Synopses & Reviews
Women in Clothes
is a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalitiesand#151;famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, oldand#151;on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives.
It began with a survey. The editors composed a list of more than fifty questions designed to prompt women to think more deeply about their personal style. Writers, activists, and artists including Cindy Sherman, Kim Gordon, Kalpona Akter, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Tavi Gevinson, Miranda July, Roxane Gay, Lena Dunham, and Molly Ringwald answered these questions with photographs, interviews, personal testimonies, and illustrations.
Even our most basic clothing choices can give us confidence, show the connection between our appearance and our habits of mind, express our values and our politics, bond us with our friends, or function as armor or disguise. They are the tools we use to reinvent ourselves and to transform how others see us. Women in Clothes embraces the complexity of womenand#8217;s style decisions, revealing the sometimes funny, sometimes strange, always thoughtful impulses that influence our daily ritual of getting dressed.and#160;
"Thoughtfully crafted and visually entertaining, this collection, edited by Heti (How Should A Person Be?), Julavits (The Vanishers), and Shapton (Swimming Studies), uses personal reflections from 642 contributors to examine women's relationship with clothes in a deceptively lighthearted and irreverent tone. Reminiscent of women's collaborative book projects from the 1970s, women (and a few men) are quoted in survey responses, essays, artworks, and recorded snippets of conversation. Though the book satisfies voyeuristic pleasures, on a basic level, it also inspires meaningful questions by virtue of its structure; contributions are well-organized in short sections (participants like Lena Dunham and Cindy Sherman are granted longer entries) with surprising juxtapositions for example, rapid-fire answers to the editors' survey questions about shopping sit comfortably next to an essay on the political and personal implications of wearing a head scarf. The prose is spliced with striking visuals, such as photos of actress Zosia Mamet (Girls) imitating 50 poses from fashion magazine covers, and many passages yield deeper revelations: 'What I Spent' uses a diary-style record of clothing and toiletry purchases to examine the effect that physical difference, such as scoliosis, has on self-presentation and confidence. A provocative time capsule of contemporary womanhood, this collection is highly recommended. B&w illus and photos throughout, 32 pages in full color. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
and#8220;Poems, interviews, pieces that read like diary or journal entriesand#8212;all these responses help the editors fulfill their aims: to liberate readers from the idea that women have to fit a certain image or ideal, to show the connection between dress and and#8216;habits of mind,and#8217; and to offer readers and#8216;a new way of interpreting their outsides.and#8217; and#8216;What are my values?and#8217; one woman asks. and#8216;What do I want to express?and#8217; Those questions inform the multitude of eclectic responses gathered in this delightfully idiosyncratic book.and#8221;and#8212;Kirkusand#160;
and#8220;Thoughtfully crafted and visually entertaining, this collection, edited by Heti, Julavits, and Shapton, uses personal reflections from 642 contributors to examine womenand#8217;s relationship with clothes in a deceptively lighthearted and irreverent toneand#8230;.it also inspires meaningful questionsand#8230;the prose is spliced with striking visualsand#8230;[a] provocative time capsule of contemporary womanhood.and#8221;and#8212;Publishers Weekly
and#8220;[A] delirious assortment of conversations, essays, journal entries, and photographsand#8230;This big, busy book feels like a thrift store brimming with jumbles of clothes and accessories and alive with womenand#8217;s voices. Their comments and stories are canny, funny, incisive, twee, surprising, and caring, as thoughts and anecdotes about clothes touch on everything from gender to beauty, sex, mother-daughter relationships, aspirations, money, human rights, health, work, creativity, and violence. A uniquely kaleidoscopic and spirited approach to an irresistible subject of universal resonance.and#8221;
and#8220;This is the wisdom of the crowd, and while it's not authoritative or prescriptive, it's reassuring and fun.and#8221;
and#8220;This charming patchwork expands the scope of fashion writing by looking not at forerunners of style but at how those outside the industry think about what they wearand#8230;.The range of women involved [is] dazzlingand#8230;a welcome addition to writing that often focuses on a single trend for all.and#8221;
and#8212;Madeleine Schwartz, The Boston Globe
and#8220;[A] thoughtful, droll, and often moving tomeand#8230;Women in Clothes is the pulchritudinous addendum to Mr. Twainand#8217;s famous quoteand#8212;clothes make the woman.and#8221;
and#8212;Sloane Crosley, Interview
and#160;and#8220;[A] winningly zine-like compendium.and#8221;
and#8212;Meghan Oand#8217;Grady, Vogue.com
and#8220;Women in Clothes dares to dive into the realm of heels and chiffon to suss out the deeper underpinnings of what we wear.and#8221;
"[A] book on personal style and inspirations...[from] British fashion icony Alexa Chung."—The Wall Street Journal
"[Alexa Chung] traces her journey to her place behind the velvet ropes in the new book It."—Associated Press
"[Alexa Chung] reveals how she puts together her effortless, cool look."—InStyle
“This full-fledged style icon is sharing her most intimate thoughts on her muses, aesthetic, childhood, and heartbreaks in a new diary-meets-scrapbook.”—Teen Vogue
“Smart, trigger-quick wit….Chung gives her fans style inspirations, personal anecdotes, helpful beauty tips, and recreation advice.”—Paper Magazine
“We can finally tap into the uberchic mind of ultimate It Girl Alexa Chung….Featuring the fashion-savvy Brits writing, drawings and personal photographs…. Just what weve wanted from our top girl crush.”—Foam Magazine
and#160; and#8220;Swimming Studies
sets out, through a fusion of words and pictures, to capture a bittersweet part of the writer's past as completely as a scent trapped in a bottle.and#160; The book is beautiful as both a story and an object.and#160; It's about being very, very good at something, when you want to be great.and#160; I was moved by it in ways both expected and unexpected."
