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Title: Treasured garments : exploring value in the wardrobe
Author: Wood, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 9346 9827
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis aimed to determine how garments become treasured: the nature of those garments, and the process by which they achieve and retain their status, viewed within the spectrum of ways of valuing clothing. By privileging the wearer’s view of garments this thesis reveals a depth of emotional attachment to clothing via its material and sensory experience that impact subsequent valuing. This thesis contributes to the importance of fashion studies, through exploring the multiple and overlapping reasons why we wear and keep garments. The methodology expands the focus of wardrobe studies by concentrating attention on single garments in relation to the wardrobe. Wardrobe interviews were combined with garment analysis to deeply investigate particular garments, then used to open up attitudes to the rest of the wardrobe. A sample of five women and five men aged between 21 – 44, living in close proximity within a London neighbourhood were recruited based on location. Acknowledging the small sample, this study aimed for depth of understanding rather than generalisability. The evidence was analysed thematically under the dominant themes of acquisition, materiality, emotion, narrative and value. The importance of attachment clothing in life transitions, and in preserving intergenerational family connections is identified, as is the role of materiality in emotional connections manifest in practices of wear, care, alteration and repair. Treasuring was found to be a process of increasing singularization understood in terms of uniqueness and irreplaceability. The findings were situated within a growing body of wardrobe studies and studies of special possessions, framed by theories of exchange and value. New categories of intergenerational clothing connections are put forward such as ‘requested’ and ‘taken’ in which the receiver is the active party in clothing movement. It also offers the male perspective on attachment clothing. This research recommends expanding the term ‘investment value’ to include elements of the personal economy and rejecting ideas of nostalgic or sentimental relations, to see treasured garments as symbolically dense. A dichotomy between worn and unworn attachment clothing was identified in the literature. In this study, the majority of the garments that were treasured were also worn, creating a dilemma between wearing and wearing out. ‘Conscious wearing’ is proposed to describe how the participants rationed the use of a garment in order to preserve its lifespan and extend their enjoyment of wearing. ‘Emotional comforting’ is suggested as an expansion of the ways in which clothes can provide comfort and be described as comfortable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available