My thesis will be a collection of personal essays and short fiction centered on examining the ties between fashion and identity and told through a Gothic literary tradition. I seek to explore my identity by examining my personal style using the mode of the Gothic. Through this project, I will encapsulate my sense of style, and therefore my sense of self, in words and explore the nuances of my identity through creative nonfiction and fiction.
I have a distinct sense of style that is inseparable from my identity as a woman, as an artist, as a human drawn to beauty and aesthetics. Style goes beyond a superficial recognition of beauty: style is when I recognize a garment’s connection to my definition of self and claim it as an object that expresses and embodies my identity by physically wearing the piece.
I have long been a collector of clothing, my closet a blend of vintage and thrifted pieces, my most treasured articles hand-me-downs from my grandmother and mother. These items are haunted by their past—stains and general wear, alterations for their previous wearer, and the influence of the time period in which they were made. When I start examining my interest in fashion, I’m left with questions that go deeper than superficialities of appearance: Why do I find this physical connection to the past so compelling? What does my sense of style reveal about my identity? How is fashion the intersection of aesthetics and social commentary, and what tensions does this create? As a woman, what is liberating about fashion—and what terrors does it inflict? My specific approach to this thesis is designed to delve into those multiplicities of meaning and illuminate personal answers to my questions.
Dr. Susan Finch
Howell, Macey, "Skeletons in My Closet: A Collection of Personal Essays and Short Fiction" (2020). Honors Theses. 37.