The art of objects – this time clothes

I am interested in the way that the objects we own reflect something about ourselves. In the past, I’ve asked people to send photographs of their bedside tables and mantlepieces. I’ve been impressed by how keen friends have been to do this for me and allow me to pass judgement on their belongings. It shows a willingness to share and perhaps a pride about illustrating through things something about the self.

I find this idea of subjective objects very interesting because I think that the things that we choose to have around us or on display for others are chosen very carefully, on some level, to distinguish ourselves from others (whether it be the true self or not is a matter of interest in itself).

I believe that as well as our objects, our clothes can say something about who we are. I know that mine definitely do. So reading about this article today got me thinking once again about this topic. The article is about a project conducted by US photographer Yassine El Mansouri in which he asked people to lay out the contents of their wardrobes and pose with them. He asked people to put the clothes they wear the most closest to the centre and those they wear the least on the periphery.

Observation 001 in progress

Observation 001 in progress

Yassine says that this project, called project Observation 001, is about documenting who we are at this point in time. It’s also about showing how similarly people dress despite how much freedom of expression we have. I am sure that the amount of expression of themselves people put into their clothes varies. Perhaps some people don’t feel the need to put themselves into their choice of objects or clothes and feel comfortable enough in their own personalities not to need to.

So I decided to select some items from my wardrobe and take a photograph. Obviously I haven’t got the space or equipment to lay out everything out. I just chose a micro selection of what I wear.

My clothes (I am supposed to be in the middle but I can't take a photo of myself)

My clothes (I am supposed to be in the middle but I can’t take a photo of myself)

What does this little selection say about me? Perhaps I’m a little eccentric in my way of dressing. I like pinks and purples. I wear lots of skirts and funny hats. I wonder what an outsider would say about the person who owns these clothes? I believe that I do feel the need to express my personality in my clothes, so does that show an insecurity?

I also asked my son to make a selection of his clothes and pose in the middle.

He's a starfish who likes red and green

He’s a starfish who likes red and green

He loved doing this. I left him to choose his clothes himself and he picked a few football shirts and t-shirts (interestingly he didn’t pick any trousers or night clothes). I think this selection tells me that he likes his clothes and doesn’t only wear sporty clothes. He likes to be colourful. He’s not very outdoorsy, but he does like football.

I wonder if I can encourage some of my friends to do the same with their clothes?


Barr, F. ‘What the clothes in your wardrobe say about you’, 16 September 2014, BBC News website. Available from: [last accessed 17 September 2014]

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply