Dresses in books are *good*


The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean
Joy! A book I stayed up too late reading, and for which I foresook all other books.
This thing is a delight.

(image credit: Library of Congress)
Previously, I’ve confessed my love of novels that feature vintage clothing.
So when I saw a review of this one, I was all Happy Girl. And when I was reading it, I was even Happier Girl.
The story is this: Dora returns to her North Carolina hometown when Mimi, her grandmother who raised her, has a stroke and is hospitalized. Mimi is the owner of a vintage clothing shop and, for years, has been amassing a wardrobe for her granddaughter that Dora herself has ignored. Until now.
As Dora takes over at the shop, she begins wearing the clothes her grandmother has selected for her, and her until-now-aimless life begins to acquire a new direction.
And she discovers that some of the dresses in the shop have a “secret life”—a perfect little mini short story that accompanies the dress. And even some of the dresses in Dora’s wardrobe have a secret life story written on a thin sheet of paper found in their pocket.
Plus, there’s a young guy named Con who is remodeling the apartment above the shop, and he is kind and helpful (and handsome, to boot).
This book feels like all the goodness that is found in Isabel Wolff’s A Vintage Affair, with a little bit of the magic of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.
Author Erin McKean blogs at A Dress a Day, which is completely fun to peruse. And the blog contains an archive of “Secret Lives of Dresses,” with a photo of each dress! Her own not-so-secret life involves lexicography, which makes the wonderful paragraph in which Dora lists Mimi’s least favorite words (including the dreaded “moist”) make perfect sense.
Read this book.

4 thoughts on “Dresses in books are *good*

  1. Meg

    Ooh, sounds wonderful! Anything vintage is all right by me. I have A Vintage Affair in my TBR and just might have to add this one, too!

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