March 16, 2018 • Cee • Reviews

Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore by ABRAMS & Vanessa Friedman • February 27, 2018 • ABRAMS Image
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A woman can be a firefighter, surgeon, astronaut, military officer, athlete, judge, and scientist. So what does it mean to dress like a woman?

Dress Like a Woman turns that question on its head by sharing a myriad of interpretations across history. The book includes more than 240 incredible photographs that illustrate how women’s roles have changed over the last century. The women pictured in this book inhabit a fascinating intersection of gender, fashion, politics, culture, class, nationality, and race. You’ll see some familiar faces, including trailblazers Shirley Chisholm, Amelia Earhart, Angela Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Michelle Obama, but the majority of photographs are of ordinary working women from many backgrounds and professions. Pioneering scientists and mathematicians, leading civil rights and feminist activists, factory workers and lumberjacks, stay-at-home moms and domestic workers, and artists and musicians; all express their individual style and dress to get the job done.

With essays by renowned fashion writer Vanessa Friedman and New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, Dress Like a Woman offers a comprehensive look at the role of gender and clothing in the workplace—and proves that there’s no single way to dress like a woman.

myreview

I received this book for free from ABRAMS for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dress Like A Woman asks, “what does it mean to dress like a woman?”

It’s not an easy question to answer. To dress like a woman, it depends on a myriad of things like the time period, the culture, the race, nationality, and social class. Dress Like A Woman isn’t really about to answer that question; it’s a celebration of women in the work place, who kicked ass no matter what they wore.

  • Dress Like A Woman is a book of photographs. 

It mainly contains photographs of women through different time periods, countries, and races. It lets the photos do the talking. The only written words in this book are forewords by Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, and Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director at the New York Times, and the many captions describing each photo.

  • You meet different women from all walks of life.

In these photographs, there are famous women—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female justice on the Supreme Court; Jane Goodall, primatologist and anthropologist, interacting with a chimp; Serena Williams at the US Open; Debbie Harry, the leader of the Blondie, performing onstage in the ‘80s; a stern looking Georgia O’Keefe, an American artist and modernist, in 1921.

And there are women who everybody should know of (but don’t really)—Selma Burke, a sculptor and member of the Harlem Renaissance movement in the ‘30s; Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Congress; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the only female assistant surgeon during the Civil War and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor, in 1865; and Frances Clalin Clayton, an American who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Civil War.

There are women making a living—a Chinese woman using a abacus to bookkeep for her family’s grain shop; women in India gathering rice seedlings in the ‘60s; a Sri Lankan woman sewing on a machine in 1998; an African schoolteacher in the Congo teaching in 1989, Japanese guides for the World Expo in 1970; a woman welding a bicycle in the ’30s in Chicago; a factory worker carrying cigarette packs to put in shipment in Ireland in the ‘60s.

  • Clothing does not maketh the woman.

The clothing do not define these women. Women are not here today (or back then) because of what they wore. They can do anything a wearing a brown polo shirt with blue cargo pants, oil stained jumpsuits, tank tops with long skirts, a well-cut tuxedo, or army uniforms, and that wouldn’t matter. What they wore did not draw away from their work. They did their jobs because they’re skilled and know what they’re doing.

Should you read Dress Like A Woman? Yes. Dress Like A Woman is a perfect book to read for Women’s History Month and all year round. The photos makes you in awe of all these women who did their jobs despite what they wore because what they wear shouldn’t define who they are or what they can or cannot do.


 

One Response to “REVIEW • Dress Like a Woman: Working Women and What They Wore”

  1. Celia says:

    I love seeing what women wore throughout history, so this should be a good one for me.


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