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The deceptive mirror: the dressed body beyond reflection.

Ruggerone, Lucia; Stauss, Renate


Lucia Ruggerone

Renate Stauss


This paper explores the role of the mirror in the act of getting dressed. It argues that in daily practices of dress/ing the predominance of the sense of sight in defining the experience of both dress and our self is materialized and enhanced by the omnipresence of an object: the mirror. Despite being mostly ignored in analyses of dressed body, the mirror performs a crucial role in defining both dress and the self in visual terms. By considering how the mirror is implicated in processes of subjectification, we analyze how this affects the relationship people have with clothes as signifiers of their selves. We maintain that in order to escape the gaze and its solidifying effect, we need to look away from the mirror and think of the body not as a subject, but as a fluid composition of forces. By drawing insights from phenomenology and then adhering to the Spinozian philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, we interrogate the body as something that affectively transforms in the encounter with clothes to then explore it as a site of becoming with and through clothes. It is our aim to offer an experimentation in thinking that might lead to different ways of experiencing our clothes in the everyday as well as of theorizing about their relationship with the human body and the wearers' (supposed) identity.


RUGGERONE, L. and STAUSS, R. 2022. The deceptive mirror: the dressed body beyond reflection. Fashion theory: the journal of dress body and culture [online], 26(2), pages 211-235. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2020
Online Publication Date May 29, 2020
Publication Date Mar 31, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 6, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2021
Journal Fashion Theory
Print ISSN 1362-704X
Electronic ISSN 1751-7419
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 211-235
Keywords Dress; Mirror; Body; Self: Affect
Public URL


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