What do our clothes say about who we are or who we think we are? How does the way we dress communicate messages about our identity? Is the desire to be "in fashion" universal, or is it unique to Western culture? How do fashions change? These are just a few of the intriguing questions Fred Davis sets out to answer in this provocative look at what we do with our clothes—and what they can do to us.
Much of what we assume to be individual preference, Davis shows, really reflects deeper social and cultural forces. Ours is an ambivalent social world, characterized by tensions over gender roles, social status, and the expression of sexuality. Predicting what people will wear becomes a risky gamble when the link between private self and public persona can be so unstable.