ABSTRACT

As we saw in chapter one, Davis has pointed out that it has become something of a cliché to say that ‘the clothes we wear make a statement’ (Davis 1992: 3 and in Solomon 1985: 15). Most people are content with the idea that the clothes they wear, and the combinations they wear them in, have or can be given meaning of some sort. Most people will also be happy with the idea that they make choices concerning what to buy and wear on the basis of the meanings that they perceive garments to have. And many people are perfectly happy to let the meanings of other people’s clothes influence the way in which they behave towards those other people. It is probably a safe bet, however, that very few people spend much time wondering what sort of thing ‘meaning’ is, if it is a ‘thing’, where it might ‘come from’ and how they or anyone else manages to do anything so sophisticated as interpret it.