Why is dress so much more than draping ourselves with the nearest piece of material we can ﬁnd? And why does being dressed change us into creatures that seem so separate from the rest of nature? Being Prepared explores several ways these transformations take place and what their signiﬁcance might be for our sense of being human. From Superman’s costume to the hats of Edwardian women. From the role ornament plays in dress to the furs worn by Stone Age people are just some of the forms of dress explored in Being Prepared.
“Carter’s arguments in this stimulating book, illuminated by references to art and dress history, literature and philosophy, can be unsettling: in adorning ourselves, are we clearing away something that is obscuring our ideal condition, or are we transforming a fundamentally chaotic entity into formal perfection? With its mixture of erudition and wit, Being Prepared is a rare and hugely enjoyable treat.”
—Clair Hughes author of Dressed in Fiction
“Being Prepared is overﬂowing with discussions rich in a wide sweep of intellectual and literary sources, including Freud, Simmel, Carlyle and Marcuse (on how we transform ourselves into immaterial states via dress and then how it can all come apart in an unravelling, both physical and conceptual). Carter remains one of the most sophisticated, witty and original writers on fashion, dress and clothing.”
—Toby Slade, author of Japanese Fashion: a Cultural History, University of Tokyo
“Michael Carter’s book Being Prepared: Aspects of Dress and Dressing is concerned ultimately with origins, in relation to both dress and clothing. In essence, Carter proposes a model for the origin of dress which challenges the whole notion of function as the purpose of dress. Clothing is subsumed within the same process, whereby function becomes secondary because appearance takes precedence.”
IAN GILLIGAN, Fashion Theory, the Journal of Dress, Body and Culture