Dressing for Disaster

What does what we wear say about us?

a pair of yellow rainboots on pavement
Rob McEwen (Flickr/torontorob)

The COVID-19 pandemic exposes just how connected the world is, while, at the same time, circumscribing our individual worlds much more. How do we dress for these new circumstances, where our trips outside the house are limited to neighborhood walks and forays into the yard? Our guest today, Shahidha Bari, has been thinking deeply about how we interact with our clothes since long before the current pandemic. She’s a professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at the London College of Fashion and a fellow of the Forum for European Philosophy at the London School of Economics. Her new book, Dressed, is what you get when you cross a philosopher with a fashion critic. She writes about the feeling you experience when your feet are mercifully dry in a pair of yellow rain boots, or what the subtle pull of a tie can do to your spine and your personality.

Go beyond the episode: 

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek and sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Subscribe: iTunes • Feedburner Stitcher • Google Play • Acast

Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!

Our theme music was composed by Nathan Prillaman.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


Please enter a valid email address
That address is already in use
The security code entered was incorrect
Thanks for signing up