How would you look like, wearing my cloths? How would I look like wearing yours?
There is a saying popularly known and repeated in Italy: the clothing doesn’t make the monk. The meaning is similar to the English idiom “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. Is it really true? So why do brides dress up as white meringues, kings wear crowns and police uniforms? I think that clothing is an important part of our personality, but it is not just that. What we wear determines the role we want to have in society. It’s a message we give. A strong one.
In the years I served as recruiter at my previous University, I had collected a very personal statistics: no male candidate has ever been offered a job, if he was not wearing a tie during the interview. It is a good lesson. Lady Gaga and Pope Benedict XVI understood it quite well, and they never show up without their theatrical costumes.
Also gender roles in societies are strongly related to the way people dress up. In Sweden, men usually wear cloths that would be considered feminine by other Europeans. Japanese women are always cute and dollish. And Hilary Clinton tend to be masculine in her attire, a demonstration that she still consider her job to be a male job.
However, women are more versatile than men. Females tend not to be uncomfortable in male cloths, whereas males seems to be out of place in most of the cases.
Switcheroo is a photographic project by Vancouver based artist Hana Pesut. This work is an ironic investigation of clothing, gender and stereotypes. Couples are photographed with their own cloths. Then they switch attires. The results are sometimes surprising. Hana Pesut’s work is here: http://sincerelyhana.com/projects/switcheroo/
I have also read that — if you pass by Vancouver — it is possible to participate in the project. Just write to Hana. (If you do it, let me know! I would love to see the picture!)