An Outline Of Fashion

Fashion is a kind of independence and self expression in a certain time and venue and at a certain context, with a certain style and clothing, footwear, accessories, make-up, hairstyle, body posture, and social attitude. The word “fashion” suggests a style defined by the fashion industry at what is currently trending. It means “to dress.” It also implies that it is what people do, and that the way people dress is determined by what is fashionable, in a given place and at a given time.


In this case study, the author focuses on the major cultural differences across cultures in how women dress. The case study questions are: What styles make a woman more feminine, more appealing, bolder, or more alike? What are the social effects of dressing styles: What types of women are seen as sexy, ugly, smart, or both?

The author presents findings from her qualitative research using the framework of fashion theory. The first chapter presents the definition and conceptualization of fashion. It then goes into definitions of the different kinds of fashion, their characteristics, definitions of style, cultural definitions, cultural influence, fashion trends, glamour and objectification, and finally to an analysis of three important global contemporary fashion trends. The last chapter discusses the main sources of change in fashion, and the future of fashion.

The author presents research findings from her qualitative study of high fashion in London, South Korea, Los Angeles, India, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, and the United States. The book looks at the variety of materials, colors, patterns, cuts, and garments that were popular among the elite in high fashion. It explores the meaning of styles through a sociological perspective, the function of clothes in daily life, how clothes influence interpersonal relationships, what kinds of bodies are socially popular, and what cultural and economic factors influence the choice of clothes among a consumer base and other factors. The book concludes with suggestions for future research on fashion.

This is an interesting book and a quick read. One thing I think the author does a very good job of is pointing out the diversity of the fashion industry. She divides the volume into six sections and at the end offers brief suggestions for further reading on different topics.

Fashion can be a difficult subject for some people because they feel as if there is no right way to wear clothes. In reality fashion is very individual and personal. As a young girl I always had a love/hate relationship with my clothes. My favorite colors were neon green and bright orange, while my least favorite colors were black, gray, brown, and blue. Even though I was a kid it never occurred to me that certain clothing should be worn and others shouldn’t. Fashion as a whole is just an extension of our self concept.