From The London Review of Books, an essay by Rosemary Hill about “frock consciousness” in Virginia Woolf. I think the essay really wants to be a book, as it’s a little rambling, but it’s a fun (scholarly) read:
The correct answer today is that we dress for ourselves, but that isn’t quite true either. We dress to say something about ourselves and the question is: to whom are the remarks addressed? […] The effect on other people is…one end of an arc, the point where it comes to earth in the outside world. The other end, the spring of the vault, is in the interior world of the wearer and it is somewhere between the two that frock consciousness happens.
There’s even a quote from Virginia, which is pretty much how I feel planning sewing projects or ordering something online:
‘Happiness is to have a little string onto which things will attach themselves. For example, going to my dressmaker in Judd Street, or rather thinking of a dress I could get her to make, & imagining it made – that is the string, which as if dipped loosely into a wave of treasure brings up pearls sticking to it.’