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The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites
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The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  110 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Nancy MacDonell Smith explores the origins, meaning, and remarkable staying power of the ten staples of feminine fashion:
* the little black dress
* the white shirt
* the cashmere sweater
* blue jeans
* the suit
* high heels
* pearls
* lipstick
* sneakers
* the trench coat
Tracing the evolution of each item from inception to icon status, she reveals the history and social
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 28th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
ten items every woman should have in her wardrobe -- and why -- and how to wear them -- and when to wear them -- and how to pair them. what more could you want? a little history behind these clothing items? it's here. the little black dress, pearls, jeans, the plain white shirt, the trench coat, etc. it's all here and it will make you examine your closet and wonder why some of these icons are missing.
Eustacia Tan
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is my second time reading The Classic Ten, and I'm still glad that I got the book. I've forgotten most of the information already, so it might as well be my first reading.

The Classic Ten is a collection of the histories of ten pieces of fashion items, from the LBD to sneakers.

Each chapter looks at the history of the item, and how it impacted society of that time (and of course, when it was in style). Plus, what the author thinks of the style item - these sections are pretty short and almost
Cameron Toney
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: how-to-be-french
I picked up this book expecting it to be light, entertaining, and a bit inspirational, and it hit all three nails on the head.
I was impressed with just how much history and trivia was in this book- I've read similar things that just proclaim the virtues, without any history or interest, so this was a nice surprise.
If the book has a fault, its that it meanders a little to fit in all the interesting things it wants to say (Regency fashion in the jeans chapter, anyone?) but its interesting, and en
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fashion
I feel guilty for not liking this more, because the author really did her homework, but I kind of hate classics, so I kind of hated this, even thought it was well-executed. Writing about clothes is much harder than people realize, and when you're writing about the pieces that are featured in every women's magazine article about wardrobe essentials ever written, you've got an even harder task ahead of you. The chapter about the cashmere industry is really fascinating, but I found the rest of the ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
A great book on fashion history. Ms. Smith goes through the history of ten items that are familiar to any person such as pearls, blue jeans, or the little black dress. I found it incredibly interesting to learn about the history of some of these objects that are hanging in my closet, some of which go back hundreds or thousands of years. A very fun and interesting read on the history of clothing that nearly everyone owns.
Sep 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, nonfiction
Yay for more random trivia to file away.
(For instance, did you know that sweaters are quite aptly named, seeing as their original purpose and heavy-knit construction was to make the wearer sweat, which was considered a healthy bodily function? What a lovely origin.)

A collection of delightful vignettes tracing the history and pop culture significance of ten fashion staples-- this was simply a fun read. (=
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book! Well researched and fun to read. I was expecting this to be an interesting "fluff" book but there is a surprising depth to it. I would have liked to see photos of some of the specific items the author discussed but everything was described so well that this wasn't a great loss. Now I can't wait to go shopping!
Bryna Messmer
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was not a book for me. I guess I'm being a little mean on the rating, but I DID NOT enjoy it. I am passing the book along to a friend in the fashion industry. I'm sure she will enjoy it worlds more than I did. If you want to know the history of 10 classic items along with a lot of fashion designer names that I'm not familiar with, this is a book for you.
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, fashion
I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but I think it was exactly what it should have been - a bit superficial and frivolous, yet full of fascinating tidbits of history concerning some of the most classic female fashion items. The other nine: 2) The Suit 3) Jeans 4) The Cashmere Sweater 5) The White Shirt 6) The High Heel 7) Pearls 8) The Trench Coat 9) Lipstick 10) Sneakers.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fashionistas, pop culture buffs, historians
Shelves: fashion
In telling the story of ten wardrobe staples, MacDonell highlights two centuries of our shifting views on gender, class, economics, sex, and morality. Great for discussion. One of the best works on non-fiction I've read in years.
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
What do you know about those staples of fashion, "The Little Black Dress," "The White Shirt," "Pearls" and the "The High Heel?" Smith sends us on a journey showing us why we need each of these in our wardrobe, but it is a funny jaunt through her top ten fashion icons.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
I only got two chapters into this book. It was mildly interesting but not enough to make me want to run home and read. After have it for a couple weeks and only getting a couple chapters in I decided there were better uses of my reading time and returned it to the library.
Georgi Marrapodi
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fashion, and, beauty
I've read it years ago when it very famous. I read the critics on a newspaper and I bought it. It's entertaining and easy to read. Perfect for a trip.
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Would have appreciated some photos...
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this!! I love "secret history"-type books, and this was absolutely fascinating.
Interesting and unexpected history but a little too much about clothing in movies and the media for me. Still, all in all I picked up some interesting facts and I enjoyed the book.
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