Usually the most thought I put into clothes is, “On a scale of 1 to leopard-print-hot-pants, where does this top fall?” If it falls in the 5 to hot-pants range, I put it on. This–more than my lack of renown as a Freudian scholar–is probably why I’ve never published any books on the subject.
Adam Phillips is (a Freudian scholar) and has (published a book on the subject), in collaboration with Judith Clark, a fashion curator in the UK. If you happened to be in London this spring (a) May was really nice here and I’m sorry you missed it and (b) lucky you because you had the opportunity to view the installation dubbed The Concise Dictionary of Dress at the Blythe House, which was a fascinating-sounding hybrid of text and tucked-away, unraveled, deconstructed, reconstructed and thoroughly original exploration of clothing and objects of dress “in terms of anxiety, wish and desire.”
If you missed the exhibit, as you probably did (May was so nice!), you can buy the book, check out the project online, and see some of Phillips’ definitions here. Current favorite/most apt to use:
“Pretentious: Something pretending to be something that it is.”
Here’s a trailer for it, only sliiiightly less intense than the facebook movie trailers: