100 books like The Psychology of Clothes

By J. C. Flugel,

Here are 100 books that The Psychology of Clothes fans have personally recommended if you like The Psychology of Clothes. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Sex and Suits

By Anne Hollander,

Book cover of Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress

Richard Thompson Ford Author Of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

From the list on how fashion shaped our history.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.

Richard's book list on how fashion shaped our history

Why did Richard love this book?

I’ve long felt more powerful, confident, and chic wearing a well-cut suit. But why? Sex and Suits expressed and explained my own vague intuitions about the power of significance of clothing. Hollander explains that the suit is perhaps the most ubiquitous symbol of modernity. Discussing the evolution of fashion—particularly men’s fashion—she shows how the suit is both a practical, streamlined, and unassuming garment and the ultimate status symbol.

By Anne Hollander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sex and Suits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the dawn of western fashion in the Middle Ages, women's dress has never stopped evolving, yet menswear has seen far fewer style revolutions. At the centre of the male wardrobe is the suit: relatively unchanged since the 17th century, its cut and cloth suggest athleticism, seriousness, sexuality and strength - qualities which contrasted with the perceived superficiality and frivolity of female dress, and eventually led to the adoption of the suit into the female wardrobe where it remains to this day.

In Sex and Suits brilliant essayist and art critic Anne Hollander charts the development of men's and women's…


Stylin'

By Shane White, Graham White,

Book cover of Stylin': African-American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit

Richard Thompson Ford Author Of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

From the list on how fashion shaped our history.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.

Richard's book list on how fashion shaped our history

Why did Richard love this book?

Stylin tells the history of African American fashion and style. As a Black man, I have always loved the unique style of the Black community and noticed how trends that start with Black people have consistently become central to American culture. This book explains why this is; how black culture evolved in conversation and conflict with the dominant culture of white America. But it doesn’t devolve into stereotypes or typical, simplistic observations. Black style is the blues, jazz, the cakewalk but it is also refined elegance and a knowing commentary on European culture.  

By Shane White, Graham White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stylin' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For over two centuries, in the North as well as the South, both within their own community and in the public arena, African Americans have presented their bodies in culturally distinctive ways. Shane White and Graham White consider the deeper significance of the ways in which African Americans have dressed, walked, danced, arranged their hair, and communicated in silent gestures. They ask what elaborate hair styles, bright colors, bandanas, long watch chains, and zoot suits, for example, have really meant, and discuss style itself as an expression of deep-seated cultural imperatives. Their wide-ranging exploration of black style from its African…


The Habit

By Elizabeth Kuhns,

Book cover of The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns

Richard Thompson Ford Author Of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

From the list on how fashion shaped our history.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.

Richard's book list on how fashion shaped our history

Why did Richard love this book?

This book explores the origins and evolution of nuns’ habits, explaining why religious women initially chose distinctive attire and how their relations to what, in the end, we must call fashion, evolved. There is great stuff here on schisms between progressive feminists who called for reform and traditionalists who insisted on elaborate and cumbersome clothing. The book is broadly sympathetic to its subject—unlike some religious studies work that adopts a stance of cosmopolitan opposition to religious faith. But it is also probing and savvy: Kuhn highlights the inherent tension between a garment that is supposed to reflect modesty but is also conspicuous and stylized striking comes through.  

By Elizabeth Kuhns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Curiosity about nuns and their distinctive clothing is almost as old as Catholicism itself. The habit intrigues the religious and the nonreligious alike, from medieval maidens to contemporary schoolboys, to feminists and other social critics. The first book to explore the symbolism of this attire, The Habit presents a visual gallery of the diverse forms of religious clothing and explains the principles and traditions that inspired them. More than just an eye-opening study of the symbolic significance of starched wimples, dark dresses, and flowing veils, The Habit is an incisive, engaging portrait of the roles nuns have and do play…


The Fashion System

By Roland Barthes, Matthew Ward (translator), Richard Howard (translator)

Book cover of The Fashion System

Richard Thompson Ford Author Of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

From the list on how fashion shaped our history.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.

Richard's book list on how fashion shaped our history

Why did Richard love this book?

Written by the great French semiotician, this book applies the semiotic method to symbolism of fashion.  People often say that fashion is like a language, but Barthes actually explains precisely how it symbolizes. He explains how fashion is a symbolic system that includes not only clothing itself, but also representations of clothing in text and image, fashion magazines, films, and other depictions that anchor the meaning of sartorial symbols.  