and#8212;John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead and#160; and#8220;If there is a more beautifully observed examination of weightlessness, silence, rigor, and delight of what it means to swim, I've never read it.and#160; Leanne Shapton is one of the most broadly creative and gifted people at work today; a true artist, both visual and verbal.and#160; There seems to be nothing she cannot write or paint about: adolescence, Canada, yearning, dawn - even cake, for heaven's sake! - with a precision both surgical and poetic.and#160; The joys of Swimming Studies are in being in the care of someone of a prodigious and protean mind.and#160; My talent crush is official and deep.and#8221;
and#8212;David Rakoff, author of Half Empty and#160; and#8220;I'm so happy this book exists.and#160; Swimming Studies expresses what it's like to be haunted by the person one used to be, and the search for how that person exists in the present.and#160; Leanne Shapton writes with such curiosity, ruefulness, intelligence, and grace.and#160; Here we see how the discipline of being an athlete can condition one's way of making art, and how the patience necessary to make art teaches other types of patience.and#160; Like the patience required to be a spouse and to love a person always.and#160; This book is a rare treat for anyone who cares about any of these things.and#8221; and#8212;Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be? and#160; and#8220;A fusion of cool, clear-eyed prose and watercolors, photographs and painted portraits...[and] a curiously arresting study of the transition from a world of rigor and routine to one of reflection and recreation....The brilliance of Swimming Studies lies in its delicate exploration of how the identities weand#8217;ve carved out for ourselves in the present are both haunted and shaped by the people we used to be.and#8221; and#8212;Time Out New York and#160; and#8220;[W]hat makes this book astounding....[is] any dedicated swimmer knows exactly what Shapton means; we sense and control our movements, from the tips of our fingers to the flutter of our feet, breathing very specifically, detecting any shifts in conditions, from the presence of other swimmers to the tug of a current....Shapton pares down her experiences as a swimmer and grafts the core lessons to other parts of her life, allowing them to bloom in ways that have everything and nothing to do with swimming.and#8221; and#8212;Buzz Poole, TheMillions.com and#160; and#8220;A cool memoir about competitive swimming that might as well be called The Unbearable Lightness of Being....Shapton, never self-pitying, offers an original, mythical elixir of life in the water.and#8221; and#8212;Newsweek and#160; and#8220;[A] thoughtful, exquisitely written book...ostensibly about [Shaptonand#8217;s] lifelong relationship to the sport, complete with photos of her various bathing suits and meditations on the difference between swimming (i.e., competitive swimming) and bathing (i.e., swimming for fun)....She even includes some haunting, cobalt blue illustrations of pools she frequents as an adult, as well as a color guide to different swimming smells, such as "coach: fresh laundry, Windbreaker nylon, Mennen Speed Stick, Magic Marker, and bologna." These extra visual elements dazzle, but the specifics of this world and her insightful take on her own far-from-ordinary life are what makes any reader wonder if Shapton's gold medal might have already been wonand#8212;in writing.and#8221; and#8212;Oprah.com, Book of the Week and#160; and#8220;Shapton draws on her experience training for the Olympic trials in a refreshing and thoughtful memoir about swimming as competition and way of life. Her ode to the water is not only philosophical but incredibly moving.and#8221; and#8212;Entertainment Weekly and#160; and#8220;The talented illustrator Leanne Shapton, in her pointillistic and quietly profound new memoir, Swimming Studies...writes as confidently as she draws, and memorably conjures swimmingand#8217;s intense, primordial and isolating pleasures....Shaptonand#8217;s prose frequently has the density of poetry....[she] is so smart and so likable that you will pass her book along to the swimmers in your life.and#8221; and#8212;Dwight Garner, The New York Times and#160; and#8220;In this small, lovely book, [Shapton] combines words and images in an exquisitely observed meditation on swimming and memory....Whatand#8217;s thrilling about this book is its authorand#8217;s careful attention to detail and unlikely beauty. More impressionistic than a traditional memoir, the book nonetheless sketches an arc that brings the author back to competitive swimming, in masters races in the United States.and#8221; and#8212;Kate Tuttle, The Boston Globe and#160; and#8220;Painter and illustrator Leanne Shapton relates with poignancy the details of a competitive swimmer's life...beautifully written, beautifully constructed, and thoughtful.and#8221; and#8212;Huffington Post and#160; and#8220;[Swimming Studies] is brilliant, eccentric and movingand#8212;an immersion in a life....Shapton has a novelist's instinct for the nostalgic charge of the inconsequential....Her language is as crisp as the autumn day she describes.and#8221; and#8212;Kate Kellaway, The Observer (UK) and#160; and#8220;Acknowledging the ultimate incomprehensibility of athletic greatness, [Shapton] nonetheless brings us closer to its essence....If those countless practice laps and those not-quite-Olympian results were what it took to produce Swimming Studies, it was worth it: Shapton has bottled the elusive meaning of having