Love, Loss, and What I Wore
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Love, Loss, and What I Wore

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  606 ratings  ·  131 reviews
The author tells the story of her life through the clothes she wore - from her Brownie uniform to her Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress.
Hardcover, 139 pages
Published January 9th 1995 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
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This book makes me wish that I had a better fashion sense! This is the type of memoir that I can appreciate...a time capsule of a life based on what and when she wore outfits. Bravo!
Angie Klink
I met Ilene Beckerman at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop at the University of Dayton. Ilene is a striking older woman in a sparkling headscarf that complements her "diamond" nose jewel. Her gypsy countenance is hard to miss. It was after we struck up a friendly banter that I discovered she is the author of the subtly moving "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," which was made into an off-Broadway play by sisters Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. Ilene spoke at one of the workshop lunches, and her unders...more
I read this book while having my hair done, it was a great bridge between the book I had just finished reading (Cutting for Stone) and still wanted to think about, and the next one on my list. This is very short and very enjoyable. The author lets you have a peek at her life by recalling her outfits and where she wore them to. If she wrote a more detailed account of her life I would probably pick it up. It reminded me a lot of my mother's accounts of her life; she lived in a time like the author...more
Lisa P
A version of this book should be written by every woman. The concept is better than the finished prodict, though, as I wanted stories that were a little more fleshed out. I think the adaptation would probably a fantastic read. Not a great choice to read on an e-book.
Juan Velandia quijano
I seriously thought I wasn't going to like it, once I bought it because of the title and got the book, I thought it was silly. Reading it, I realized it's a different (And very fast) way to tell the story of the narrator's life (A short author's biography, maybe?) through dresses, looks and short memories. It was pretty easy to read, and short, and still you feel like you knew this woman and learned so much about her life, by reading about her dresses.

Original, fun, and sweet. A nice surprise.
Mar 16, 2012 Tess rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: essays
Can you really call this a book? I read it cover to cover during the commercial breaks of an hour-long tv show. Whatever you want to call it, I found Ilene Beckerman's quick stroll down memory lane to be refreshing. All major events in Beckerman's life - from dates to divorces - are tied to an outfit. While I was reading it, I realized I could match every significant memory in my life to what I was wearing at the time. I remember a special trip to Atlanta to pick out three outfits for my bat mit...more
I picked up this book on a whim from Amazon's December Kindle book sale because it sounded cute. And it was! It was very cute! It especially read well on my Kindle app on my 7" Android tablet.

It may read even better on a full-size tablet like an iPad, as it's got these adorable full-color illustrations depicting what the author wore all the way from when she was a child in the 40s (Brownie uniform, Easter dresses) through high school (fantastic prom dresses, and a party dress that may have gotte...more
On my first day of second grade, I wore a blue Annie-inspired dress my mother sewed for me. On the day I graduated high school, I wore, under my gown of course, a purple v-neck top and a pair of white (oh lord!) shorts. I could go on...
While this was not a book filled with prolific prose or revelatory passages, it did appeal to me. I could appreciate the way certain articles of clothing made the author feel (the black dress, the stockings) and how some items became significant ony because of wh...more
Shawn Bird
I thought this would be something a la "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants" or a "Shoe Addicts" book when I downloaded it. Imagine my surprise when I opened the file, and it was a more like a 24 page scrapbook. The drawings look like something done by the average 10-12 year old, and they exude a charming primativeness about them. (I wished my e-reader shows colour, because I'm sure they're better that way). With each drawing is a little explanation of the outfit, the occasion, and the friends. I...more
Erica Harmon
I really enjoyed reading this concise fashion memoir. The humor is wry, the prose sparse, and the illustrations evocative.

From page 68: "It was strapless, with rows of black velvet alternating with rows of blackk faille. It was very tight.
I almost got into trouble at that party. I think it was because of the dress."

pg. 84 "I don't remember the boy I went with or the prom, just the dress."

Near the end, Beckerman writes of her granddaughter, "I watch her face as she looks in the mirror and see...more
Feb 14, 2012 Bev rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: logos
I had a bit of time left over after the Berg book, so I read through this book that has been around for awhile. This is a book I cannot relate to AT ALL. Author Beckerman sketches and describes all the significant dresses she wore at various points in her life, from Brownie uniforms to wedding dresses, to things she bought after her divorce. Along with the outfits, we get a good, if sketchy, view of what life was a like for a girl who lost her mother too early, whose father left her upbringing t...more
Not the time to write a book review, but perhaps it's good for my sanity. My father-in-law is dying at this moment and I got into a panic attack deciding whether or not to go to LA for the funeral. Then, while packing, still unsure what to do, it suddenly dawned on me to wear only dresses while in LA. I said to Frank, "I just needed to figure out what to wear," and I immediately thought of this book, which I've never read but whose title has stayed with me. Love, Loss, and What I Wore. A dress f...more
I love the idea of pairing these simple sketches of clothing (did anyone else do these when they were young?) with scraps of information about real experiences in the clothes. Though it is a refreshing new way of presenting a life story, I cannot imagine a real person whose years consisted solely of lighthearted flirting, nocturnal romps, and special occasions. Where are the stained and steadfast pajamas? What about the outfits that served during hard work or inclement weather?
In this way, the...more
There doesn't seem to be much substance to this slight volume illustrated with cartoon drawings by the author of clothes worn and connected to her memories. I chose to read it in preparation for possibly directing a staged reading of the play.

However, since I grew up roughly paralleling the same time period, many of Ilene Beckerman's choices resonated with me and recalled outfits and memories of my own. For that reason alone, the book and its drawings were charming.

