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My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes
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My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A glorious meditation on why clothes matter.

Beginning with the story of her mother's wedding dress, a perfect black French cocktail dress bought in 1960, writer and former Vogue editor Justine Picardie affirms what all of us may have suspected: that the real value of our wardrobes lies in the history and associations woven into our clothes. Combining tales of her own famil
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Bloomsbury USA
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Louise
A disappointing and uninteresting read. Although Picardie attempts to embellish us with recollections of clothing and the meaning of that clothing in her life, it stops short of the mark.

I found the whole novel rather boring and mundane. However, given the inside look at the fashion industry and Picardie's somewhat funny and quirky lists such as: "Cocking a Snook" and "How To Wear Red Lipstick"; I would recommend this novel for person's of the higher fashion industry who can appreciate the histo
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Christy S
The subtitle of this book drew me to it immediately: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes. Luckily I was looking through book titles in a list, not covers in a book store, because its pastel pink and blue looks like boring Chick Lit, and the fashion illustration is not one I find alluring–something is off in the pose of the woman, and you can’t see any detail on the dress. I learned my lesson not to read a book by its cover with Linda Grant’s
The Thoughtful Dresser (a simple mannequin in a paper dre
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WORN Fashion Journal
My mother’s wedding dress, the one she wore when she married my father, hangs in my closet, It is a creamy yellow-white, off the shoulders with a friendly young lace around the arms. It’s almost as though it was made for a sweet sixteen or southern cotillion, some tradition naïve and long since frown out of. I’m not sure what to do with my mother’s wedding dress, or with Justine Picardie’s book of the same name. Both share a dilemma that makes it difficult to determine whether they’re treasures ...more
Jenni
An intriguing concept with an uneven execution. Of course, many women feel that certain items of clothing have more importance than others, and Picardie's investigation into the meanings wrapped up within these items is certainly worthy. However, it's difficult to feel that she didn't have quite enough stories to really flesh this volume out, and as a result some sections are much stronger than others. Nevertheless an enjoyable look through the portable psychology of one woman's life.
Felicity Ford
This was a great book to read. It is a very accessible account of the myths surrounding - and the potency of - what we wear. Personal narrative blends into something more journalistic, and the sense of the author's own passion for the subject keeps the book captivating throughout.

Justine Picardie draws from her experience working at Vogue, her knowledge of Victorian literature and her personal memories of clothes, to weave together an engaging and thought-provoking read. Covering everything from
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Pam
This was an interesting and unique memoir on clothes, their history and value (non-monetary) to the person who currently owns/wears it, presented with personal stories and family history. I didn't like how some chapters had extensive summaries on other books & movies in which the plots were recapped in order for the author to make a point about the clothes/fabric/shoes (this bored me). Other chapters went in depth on her family history, insomuch that I would forget the point or the connectio ...more
Catherine
An oddly bitty book. I enjoyed some individual sections and end-of-chapter lists, but found paragraph-long parentheses rather wearing. I know I speak like that - and would write like it given the chance - so that is probably just a case of hating my own fault when I see it in another. The part that will stick in my mind is Erin O'Connor's story of catwalk torture rather than any of the never quite resolved explorations of family history inspired by an item of clothing or jewellery, or the descri ...more
Stephanie
Aug 22, 2010 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Project Runway watchers, memoir readers, busy people
I have read another short story book by Justine Picardie, a compilation called Truth or Dare; this book caught my eye due to her name and captured my interest. Definitely worth reading if you're interested in fashion or memoirs, as this is also a story of family history. If you pay attention to clothes, they can meaningfully affect you; Picardie captures her emotions and ties them to a lost-and-found list of clothes, with almost jealousy-enducing success.

Not my FAVORITE book, but well worth the
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Melee
3.5 stars.
Though the cover and title makes this look like chick-lit, it's actually a memoir of sorts; poignant, beautiful musings on how objects (clothes, mainly) anchor us to our pasts and the pasts of our ancestors, and also an exploration of the significance of certain clothing and accessories of literature and of their authors too.
As in most nonfiction books where each chapter is essentially an essay, there were some parts I loved and others that didn't excite me as much. Overall a most wort
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Jessica
This is a beautiful book written by a fashion editor from British Vogue. I picked it up while I was in London last year, thinking that it was going to be a light read about the fabulous clothes she wore, but boy was i wrong. It turned out to be about a woman's journey through life and relationships with the clothes in her closet triggering the memories and the adventures. This is a collection of essays, and each one ranges from sentimental to a ghost story. Don't get me wrong, The clothes she de ...more
Valerie
I was reading this book for research, and really enjoyed it. I didn't like the author's personal life story as much as I loved her talking about clothing in literature, but it was a very interesting read, and exactly the kind of book I was looking for.

Picardie worked as a journalist for Vogue, so she was a fashion insider, but she also had an interesting family history that often related to clothing. Although to someone who cares about clothes, anyone's family history relates to clothes.
Melissa
It's more than just a memior of the fashion that shapes Picardie's memories, it's about fashion in literature and its place in identity. The rich detail of the people and clothing allows characters to leap off the pages, where you can smell the Chanel and hear the rustling of silk.

Bella's Sweater is probably one of my favorite chapters in the book. Kudos to the rules listed therein.

It loses a star for some of the lengthier, more boring passages.
Linda Hali
Lovely read- if you like family, clothes, literature, memoir...all tied together and beautifully written. She really knows both her fashion and her literature - and how memories can be hinged to clothes-object , much like food or sense of place, maybe more so.
Jodie
Growing up I wanted to be a fashion designer, I spent hours designing dresses and outfits. My favorite thing to design idea wise was a wedding dress.
This was a cool journey through clothes. I could have enjoyed it more, it dragged in spots, but I liked it.
Ashley
Part ruminations on clothes she/her mother/her sister used to own, part random stories, and part literary critiques, this was a random mishmash to me. It spoiled a lot of books I haven't read and flowed really awkwardly. Not a fan.
Jodie
I picked this one up because it sounded interesting. I have always had a fascination with the fashion industry and I thought that the idea of why clothes are so important to us and memory. I really enjoyed this one.
Megan
It was a really interesting book about clothing... I think you'll enjoy it if you enjoy clothes. Only one part is about a wedding dress... it's more comments in general on the meaning of clothing.
Michele
You don't need to be clothes or Vogue obsessed to enjoy this book. As a self confessed non shopper I took great pleasure from reading the memories and histories various items of clothing evoked.
Maariyah
It's just generally very enticing. It's feminine without being profusely girly or whatever, and it has strong family roots as well as amazing dresses =)
Anouska
The 'Ghost Dresses' chapter actually made me cry!
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