We have to get dressed every day, and every choice we make suggests something about us.
Thinking deeply about clothes, as this book does using the responses of over 600 well-known and unknown women, turns out to mean thinking deeply about yourself, and how you relate to others. For example, a series of photographs of women’s hands prompts discussions of the story behind their rings – or lack thereof.
There are displays of the odd things we find ourselves collecting, almost without realising it – a woman who owns nine very similar-looking grey jumpers; lots of stripy t-shirts; a series of nail varnishes, almost all a variation on coral. There are detailed, strangely engrossing accounts of how someone spends on clothes and grooming over a six-month period.
At the core of the book lie two questions: how are we perceived? How would we like to be perceived? Endlessly fascinating.
Women In Clothes by by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others (Particular Books, £24) is out now