“Some dresses are worn by only one person,
and so that’s the kind of person they like.”
-The Secret Lives of Dresses, Erin McKean
Does style make an imprint on us, or is it the other way around? Our featured book, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean, delves into that idea with charm and heart. Read the review, then find out how you could win a copy of this Book of the Month!
The plot is as clean and simple as a ’50s shirtdress. Dora was raised by her grandmother, Mimi, a vintage store owner. Although Dora juggles a barista job with plans of completing her bachelor’s degree early, she still fears that her nebulous future plans in academia will disappoint her hardworking grandmother.
Unfortunately, Mimi suffers a severe stroke, which also threatens the well-being of the store. Dora leaves school and her job indefinitely, expecting Mimi’s full recovery. Becoming more and more involved in the store upkeep, Dora eventually has to confront greedy relatives in order to preserve Mimi’s mission to keep vintage alive.
While Dora’s personality is hard to find at first, its light slowly brightens. Through a series of scenes and flashbacks, some humorous but others mundane, I gradually became attached to Dora as she gains confidence and conviction. Her eventual bravery is satisfying and encouraging. In a scene where she reveals an aunt’s nefarious plans to take over the vintage store, I cheered for Dora in my head.
I very much enjoyed McKean’s rich descriptions of beautiful clothing and the occasional vignette from a dress’s point of view. Unbeknown to Dora, Mimi had been writing “secret lives” for dresses in her shop. These stories serendipitously fall out of pockets, folded up like a paper wish. In these dress’ stories, Dora finds sweetness, intrigue, and even solace, as will the reader.
The author, Erin McKean, has a fondness for vintage. Aside from having an impressive list of lexicographer positions, including the CEO and co-founder of Wordnik, McKean is also the author of the blog Dress A Day. In it, McKean revives forgotten dress patterns and dotes over fab finds. After reading the novel, I highly recommend checking out more “Secret Lives of Dresses” on her blog. Along with the novel, they’re pieces that will surely inspire some creative writing and vintage shopping!
I encourage adding The Secret Lives of Dresses to your next dress order from us. It’s sure to enhance you, and your dress’s, style experience!
Sounds like something you’d like? See if you’ll be randomly chosen to win a copy of this book. Just leave us a comment below in response to the following discussion topic. Some things to remember:
- You have until Friday, February 25, 2011 to participate.
- Any comments left after Feb. 25 will not be counted into the giveaway.
- Only comments left on this blog post before the deadline will be counted.
- We will contact you via e-mail if you are a winner.
- For more information, please see our Contests & Comments page.
Discussion topic: Tell us your style story. Does your favorite outfit have a tale to tell?
Feel free to respond to your fellow ModLovers, too! Happy reading!