Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing
by Two Girls Working: Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki

BOOK REVIEWS


A Dress A Day, January 16, 2008
"Book Review: Trappings: Stories of Women, Power, and Clothing"

"The clothing (and makeup, and hair, and tattoos, and so forth) that the women interviewed talk about are all over the place: purple capes, red lipstick, cowboy hats, black bras, bellydancing costumes, and tribal dress. Ludwig and Piechocki seem to have done their best to get a good mix of ages, geographic distributions, socioeconomic classes, races, and (admirably) included transpeople, as well."


feministing.com, January 3, 2008
"Not Oprah's Book Club: Trappings" by Courtney E. Martin

"I've been following these Two Girls Working , as Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki call themselves, for awhile. They are just so damn interesting and original—think fraternal twin Miranda Julys with an overtly feminist bent. For years they've been traveling the country, having little parties (which they liken to community models like Mary Kay and Tupperware, but with 70s-style consciousness raising thrown in) and asking women one seemingly simple (but obviously complicated) question:
What do you wear that makes you feel powerful?"

"There is really something for every reader here. The variability of the women creates this beautiful tapestry of contemporary womanhood—sometimes very traditional, sometimes bending gender entirely, sometimes clearly influenced by markets and media, sometimes seeming to sprout from an organic, familial place.

And the best thing is that it gets you really thinking about what is in your own closets, your own spilling to capacity drawers, your own shoe nests under the bed."


Inside Higher Ed, December 31, 2007
"God, Fashion, Affect" by Scott Jaschik

"Of course, in this era when more people quote Heidi Klum than Hans Küng, material culture remained quite visible in the exhibit hall. Rutgers University Press is especially excited about Trappings: Stories of Women, Power, and Clothing, by Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki. The book is based on the authors' interviews with more than 500 women and girls (ages 4-92), and features scores of photographs."


Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007
“What do you wear that makes you feel powerful?” Artists Ludwig and Piechocki posed this question to women of all ages and backgrounds and gathered their responses for this unique celebration of womanhood. Each woman's story, accompanied by one or more photographs, presents an intriguing portrait of both inner and outer strength; one example is a glamorous-looking Oxford , Miss. woman training for the pro-boxing circuit, who confides, “I'm overcompensating. I buy the flowered-y dresses for a reason.” The expected power suits and uniforms are represented, but accessories prove more popular; a Santa Fe “risk-taker” and former Playboy bunny always carries her passport, while a Nashville woman uses her grandmother's pearls as “armor” during a nerve-wracking party. Many testimonies cover life journeys and important events, forming short but satisfying narratives (some of which are deepened by multiple interviews over time). Of course, many Dumbo-esque lessons ensue (“I always had that power in me… [and] I got a lot of it now”), but they hardly diminish the fun of reading and sharing these revealing, funny and entirely identifiable stories. 108 color and 40 b/w photos. (Nov.)


Midwest Book Review, December 2007
While the phrase 'dress for success' usually refers to selecting garments appropriate for a business setting, "Trappings: Stories Of Women, Power And Clothing" by Tiffany Ludwig (artist and media consultant) in collaboration with Renee Piechocki (artist and art consultant) expands that concept as it specifically applies to women in all circumstances both commercial, social, governmental, and cultural. "Trappings" is the cumulation of a project that included some six years of interviews and conversations with more than five hundred women and girls (ranging in age from four to ninety-two) about what they wore and why. The women ranged from office workers to drag-kings, stay-at-home moms to attorneys, fashion industry executives to elected officials, and students to cowgirls. The purposes of clothing selection are as diverse as establishing identity and power. The factors affecting fashion choice include gender, culture, race, class, age, profession, comfort and practicality, cost and creativity. Enhanced with the inclusion of 148 color and B/W photographs, "Trappings" is as an informed and informative read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking.