Richard Thompson Ford is a Professor at Stanford Law School. He has written about law, social and cultural issues and race relations for The New York Times, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Slate, and has appeared on The Colbert Report and The Rachel Maddow Show. He is the author of the New York Times notable books The Race Card and Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality. He lives in San Francisco.
We all abide by dress codes, whether required to do so or not. The author's discussion embraces a vast body of knowledge, from what might be called fashion anthropology to a philosophy of sartorial splendor, and he's an assured, genial narrator. He has an acute eye for detail, too...For the clotheshorse and the jeans-clad alike, a lucid, entertaining exploration of how and why we dress as we do. -- Kirkus (Starred) An intriguing history of formal and informal rules governing what people wear.... [Ford] makes a convincing case that dress codes reveal much about the social order and the pursuit of individual liberty. This jam-packed history casts its subject in a new light. -- Publishers Weekly I think that Dress Codes is long overdue. Clothing is at the heart of culture, indeed it is almost a definition of what we mean by the term culture, a constructed but ever changing expression of social relationships, beliefs and ideologies. We should all, as Richard Thompson Ford does so magnificently within this book, be taking fashion much more seriously. --Ruth Goodman, author of How to be a Victorian and The Domestic Revolution Dress Codes explores how for centuries fashion has marked a pathway for personal liberation and social critique even when it sought to reinforce class, race, and gender hierarchies. From nuns' habits to flappers' fringe to burkinis and hijabs, from Joan of Arc's armor to Martin Luther King's Sunday best, Richard Thompson Ford reveals a history of individual imagination capable of outwitting and recasting even the strictest rules. Ford's writing is sharp, witty, and brilliant, with the elegance and craft of a bespoke suit. --Daniel Sharfstein, Professor at Vanderbilt University and author of Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War