And when you stop to realize t...more
Jessica Ramspeck
The whole book had her story on the right and the items of clothing she wore for each big event in her life. It was really good to see a different setup in a book and it was really cute because sometimes she didn't remember the stuff that happened to her, but she remembered the dress. Another thing that I really liked about it is that her best friend didn't break her heart in the book ever. I disliked the fact that the guys kept leaving her and she was alone in the end. I also disliked the fact...more
I'd read about this book and was intrigued by the author's backstory (something about getting published kind of "accidentally") and by the fact that Nora Ephron and her sister based a play on it. So when I saw a perfect little copy at the library sale for 25 cents, I had to pick it up. It's charming and sweet, and there's something moving about the way the author purposely leaves out details about the "loss" part: she focuses on the details of the clothing, rather than on what happened to her mo...more
I got this recommendation from a sewing friend. I'm looking forward to reading it. While most men don't have a clue, many women DO understand how much we remember what we wore and when. How those clothes made us feel and how they enhanced or detracted from the experience. Eh, it's a girl thing.
I read this last Friday while sitting on my patio in the sun with a glass of wine. It was the perfect little book for this. Cute illustrations accompanied by a little story about what happened while wearin...more
Beverly Wiedemann
I believe my opinion is biased because I saw Ilene Beckerman speak about her books before I read this. She is an excellent speaker - funny and poignant. As for the book, it is almost as much a fashion history review as it is a memior. I enjoyed it very much, but I could see how it might be easy for a reader to miss some of the finer points and deeper emotions. It goes from talking about dresses and hair styles to decisions about ending a marriage quickly --but who hasn't been mulling over a deci...more
I read this book because I was in a memoir writing class last semester and this was one of the books my professor recommended. Sadly, I didn't find this book very entertaining. It was interesting seeing the different eras of dresses and clothes, but I felt like the drawings were a little lopsided and childish - I wanted a more professional feel. I also felt like the author didn't tell as much of a story as I would have liked, I wanted more details and more memories. I wouldn't recommend this boo...more
Jean Doolittle
What fun! And poignant too
I love the concept of an autobiography told through clothes, and I love the personal touch of the simple drawings of each outfit described, but this book has always seemed oddly dispassionate to me. Maybe it's because the perpetually sleepy facial expression in the drawings make the author look aloof, or maybe I'm just addicted to exclamation points. But I've read this book twice, once as a teenager and now as an adult, and both times I've felt like I wanted to love it more than I actually did....more
This is the type of book I would love to write and illustrate for myself. Not because I'm really into clothing and what I wore exactly, but because I enjoy following a thread though life. Ilene does a fabulous job of taking the reader through her life, outfit by outfit, in a concise and amusing way. You feel you get to know her, and just enough about her and the people in her life through their influences on what she wore and why. A unique and exquisitely simple take on an autobiography.
This was a delightful book--Beckerman tells her life story through the outfits she wore, starting in the 1940s and on up to the '90s with mimimalist text and very amateurish but somehow effective drawings of herself in those outfits. Fascinating!!! A real window into a past era, too. I am inspired to steal Beckerman's idea in its entirety and write (and draw) my own fashion memoir, starting perhaps with the psychedelic jumpsuit my mom made for me when I was about five. Keep on truckin'
Very short, fun, and light-hearted. To be honest, I was expecting more out of it from the title. I kept waiting for the author to go a little deeper, but she maintained a fairly removed stance in every description of the article of clothing and where/when she wore it. i suppose that perhaps the author's intention was to keep it sort of juvenile, but it really left me wanting more, both from her descriptions of the clothing, and her emotional attachments to them. - Natalie
This is a charming book. It is the memories of an older woman (born in the 30s)about what she wore (with line drawings) on different occasions in her life (to elementary school, to a dance, the day she saw her husband with another woman and decided to divorce him, etc) and where she got the outfit (her mother made it, her grandma bought it for her, she got it on sale at ....). It is quite charming and, since I love clothes, I found it interesting.
Jen Tucker
This little book of sketches gives readers a look at the clothes that have graced the closet of Ilene Beckerman over the years. While reading Ilene's reflections on her life and viewing her illustrations, it took me back in time to some of my favorite outfits and the moments that occurred while wearing them; some fashion dont's and some that brought smiles. A great gift for a girlfriend, or something sweet to add to your own library.
This is a memoir that Beckerman first wrote for her children with no intention of publishing.
At first, I was dismayed that the birth of six children and the death of one rated no more ink than a description of her first grade brownie uniform. But by the end I realized that I had learned a great deal about her life in very few words. Lots of clothes - no self-pity.
Truly unique, a good quick read.
The author recalls important moments in her life through clothes, accessories, and hairstyles as they belonged to her or some of her female friends and family. A combination of fashion and memoir akin to Madeleine Albright's Read My Pins, but on a smaller and simpler scale - short, with hand-drawn sketches, and more easy to relate to than the life of the former Secretary of State. 3.5 stars.
This is such a wonderful book for a book group. I can't wait to hear what others have to say about this. We are all supposed to bring a picture of ourselves in some special or favorite outfit.

I don't know what inspired Beckerman to write these spare comments about her life and her clothes, but it really was inspiration. She says so much with a small drawing and a paragraph or two.
This book is really more about the illustrations and the clothes than the story, which was brief but Beckerman's life was very eventful - there was a lot of ground to cover, a lot of different adventures! She manages to deal with poignant and fun things well through her various outfits.

Great for those interested in clothes and their ability to chart a life story.
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