That Was My Veil: Sartorial and Cosmetic Constructions of Resilience in Divorced Women

A research exploration of fashion and resilience by MA Fashion Studies graduate Kim Jenkins

Research Inspiration: Else Skjold

So I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that just about everything I admire about the emerging field of Fashion Studies is nestled in Scandinavia. Case in point: The research of Else Skjold. For several years, I’ve been curious about the wardrobe strategies of human beings, and the experiences in life which make us dress the way we do. Having a background in cultural anthropology with observational tendencies that seem to bubble up with everything I do here at Parsons, it’s no surprise that I fell in love with the academic work being put out by Danish(?) scholar Else Skjold.

Wallowing around tonight in a writer’s block, a research funk and a brief existential crisis of wondering “what the hell am I doing?” “what do I love to write about?” and “is there any meaning in this world for what I do?”,  I stumbled upon the website for The Danish Centre for Design Research, and fell into Elsa’s academic profile. I immediately felt at ease that what I am researching is not useless or superficial- that there is true purpose and meaning (a mantra I deeply value).

Else’s work “constitutes a new, innovative method in fashion research that combines ethnological user studies with overarching issues of cultural theory”, with her research revolving around the wardrobe decisions of BØrneVoksen, or what we in the U.S. consider to be men trapped in an adolescent adult stage in their lives (a walking Judd Apatow film). So I definitely can work this divorced lady thing.

It’s comforting to see someone else on the opposite side of the globe just as geeked out as I am about why people wear what they wear (expressed through what we call “wardrobe ethnographies“), and applying an actual science to it.

I think I can begin writing and researching with confidence once again!


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