Monday, September 5, 2011

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary. Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit. While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop? When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?

My verdict: 4 stars
A granddaughter rushes to the side of her dying grandmother and subsequently finds her passion in life: vintage. A little love story, a little coming-of-age, a little family conflict and a whole lot of wonderful vintage clothing. Highly recommended!

Now that I've posted my review, let me say that I have looked online at vintage clothing already. I have priced crinoline slips. I am planning a trip to my local thrift shops (first stop here because I think they will be less expensive) and then to my local vintage shops (second stop here because there aren't that many of them and they will be pricier).

Also, shoes are important! I think I probably have what I need in this category, but I will (of course) reevaluate.

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