Escaping the Everyday? Women's Clothing on Holiday

Banim, Maura; Guy, Ali and Gillen, Kate (2002). Escaping the Everyday? Women's Clothing on Holiday. Everyday Cultures Working Papers 6; Pavis Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes.


Going abroad on holiday is now a common experience for people in the UK with nearly 39 million such visits being made in 1997 (GSS). Whether holidays represent a real escape from everyday routines or merely the illusion of escape is hotly contested in the wide-ranging academic literature on this topic. The authors of this paper draw on previous and new research to argue that holidays do represent a ʻnon-everydayʼ experience but one which can only be understood by seeing it in the context of the ʻchained activitiesʼ of everyday life. Further, to understand the ʻnon-everydayʼ experience, we need to develop a more complex, dynamic and fluid definition of the 'everyday'.

The authors carried out research with 20 women as they packed to go abroad on holiday and explored with them their aspirations for their holidays and found that they hoped their choice of holiday clothes would help them realise their ʻholiday selfʼ. It became evident that holiday time is perceived as distinct and different from the normal routines of everyday life. However, the boundaries between everyday and non-everyday are fuzzy with each having the capacity to inform and potentially transform the other.

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