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Love, Loss, and What I Wore

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  919 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
Ilene "Gingy" Beckerman's beloved and bestselling book has been adapted for the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron. The star-studded Off-Broadway show is receiving rave reviews, as did the book:

“Illuminates the experience of an entire generation of women. . . . This small gem of a book is worthy of a Tiffany box.” — The New York Times Book Review

“A memoir every reader will w
Hardcover, 139 pages
Published January 9th 1995 by Algonquin Books
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(showing 1-30 of 1,727)
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Dec 31, 2012 deejah rated it really liked it
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
Apr 28, 2012 Angie Klink rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 10, 2011 Lisette rated it really liked it
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
Marilyn Ostermiller
Jun 12, 2016 Marilyn Ostermiller rated it really liked it
Fashion always has been part of my life. As a teenager I sketched clothes styles and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer for real. Once at the Sarpy County Fair I won a ribbon for a red suit I made. At the University of Nebraska I learned how to make a muslin pattern so I could make my own designs that would fit me perfectly. For a brief stint at the Omaha World-Herald, I was the fashion editor, a job that consisted of reporting on the trends. Throughout my life, my special clothes, whether h ...more
Jean Carlton
Jun 10, 2014 Jean Carlton rated it did not like it
Certainly a unique format for telling a story this book is easily read in one sitting. Tying specific items of clothing (or shoes, nail polish, perfume) to pivotal or ordinary events in her life it was a sort of nostalgia trip and did make me think of certain memorable clothing from my past but the author was born a decade before me and obviously lived a very different life than I so I didn't totally relate. She wore many ball gowns and party dresses and liberally name dropped designer garments. ...more
Lisa P
Jun 20, 2011 Lisa P rated it liked it
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.
Melly Garcia
Jan 16, 2016 Melly Garcia rated it it was amazing
This deceptively slim book stayed with me for quite a while. It's a charming and poignant window into another time, a particular New York upbringing, many of its particular landmarks long gone, with supportive women and always, an eye to fashion and the way one's clothes can figure in one's memories and sentiments, aspirations and disappointments. It might seem superficial at first blush or if rushed through, but it's a tale of survival, of loyal friendships, a close family and beautiful and hig ...more
Neha Jain
Oct 09, 2014 Neha Jain rated it did not like it
I do not remember how did this book get into my to-read shelf and more surprisingly after so many bad reviews, why did I even read it.
It's a book for no one, neither it's for people who like memoirs, not even for those who are fascinated by catalogue of Bloomingdale. It's just simply some sentences in chronological order with funny sketches in between. I do not want to be so hard on it but can't help. The thing to appreciate here is the effort, simple writing and it can be finished in one sitti
Oct 01, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, new-york
I had high expectations for this little book. More than one person told me how much they loved it. In truth, Beckerman’s illustrated “memoir” left me cold.

With spare prose and drawings to match, Ms. Beckerman tells her story with the help of the clothes she wore. And others wore. Yes, that’s right—some of the clothes aren’t even worn by the author.

As for loss, yes, the author experienced them in her life. But she glosses over them in a way that makes them seem trivial. Hardly losses at all.

If I
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 liked it
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
Dec 17, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2012
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
Anoush Emrazian
Jun 23, 2015 Anoush Emrazian rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, jmrl
This isn't a book of fascinating prose or interesting stories, but I do love the idea of a life told by the clothes you wore. She is so matter of fact about the events that occurred in these clothes, from her mother's death early in her life to never seeing her father again and having a child die. That straightforward description seemed to make it more meaningful to me as I tried to imagine just what her life was like, all from the perspective of her closet.
Feb 20, 2008 Derrith rated it liked it
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
Shawn Bird
Mar 20, 2013 Shawn Bird rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2016 Janet rated it it was amazing
Read this by Ilene Beckerman and then a group of us gals went to see the Play at the Marco Island Theatre - written by Nora Ephron - it was hilarious! I then spoke to the author, Ilene by telephone and she was so happy to hear our compliments! Nice story for women to reminisce about growing up and the clothes we wore!
Erica Harmon
Aug 04, 2010 Erica Harmon rated it liked it
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
Very quick read. I would have preferred more realistic looking illustrations rather than the rough, simplistic sketches of the clothing. Author is only about a decade older than me so much of the fashion history felt familiar. It did make me think of memorable outfits from my past as well as some of Mom's.
Feb 14, 2012 Bev rated it it was ok
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
Jul 01, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
Sweet little book (30 minute read +/-) about what the author wore through her NYC childhood in the 1940s through her adulthood into the 1990s. I enjoyed Beckerman's subtle glimpses into the love and loss in her life--hints of much bigger stories that she does not reveal explicitly.
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
A quick little book, the illustrations are engaging and a fun trip down memory lane. The author leaves a lot of questions unanswered, divorces two husbands, loses her 18 month-old son to an intestinal virus. We get more detail about her wardrobe than her life losses.
Jul 21, 2015 Lupe rated it really liked it
I am no fashionista but my grandmother was and she had similar stories about the fashions she wore in the past. It's sad that no one will ever care what I wore because I lived in blue jeans and Tshirts. The fashions of old really told a story. This book is full of delightful stories.
Sydney Juarez
Oct 15, 2014 Sydney Juarez rated it it was amazing
I really treasure this book because it was one of the first ones i ever read. I love how she tells the story of her life and her troubled love life through her clothes. It's not a really long story, but it's one of those you can enjoy when you want to try something new
Aug 13, 2010 Kate rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-biography
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
Susie Findell
Jun 23, 2015 Susie Findell rated it liked it
I love the back story of this book...she created it in ring binders for her children. And the concept...that we remember things that we did, based on what we wore. She even did her own drawings. A lovely little book!
Feb 03, 2011 Ann rated it liked it
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
Jessica Ramspeck
Oct 30, 2013 Jessica Ramspeck rated it really liked it
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
Melissa Knott
A vain book

the pictures makes it original but lacks terribly in substance and character development. I got bored after a few pages but did finish it at the end and left me.wanting
Nov 11, 2013 Alison rated it liked it
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
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