tried and failed at a sport better than any book Iand#8217;ve read since Pat Jordanand#8217;s classic A False Spring. and#160;Read Swimming Studies and enjoy the incomprehensible greatness of the worldand#8217;s best all the more.and#8221; and#8212;Ian McGillis, The Montreal Gazette (Canada) and#8220;[Shaptonand#8217;s] eye for detail [is] amazingly shrewd...gaspingly beautiful in its insight, proving her project actually has very little to do with swimming...Swimming Studies is an intimate and beautiful meditation on human fallibility and the embarrassing, often unstated anxiety of success.and#8221; and#8212;Stacey May Fowles, The National Post (Canada) and#160; and#8220;In her illustrated memoir, Shapton, a writer, artist, and former contender for the Canadian Olympic team, grapples with the habits she learned as a teen-age competitive swimmer....and her honed attention to detail gives the reader the sensation of watching a meticulous mind watching itself, down to the hundredth of a second.and#8221; and#8212;The New Yorker and#160; and#8220;It looks like Shapton can succeed at whatever she puts her mind to; swimming is where that started....As few people can, Shapton draws a connection between making art and being an athlete, focusing on the unending effort it takes to do well....She is, no doubt, a creative powerhouse, one who puts words and pictures together with a quiet force that comes only from solid, dedicated practice.and#8221; and#8212;Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times and#160; and#8220;I was a competitive swimmer, and I have never read anything that captured the sport so well. Shapton knows just the details to include...Her sparse, satisfying prose is your guide, and youand#8217;re glad to get to swim beside her.and#8221; and#8212;Carolyn Kormann, TheNewYorker.com
and#8220;Through immaculate observation and evocative recollection, Leanne Shaptonand#8217;s autobiographical Swimming Studies achieves the seemingly impossible. In a series of sharp snapshots of life as a competitive swimmer and beyond, she has managed to find and#8220;the language of belonging,and#8221; giving a voice to silent hours spent submerged in water....beautifully written and gorgeous to look at, too....Ultimately, Swimming Studies is about more than swimming. Itand#8217;s about how the discipline of competitive sport teaches routine, perseverance and good habits. Itand#8217;s about how the diligence of athletic practice can translate into art, communication and even love.and#8221;
and#8212;Nicola Joyce, The Washington Post
A beautifully illustrated ode to self-expression and personal style, featuring more than 225 contributors, edited by three critically acclaimed authors.
The darling of the fashion world and co-host of the music TV show Fuse News shares her inspirations, musings, and her own very personal and eclectic style
With influences that range from the sultry beauty of Jane Birkin to the rocker chic of Mick Jagger, its no wonder that everything worn by Alexa Chung instantly becomes the latest trend. Already a hugely popular television personality and a muse for Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld, Chung is now a co-anchor of the nightly music show Fuse News, covering todays hottest acts and entertainment news. Chungs first book, It, provides her legion of fans with a long-awaited inside look at her fascinating world.
A wholly unique collection of Chungs personal writings, drawings, and photographs, It covers everything from her candid thoughts on life, love, and music to her favorite ensembles and how to decide what to wear in the morning. With Chungs characteristic wit, charm, and refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, this full-color compendium is a must-have for anyone who loves fashion, music, and just about everything Alexa Chung.
Winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award, Autobiography
Swimming Studiesand#160;is a brilliantlyand#160;original, meditative memoir that explores the worlds of competitiveand#160;and recreational swimming. From her training for the Olympic trials as aand#160;teenager toand#160;enjoying pools and beaches around the world as an adult, Leanne Shaptonand#160;offers a fascinating glimpse into the private, often solitary, realm ofand#160;swimming. Her spare and elegant writing reveals an intimate narrative ofand#160;suburban adolescence, spent underwater in a discipline that continues to inspire Shaptonand#8217;s work as an artist and author.and#160;Her illustrations throughout the book offer an intuitive perspective on the landscapes and imagery of the sport. Shaptonand#8217;sand#160;emphasis is on theand#160;smaller moments of athletic pursuit ratherand#160;than its triumphs. For the accomplished athlete,and#160;aspiring amateur, or habitual practicer, this remarkable work of written and visual sketchesand#160;propelsand#160;theand#160;reader through a beautifully personal and universally appealingand#160;exercise in reflection.
About the Author
SHEILA HETI is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be?
and an illustrated book for children, We Need a Horse.
She frequently collaborates with other artists and writers.
HEIDI JULAVITS is the author of four novels, most recently The Vanishers, winner of the PEN/New England Fiction Award. She is a founding editor of The Believer and a professor at Columbia University.
LEANNE SHAPTON is a Canadian artist, author, and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of Important Artifacts and Swimming Studies, winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography.