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Revealing myself: A phenomenological approach to my underwear choices through the years

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In this article I apply a phenomenological approach to discuss my personal lived experience and creative authorship in selecting my underwear, thus, explaining the meanings created by my interaction with my underwear and how this clothing object has been shaped by my cultural context, socio-economic factors and my relation to my own body and sexuality. Underwear can be directly linked to questions of identity and a person’s location within a social context. Since identity can be read as imbedded in social relations and situations, it can be assumed that underwear is a dynamic tool in the construction of multiple identities. Underwear advertising openly showcases men’s bodies indicating that there is a strong connection between the role underwear plays in the private and public self. Whether underwear is revealed or not to others at some point of the day, the undergarment choices we make help create identity as performance both in private and public. The article discusses how underwear is essential in the performance of our self and social image and related to aspects of masculinity, sexuality and other scripts of cultural conventions.

Keywords: cultural capital; fashion; identity; masculinity; phenomenology; underwear

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Georgia

Publication date: March 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Critical Studies in Men's Fashion examines the multi-faceted dimensions of men's appearance. It uses the holistic definition of dress as a means of examining the tangible and intangible aspects of creating and maintaining appearance. This journal is the first to exclusively focus on men's dress and topics of gender, identity, sexuality, culture, marketing and business will be discussed. Men's dress and fashion have been side-lined in scholarship, and this journal provides a dedicated space for the discussion, analysis, and theoretical development of men's appearance from multiple disciplines. All articles are blind-peer reviewed in order to maintain the highest standards of scholastic integrity. Theoretical and empirical scholarship in the form of original articles, manuscripts, research reports, pedagogy, and media reviews are welcome.
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