Dressing Down Dressing Up--The Philosophic Fear of Fashion

Karen Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


There is, to all appearances, a philosophic hostility to fashionable dress. Studying this contempt, this paper examines likely sources in philosophy’s suspicion of change; anxiety about surfaces and the inessential; failures in the face of death; and the philosophic disdain for, denial of, the human body and human passivity. If there are feminist concerns about fashion, they should be radically different from those of traditional philosophy. Whatever our ineluctable worries about desire and death, whatever our appropriate anger and impatience with the merely superficial, whatever our genuine need to mark off the serious from the trivial, feminism may be a corrective therapy for philosophy’s bad humor and self-deception, as these manifest themselves when the subject turns to beautiful clothes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1990


  • Philosophy
  • Aesthetics
  • Fashion
  • Feminist philosophy
  • Clothing and dress

Civios Subjects

  • Gender


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