By Roland Barthes, Matthew Ward (translator), Richard Howard (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fashion System as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his consideration of the language of the fashion magazine--the structural analysis of descriptions of women's clothing by writers about fashion--Barthes gives us a brief history of semiology. At the same time, he identifies economics as the underlying reason for the luxuriant prose of the fashion magazine: "Calculating, industrial society is obliged to form consumers who don't calculate; if clothing's producers and consumers had the same consciousness, clothing would be bought (and produced) only at the very slow rate of its dilapidation."


Happiness

By Daniel M. Haybron,

Book cover of Happiness: A Very Short Introduction

Valerie Tiberius Author Of What Do You Want Out of Life? A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters

From the list on understanding what's really important.

Who am I?

When I entered my fifties, I was very surprised to discover that I didn’t have my life all figured out. This was especially surprising since the nature of a good human life has been my research topic for decades. What I have learned, from philosophy and from my collaborations with psychologists, is that it’s always going to be a process. We have to figure out what matters and how to get it, we have to navigate value conflicts, and we have to accept that the answers will change as our circumstances change. The books I’ve recommended aren’t guides to life, but I think they’re great for understanding the process. 

Valerie's book list on understanding what's really important

Why did Valerie love this book?

Everyone values being happy – it’s something we all want and should want!

Haybron’s little book has so much wisdom packed into it about what happiness is and how best to get it. He draws on philosophy and psychology to argue that the feeling of happiness is actually made up of three different emotional states: attunement, engagement, and endorsement. 

He then explains the research about good strategies for getting into these positive emotional states.

My students have really enjoyed this book and it contains one of my favorite lines from a book of philosophy: “don’t be an asshole in the pursuit of happiness.”  

By Daniel M. Haybron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Happiness is an everyday term in our lives, and most of us strive to be happy. But defining happiness can be difficult.

In this Very Short Introduction, Dan Haybron considers the true nature of happiness. By examining what it is, assessing its importance in our lives, and how we can (and should) pursue it, he considers the current thinking on happiness, from psychology to philosophy.

Illustrating the diverse routes to happiness, Haybron reflects on contemporary ideas about the pursuit of a good life and considers the influence of social context on our satisfaction and well-being.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very…


Deep Survival

By Laurence Gonzales,

Book cover of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

From the list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment.

Who am I?

As a coach of elite weightlifters, a lifetime athlete, an outdoorsman, and a passionate advocate for self-reliance, I’m continually searching for quality sources of information that teach, inspire, and drive us to improve our abilities—physical, mental, and emotional—to not just enrich our own lives and bolster our capacity to achieve what’s meaningful to us, but to become better contributors to the world at large and help and inspire others in turn.

Greg's book list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment

Why did Greg love this book?

Gonzales has a way of providing information in a compelling manner, managing to use stories to present ideas rather than approaching them clinically. Deep Survival is a fascinating look at how people interact with the world as influenced by their unique and our shared human psychology and experiences. This book provides insight, but also inspiration to pay more attention and learn from our own experiences, creating a mental foundation for further exploration and growth. 

By Laurence Gonzales,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Survival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With its mix of adventure narrative, survival science and practical advice, Deep Survival inspires readers on how to take control of stress, learn to assess risk and make better decisions under pressure.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean Starobinski, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

Book cover of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Transparency and Obstruction

Nicholas Hudson Author Of A Political Biography of Samuel Johnson

From the list on why the Enlightenment is the beginning of the modern world.

Who am I?

As a teacher and writer, I am a passionate believer in the ideals of the Enlightenment. In my understanding of these ideals, they include a belief in reason and honest inquiry in the service of humanity. More and more we need these ideals against bigotry, self-delusion, greed, and cruelty. The books recommended here are among those that helped to inspire me with continued faith in the progress of the human species and our responsibility to help each other and the world we live in.

Nicholas' book list on why the Enlightenment is the beginning of the modern world

Why did Nicholas love this book?

I have long considered Jean-Jacques Rousseau the most influential of all major figures in the Enlightenment.

As I tell my students, if they are wearing jeans, then they are showing the abiding impact of Rousseau’s celebration of “nature” over civilization. I could recommend any of Rousseau’s books on the origins of society, the “social contract,” or his Confessions, the first modern autobiography. Instead, I will recommend my favorite study of Rousseau.

The great French historian Jean Starobinski illuminates the paradoxes of Rousseau’s personality and writings, his habits of self-deception and obfuscation in conflict with his celebration of total honesty or transparency. This book, though written in the late 1950s, greatly influenced later French authors on Rousseau such as Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstruction.

By Jean Starobinski, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jean-Jacques Rousseau as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jean Starobinski, one of Europe's foremost literary critics, examines the life that led Rousseau, who so passionately sought open, transparent communication with others, to accept and even foster obstacles that permitted him to withdraw into himself. First published in France in 1958, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains Starobinski's most important achievement and, arguably, the most comprehensive book ever written on Rousseau. The text has been extensively revised for this edition and is published here along with seven essays on Rousseau that appeared between 1962 and 1970.


