How Big Is Your Wardrobe?

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

US photographer Yassine El Mansouri created a fascinating project about people and their clothing.  He invited people to bring into his studio the contents of their entire wardrobes, and to photograph them surrounded by their clothing.   For some photos, he had to use a multi-storey crane to get far enough away from the subject, lying on the floor surrounded by their clothing to capture them all.

Photography subject surrounded by all her clothes

Photography subject surrounded by all her clothes

The images are fascinating.  He invites people to put the clothing they wear the most (not necessarily those they love the most) closest to their bodies.  For some people, they are surrounded by what looks like acres of clothing.

As he talks about this photography study, he muses about clothing and style.  He states that, as much freedom as we have in what we wear in this day and age, “we all dress the same”.  His conclusion is that we are not taking up the opportunity to express ourselves in any real individual way, through our clothing choices.  I find that fascinating.

You can watch a short BBC piece about this photographic study here, or watch below:

What about me?

It got me to thinking about what a photograph with me surrounded by all my clothing might look like.  I still have a large wardrobe, even after only shopping it in for a year and them becoming more conscious in the shopping that I do (and by using 10 core principles for creating and curating a wonderful working wardrobe).

It would definitely take a crane to get high enough to see me surrounded by my clothes.

But what would it look like, an aerial shot of my wardrobe?  I reckon it would possibly look like a ginormous camouflage tarpaulin in a tropical garden, as there is so much of my signature style of animal print in it, and my signature colours are clear warm brights of turquoise, orange, yellow and green.

And I wonder what would it feel like, to be photographed in an aircraft hanger sized photographic studio, lying o the floor surrounded by all of my clothing?  It would certainly make it obvious the extent of my wardrobe – there’d be no denying the amount of items I own.

I wonder if I would feel mostly good, because I have made a conscious effort to create a truly working wardrobe, and to limit as much unconscious shopping and ‘incoming’ as I can? Or I wonder if there’d be any feelings of guilt or embarrassment, because it is still a large wardrobe, possibly larger than most and there’s bound to be some wastage as much as I’ve tried to minimise it?  Most likely, there’d be a mix of emotions, as I lay on the floor with the entire contents of my wardrobe surrounding me.

I can’t possibly know how I’d feel unless I was there in that moment, but it’s sure interesting to imagine!

And what about you?

What might an aerial photograph of you look like, with you in the centre surrounded by all of your clothing?  Can you imagine it?

And, as much as its possible to, what do you imagine you might feel like, lying on the floor surrounded by the entire contents of your wardrobe?

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    4 Responses to “How Big Is Your Wardrobe?”

    1. Rebecca says:

      Great post and video. I would love to see more of Mr. Mansouri’s photos. Yours would be incredible from what I have seen of your wardrobe both here and on Inside Out Style Blog. I totally agree that most of us rely on generic, plain and uncreative dress rather than expressing our creativity in that field.

      • Jill Chivers says:

        hi Rebecca – so glad you enjoyed the post and the video. It was such an interesting project, and I wish there were more photos available online (the exhibition is still on so I guess that’s why more photos aren’t publicly available yet). And yes, i’m sure a long/high shot would be required to see me and my wardrobe! I also found his comments about how blandly many (most?) of us dress to be intriguing, especially since he included himself in that assessment!

    2. Mary Ellen Eckels says:

      I love this post. My initial emotional response was one of curiosity and fun, but as I imagined posing with all of my clothes – as much as I, too, have tried to limit purchasing and minimizing the extent of my wardrobe – I still have a ton. My feeling through much of the video was one of overwhelm. This fall I am in the process of culling (again) my wardrobe, looking at the emotions and thinking behind holding onto clothes I don’t wear, duplicating and searching for ‘perfect’. Still elements in my thinking, even though I consciously am working on that. I do love clothes and conscious-shopping is great fun for me. I think I need to get better at the releasing 🙂

      • Jill Chivers says:

        thanks Mary Ellen, appreciate you reading and commenting! It’s interesting to imagine ourselves literally surrounded by our closets, isn’t it? Conjures up all kinds of feelings and thoughts, which can be illuminating!

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