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Friday 12 November 2010

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses

I got this book in the post just before I went on a weekend break, which was nice, although what was even nicer is that it was wrapped in the palest pink tissue paper, the colour of piglets and shells and girlish thoughts. That's the message of The Secret Lives of Dresses - that window dressing matters, especially when the window you're dressing is speckled with rain.

When her beloved grandmother Mimi has a stroke, capable student Dora returns to her home town to care for both Mimi and Mimi's vintage clothing shop. Vintage clothes are Mimi's passion but they don't feel right on Dora: she can't bring herself to carry off a 50's seersucker dress.

As the author of A Dress A Day, Erin McKean conjures up the most beautiful descriptions of clothes, including a cherry pie print blouse that sent me straight to eBay. In Mimi's shop, Dora discovers that each item comes with a story, and these were absolutely beautiful. The dress that is only for dancing, the dress that is for a very particular meeting...

Although certain elements of the plot were a little predictable for me, The Secret Lives of Dresses is a heart-warming and lovely book that would make a great Christmas present for any vintage lover.


  1. Sounds perfect for snuggling under a blanket with on these long dark nights. Hot chocolate at hand of course. I love "...window dressing matters, especially when the window you're dressing is speckled with rain." I think that may become my new life motto. :)x

  2. Yes, each and every self-respecting vintage dress enthusiast should really get hold of a copy. And I'd urge anyone who hasn't discovered Erin's blog yet to sashay right on over there; Erin makes a wry, intelligent, no-nonsense-yet-warm blogger - a delight to read (almost) every day.


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