I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dress for Success

My coworker Erica, who has an MBA, just lent me her copy of Dress for Success. It's not necessarily a book I would have picked up on my own, I think I probably mentally placed it in a class with Color Me Beautiful or other such beauty advice. However, Erica's selling point to me was that Molloy did a lot of surveys and observations of the interactions (read success) women had depending on what they were wearing--very anthropological. I started reading it last night, and I think I will enjoy looking at it through that perspective. Of course that also makes me wonder how well his particular principals of dress apply in other countries and other cultures.

It is also interesting to me how often my colleagues who are not social scientists are the ones who remind me to look at my own world through the anthropological lens. When my son was born, an engineer I work with noted what a great experience it would be for me as an anthropologist to be able to watch him develop and how it would give me insight that perhaps he didn't have when his own children were small. It's funny how despite the fact that my vocation is observation and insight, it is easy to forget to sometimes take that outsider's view of my own life.

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