Voices from women’s wardrobes: midlife and self-image
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 16:49 authored by Maria Rosa Dal Cin
Current fashion research has not explored women’s perceptions of available clothing choices during the biological and physical transformations of midlife. Instabilities such as menopause, family breakups, or a loved one’s death augment women’s diminishing visual presence amid Western society’s beauty ideal. In response, clothing may become vital for self-expression, but also measurable in the terms of dress success, or a wardrobe impasse. A reflective Photovoice approach required participants (n=11) to take 7 full-body selfies over the course of a week, while wearing their favourite daywear outfits. The photographs prompted in-depth discussions during one-on-one interviews. Photovoice’s debut in fashion research reveals the common philosophies and strategies used by women in midlife to navigate a quick-response fashion system and establish a wardrobe that reflects their self-image. Women’s personal perspectives and selfevaluated dressing choices reveal whether their everyday wardrobe supports or compromises their desired self-image, promoting dress success or causing a wardrobe impasse.