Bárbaros

By David J. Weber,

Book cover of Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment

Mark Dizon Author Of Reciprocal Mobilities: Indigeneity and Imperialism in an Eighteenth-Century Philippine Borderland

From the list on borderland mobility.

Who am I?

The past fascinates me because it is strange and different to the world we live in today. That is why I prefer looking at earlier centuries than contemporary times because the distant past requires an extra effort on our part to unlock how people back then made sense of their world. When I read an old chronicle on how Indigenous people spent days traveling to meet acquaintances and even strangers, it piqued my interest. Did they really need to meet face-to-face? What did traveling mean to them? The books on the list below are attempts by historians to understand the travelers of the past.

Mark's book list on borderland mobility

Why did Mark love this book?

While Bárbaros is a classic in borderland studies, it is not stuffy and boring at all.

The stories and details in the book give life to what happened a long time ago in distant lands. Weber shows readers how dynamic and fluid Spanish borderlands in the Americas really were. I particularly find it fascinating how the book reveals people’s flexibility in the face of seemingly rigid colonial categories.

By David J. Weber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bárbaros as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A majestic exploration of Bourbon Spain's efforts to come to terms with the native peoples of the Americas, from Argentina to Alaska

Two centuries after Cortes and Pizarro seized the Aztec and Inca empires, Spain's conquest of America remained unfinished. Indians retained control over most of the lands in Spain's American empire. Mounted on horseback, savvy about European ways, and often possessing firearms, independent Indians continued to find new ways to resist subjugation by Spanish soldiers and conversion by Spanish missionaries.


In this panoramic study, David J. Weber explains how late eighteenthcentury Spanish administrators tried to fashion a more enlightened…


Mickie McKinney

By R. L. Fink, Susan Lanigan, Antony Wootten (illustrator), Sally Apokedak (editor)

Book cover of Mickie McKinney: Boy Detective, Troubles with Teamwork

Jon Glass Author Of Worcester Glendenis, Kid Detective

From the list on middle grade detective fiction.

Who am I?

As a child I loved reading detective stories, and I still retain strong memories of Tintin and Sherlock Holmes, after which I graduated to Agatha Christie. As an adult my tastes changed and I lost interest in mysteries (with the exception of Edgar Alan Poe). However recently my interests have reversed, partly because I became a grandfather, and partly for the reason that I teach ethics to primary school children, as a volunteer. So it’s possible that Worcester Glendenis is a re-incarnation of me, but as the 12-year-old I wish I had been (as far as my memory can be relied upon to go back 60 years): more emotionally mature and more extrovert.

Jon's book list on middle grade detective fiction

Why did Jon love this book?

This is a less sophisticated mystery than the other four but doesn’t suffer for that reason.

Mickie Mckinney is a schoolboy detective and the setting is a school. I like the conceit that his office is in a cupboard under the stairs. The crimes are not sophisticated, which will suit some readers, and the humour is good.

By R. L. Fink, Susan Lanigan, Antony Wootten (illustrator), Sally Apokedak (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mickie McKinney as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


At Home With The Marquis De Sade

By Francine Du Plessix Gray,

Book cover of At Home With The Marquis De Sade

Andrew S. Curran Author Of Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely

From the list on the Enlightenment and the world is created.

Who am I?

Andrew Curran is passionate about books and ideas related to the eighteenth century. His writing on the Enlightenment has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Paris Review, El Païs, and The Wall Street Journal. Curran is also the author of three books and numerous scholarly articles on the French Enlightenment. He is currently writing a new multi-person biography that chronicles the birth of the concept of race for Other Press. Curran teaches at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he is a Professor of French and the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities.

Andrew's book list on the Enlightenment and the world is created

Why did Andrew love this book?

The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) is one of those characters that you loathe, but cannot help but find fascinating. By all standards, this deviant aristocrat was a gentleman in name only. Yet his remarkable life (32 years of it spent in prison) and amoral philosophizing provide the grist for a great biography under the pen of Gray. Readers will find many of de Sade’s horrific exploits here, yet this book also explores his relationship with the two most important women in his life: his beloved wife, who indulged him for decades, and his hated mother-in-law, whom he envisioned flaying alive before throwing her “into a vat of vinegar.” To a large degree, Marquis’s life and philosophy were an intentionally extreme version of the Enlightenment’s emancipation of the individual. A great window into the dark side of the Enlightenment.

By Francine Du Plessix Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Home With The Marquis De Sade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Age of Enlightenment, psychology, and fashion?

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