Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox - review by Lucy Lethbridge

Lucy Lethbridge

Off the Cuff

Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes


Bloomsbury 288pp £7.99 order from our bookshop

As the senior curator of fashion at the V&A, Claire Wilcox knows more than most about the feel of fabric and buttons, the hang, cut, history and context of clothing. She understands that what we wear is more than just what we wear: it’s an expression of something deep about what we are, our personal and cultural histories, and how we see ourselves. No wonder most people give so much thought (even when they think they don’t) to what they put on in the morning. Some dress simply to impress; others have more complicated messages to impart. Even a nun’s habit conveys meaning: like Steve Jobs’s black polo-neck uniform, it makes a statement that the wearer is not allowing decisions about clothing to get in the way of more important work.

Wilcox’s memoir consists of a series of brief and seemingly random reflections on her life: on her parents, her childhood in London in the 1960s, her gap year, her early work as a life model, her time at university, her love life, her children and – most interesting of all

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Art of Darkness

Cambridge, Shakespeare

Follow Literary Review on Twitter