Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Out of Shape, in progress

Phew, another long break between posts. Not as if I've been idle, however – I've been working on the book project formerly known as "What Fat Chicks Used To Wear", and I'm pleased to announce that it has been commissioned by Affirm Press, for a scheduled release date of March 2013.

The book now has the working title Out of Shape, and I'm imagining it as an adventure through the cultures of clothes that don't fit, fuelled by curiosity and delight. I begin with a set of questions many readers will recognise:

“Why is it so tricky and unpleasant to find clothes that fit?”
“Is my body the problem, and if not, whose problem is it?”
“Have people always struggled this way?”

Importantly, I never, ever suggest these are problems faced by only a certain set of consumers – fat, skinny, tall, short, young, old, men, women. Rather, I want to show that by even presenting them as problems for only certain consumers, we are avoiding issues that everyone shares.

Then I set off for answers, taking the reader on a journey into the privileged insider spheres of the clothing industry and the corners of the pop-cultural archive. It's also a journey into the past, which I argue is not “a foreign country” where “they do things differently”, but contains many of the same size and fit issues we face today. The past doesn't only shape our present; we actively remould and reinterpret the past according to our contemporary values and anxieties.

I can't wait to be surprised and excited by the information I discover and the connections I draw. I hope to provoke, but ultimately to comfort readers by revealing the imperfection and struggle that lies beneath the elite glamour of ‘fashion’ – to show that no wearer of clothes is alone in feeling he or she doesn’t measure up to these images.

Since I'll be working on the book pretty much full-time in 2012, expect more frequent posting here. I'm hoping to use this blog as a sort of work-in-progress journal, posting snippets of the cool stuff I discover along the way.