 5-year-old in Los Angeles.
Between essays and interviews, the editors peppered the book with thematically-grouped survey responses. focusing on subjects such as “Women Looking at Women” and “Breasts,” these short, personal insights illustrate the intricate ties between what we wear and how we feel.
These are not fashion magazine images. More than 50 photographic “collections” give us an intimate view of the items others obsess over: one woman’s 16 unworn necklaces, another’s 13 navy blazers. In another section, “Mothers as Others,” contributors address photos of their mothers (before they were mothers), touching on ageless topics like the subjectivity of beauty, physical dissatisfaction and everyone’s quest for happiness.
It appears throughout the book, ranging from the logical (“No synthetics. They are treacherous.”) to the slightly offbeat (“My Mother told me to stay away from plaids based in white.”) to the utterly personal (“If the outfit’s not working, add an apron.”).
We want the people at our event to have an experience similar to the one we had editing the book,” Julavits says. “To use clothing to communicate and connect with other women but not in the usual consumerist way.” To that end, the event will feature not only the usual reading but a clothing swap. To participate, bring a maximum of five pieces from your own wardrobe.