Read the following text and summarise it in 50 words. Show your answers to someone. If you are in one of my classes, e-mail the diagram to me.
Outer and Inner Selves
The information or misinformation we want our clothes to convey about status, age, occupation, opinions, mood and sexual tastes may make it hard for us to decide what to wear. What often happens in such cases is that the outer layer represents the external or public person and the inner one his or her private self. When both layers are visible the message, though contradictory, is easy to read. The woman in the sensible grey wool suit and the frilly pink blouse is a serious, hard-working mouse with a frivolous and feminine soul. If, on the other hand, she wears a curvy pink silk dressmaker suit over a plain mouse-grey sweater, we suspect her of being privately preoccupied or depressed no matter how charming and social her manner.
Many combinations of outer and inner message are possible. A costume may be childish without and adult within, like the bright ruffled apron over the severe dark dress which informs guests that a serious career woman is only playing at cooking. It may be casual and countrified without and citified within, like the tan cord suit of the architect which is worn with a business shirt and tie to reassure his clients that their buildings will not run over the cost estimate or fall down. Or it may be high-status without and low-status within - as with the elegant Italian suit of the rock star, beneath which a T-shirt printed with the image of a sweating beer can assures his fans that he is still at heart a tough, oversexed, working-class kid.
Even when the styles of the inner and outer layer are the same, there may be a significant difference in colour. Someone whose visible underlayer of clothing is red, for instance, may be telling us of the heat and passion beneath his or her subdued exterior When a colour combination is already conventional, however, its meaning is conventional rather than personal. The wearing of a white shirt with a dark suit does not mean that you are outwardly serious and inwardly honest and trustworthy, merely that this character type has always been considered desirable in business and the professions. The reverse outfit - the gambler's white suit and dark shirt - suggests someone whose character and motives are somewhat shady, whatever the lightness and charm of his manner.
From The Language of Clothes by Alison Lune