Dress Code: Drawing my own clothes.


Since April 2013 I have been making a drawing of what I wear each day. The drawings respond to much more than my clothing, varying widely in their approach and media. From April 2016 to April 2017 I produced an animation. I have subsequently focused on monthly projects: A quilt in May 2017, a set of Polaroids in June 2018, a bi-fold book in September 2018, a tablecloth that I embroidered on my pilgrimage around the Japanese island of Shikoku in October and November 2019.

Given my fascination with clothes, I have also started to record here some of the great writing on this subject. DCMar16017

Julian Barbour (Physicist)

“Unlike the Emperor dressed in nothing, time is nothing dressed in clothes”

Quoted by Michael Brooks in ‘At the Edge of Uncertainty’.


Eileen Miles

“What I started to understand by the way my mother said Ship ‘n Shore, the way she also said “Evan Picone” reading the label of the black pants Aunt Florence had given me one year for Christmas, was the way that these same names turned up in Seventeen magazine and Mademoiselle was no coincidence.”

In Chelsea Girls, Miles uses descriptions of clothes a lot to evoke and comment on a specific period of time.


Thomas Carlisle

‘The first purpose of clothes, as our professor imagines, was not warmth or decency, but ornament. … the pains of Hunger and Revenge once satisfied, his next care was not Comfort but Decoration. Warmth he found in the toils of the chase; or amid dried leaves, in his hollow tree, in his bark shed, or natural grotto: but for Decoration he must have Clothes’

“The gladder am I, on the other hand, to do reverence to those Shells and outer Husks of the Body, wherein no devilish passion any longer lodges, but only the pure emblem and effigies of Man: I mean, to Empty, or even to Cast Clothes. Nay, is it not to Clothes that most men do reverence: to the fine frogged broadcloth, nowise to the ‘straddling animal with bandy legs’ which it holds, and makes a Dignitary of? Who ever saw any Lord my-lorded in tattered blanket fastened with wooden skewer? Nevertheless, I say, there is in such worship a shade of hypocrisy, a practical deception: for how often does the Body appropriate what was meant for the Cloth only!”

Sartor Resartus

Dress Code 6

Ernest Hemingway

‘You can either buy clothes or buy pictures,’ she said. ‘It’s that simple. No one who is not very rich can do both. Pay no attention to your clothes and no attention at all to the mode, and buy your clothes for comfort and durability, and you will have clothes money to buy pictures.’

(quoting Gertrude Stein in A Moveable Feast)


For my thoughts on these projects see my paper for Drawing International Brisbane 2015

Dress and Death: Metaphors for Daily Drawing

Other great and relevant sites are

Barbara Campbell’s 1001 nights cast

Follow leoniebarton on Instagram

Junko Oki textile artist

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