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Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes Hardcover – 13 Jun 2019

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (13 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1787331490
  • ISBN-13: 978-1787331495
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 3.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"[A] clever, subtle book… Although [Bari's] writing is critically informed… her tone is insistently personal, intimate even… Between her main chapters she drops in lyrical accounts of her own encounters with specific items of clothing… Bari wants us to think not so much about what clothes say as how they make us feel." (Guardian)

"A fascinating cultural exploration of the layers of meaning inherent in the ways we dress ourselves, from Madonna's denim jacket and the paintings of Titian to Cary Grant's tailoring. If you think choosing what to wear is essentially a trivial activity, read this and you'll soon clothe your thoughts entirely differently." (Bookseller, Editor's Choice)

"[There are] many delectable facts waiting to be discovered in Shahidha Bari’s DressedDressed is irresistible when Bari riffs with extraordinary breadth and depth on the cultural meanings of the items she describes… I put Dressed down having been dazzled by Bari’s learning and insights... In the end, Dressed is an argument for taking apparently frivolous things seriously... More than this, though, Bari communicates the joy and powerful sense of interconnected humanity clothes can bring.”" (Lucy Moore Literary Review)

"Dressed is a feast of a book, a supreme example of the new kind of essay – exploratory, reflective, full of the personal energy of Shahidha herself and also her wide knowledge."

About the Author

Shahidha Bari is a writer, academic and broadcaster working in the fields of literature, philosophy and art. Born in 1980, she studied at Cambridge and Cornell. She was one of the first ever BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers (2011) and a winner of the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism (2015). She teaches cultural theory at the University of London and is a Fellow of the Forum for Philosophy at the LSE. She writes for the Financial Times, Guardian and Frieze among other newspapers and journals. She features frequently on BBC Radio 4, and presents BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme Free Thinking. She lives in London.

From the Publisher

James Dean rebel without a cause leather jacket

In DRESSED, Shahidha Bari tracks the hidden power of clothes in our culture and our daily lives.

‘James Dean wears a blazing-red blouson jacket, as though he could wear it forever. It is a trim, light scarlet flash of a thing and it exemplifies the film’s spirit of youth, eternally reckless, rash and desirous. It is the coveted red jacket, ineffably sexy, smart and cool, that Jim trades for Plato's gun and in which Plato is fatally shot. But in life, as in film, the jacket could only ever belong to James Dean.’

James Dean rebel without a cause leather jacket

Poster for Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

alexander mcqueem

Alexander McQueen, Lilac horsehair dress (Spring/Summer 2005)

titian girl in a fur

Titian, Girl in a Fur (1536-38)

leonardo da vinci handbag sketch

Leonardo Da Vinci, Handbag sketches

3 customer reviews

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13 June 2019
Format: Hardcover
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18 June 2019
Format: Kindle Edition