Who's A Fashion Victim?
Where did the term “fashion victim” originate? Wikipedia claims that Oscar de la Renta coined the term, and the phrase was used by Giorgio Armani. Fashion followers become victims when they get entangled in fads and materialism… Hmmm. The psychology of feminine preoccupation with fashion is a rich area for investigation. The most appropriate publication I’ve found to date on the subject has a clear-cut title: Fashion victim: our love-hate relationship with dressing, shopping, and the cost of style.
I can’t decide whether it has more of the anthropological or sociological in its scope. The book’s author moves from the fashion industry as a whole to specific feminist concerns, including body image and self-esteem. As individuals, we women begin to evolve an attitude toward these subjects from teen years on. And when we grew up has everything to do with our feelings: my coming-of-age coincided with late 60s social protest. Which means I’ve been wary of fashion—even when embracing it—ever since then.
And now it seems that our presidential contest will be two men in suits slugging it out. I’ll have more to say about the politics of male and female fashion in the weeks ahead…