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    Dress anxiety

    Salecl, Renata (2016) Dress anxiety. Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty 7 (1), pp. 3-17. ISSN 2040-4417.

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    Each of the contributions to this issue addresses the interplay between conformity and transgression or resistance involved in fashion and fashion choices. Using a range of disciplinary perspectives and critical frameworks, they each explore particular aspects of how the laws of fashion are established, maintained and negotiated, and the social, psychical or political consequences of such negotiations. This introductory article examines fashion anxiety, in particular the wedding-dress anxieties reported by women on Internet forums. Although anxiety about dress as self-presentation in relation to the written and unwritten rules that govern our positioning within society is not new, there is evidence that fashion anxiety has increased in recent times, when and where the ideology of choice has become more dominant. An apparently greater freedom from social constraints and authorities has made it more difficult to make the ‘right’ choice, increasing feelings of guilt, inadequacy and anxiety. The dilemma of wanting to ‘fit in’ and at the same time to ‘stand out’ as an individual is, in Lacanian psychoanalytic terms, a question of how one is positioned within the social symbolic network (the big Other). This is a question that is not just about acceptance by society in general, but how one is perceived by particular others, and about whether one is desired. Such questions have psychic dimensions and consequences – for self-image, self-esteem, even self-punishment. It is perhaps not surprising then, that some brides-to-be, confronted by the seemingly straightforward question of ‘what to wear?’ turn to forms of ad-hoc therapy from peers and ‘professional experts’ on the Internet.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Internet forums, dress as protest, dress codes, fashion anxiety, ideology of choice, symbolic order, wearable technologies, wedding dress
    School: School of Law > Law
    Research Centres and Institutes: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE)
    Depositing User: Renata Salecl
    Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 14:06
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 13:58


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