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3 Faces of Adam

Dear Kim,

Let's think about clothes some more.

I am interested to explore the idea of clothes and age.

Why are some clothes more appropriate for some ages than others?

(Kim: I've been thinking about how much we know about people that we see in public. How their body language, expressions, and clothes all depict who they are and what has been their experience of life. William James wrote that we know more about someone who passes us in the street than they know about themselves. Perhaps clothes are just a silent language, used for saying "this is who I am"?)

(Kim: Here in Venice Beach I've been watching people and noticing that so much of how they look has to do with their expression and body language. I've been curious about what do we really know from these glimpses. Is a picture really worth 1000 words. Do we know that much from a glimpse? I know that some "blink" studies seem to indicate as much.)

You have probably heard the expression, "Act your age." Well, that pertains to dressing as well. One is supposed to dress their age. But what does that mean?

(Kim: If all the world is a stage, then the director is absolutely a tyrant, with sometimes very little leeway for any variance. How much of our life is spent with fulfilling conventional expectations?)

(Kim: We not only dress to our age, but to our role in life, and our gender. We dress to indicate our availability. We dress to express our anger. Everything we do is such an expression of who we are, including the cars we drive and the food we eat. Killing and eating animals not only is violent toward the animal, but is usually both a misuse of resources and a detriment to our bodies.)

Why, when women get older, for example, are they then supposed to dress in boring colors like beige or grey? Is the idea that vitality—as connoted by color—is only the province of the young?

(Kim: It is always a shock to find out that old people make love. They are supposed to not be interested in that kind of thing. They are supposed to shake their head when the young wears revealing clothes or does suggestive dances.)

Maybe one needs color even more as they get older. Your eyesight diminishes.

So why don't you need purple? Or orange?

(Kim: We really are prisoners of convention—aren't we?)

Why did you decide to change the way you are dressing upon becoming the dean? You already had the job. Did you feel that you needed to dress differently to do the job well or to keep it?

(Kim: One of the other deans always dresses impeccably. I can never match him...but I think it is important to dress a step above most faculty. No one has said anything about my dress (other than Linda).)

What did your pre dean clothes look like?

(Kim: More old patterned shirts, old pants, sometimes jeans.)

Your current dean clothes?

(Kim: I have 5 pairs of black pants, and lots of plain shirts, many of them were my dads (who didn't what me to be a dean). I used to be known for my colored socks...now my socks are all black. "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul" (Bible)...Did I lose my soul when I "went to the other side"?)

Later,

Joan

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