Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Nook - Love, Loss and What I Wore

Love, Loss, and What I Wore, by Ilene Beckerman:

 Ilene Beckerman has written an autobiography of a very unusual kind: it's not just about her life, but really about what her life was like when she was wearing a certain dress, or shoes, or hairstyle.  Each spread has a little story about her life, along with a drawing by the author of the clothing item that pertains to the story.

In chronological order, she shows us pictures of herself as a child, and talks about things like her Brownie uniform, or the pinafore dress her mother made for her (her mother was quite a seamstress, making dresses, hats and ballgowns for her two daughters).  Then, through adolescence & early adulthood (she shows us one slinky dress that she almost got in trouble in), the dress she wore at a New Year's Eve party during her first marriage, when she found her husband kissing the hostess at midnight.  And then dresses and outfits during her second marriage, the dress she wore during several of her pregnancies, to the black suede high-heel boots she bought herself for her 50th birthday.

It's such a neat little book because I think many women can relate to this association between life and what you were wearing when certain events were happening.  Sometimes, when you find a piece of clothing in your closet, it can bring back a sudden rush of memories.  Or, alternatively, you cannot think back on an event without thinking about what you wore.  So, in the spirit of this neat little book, I thought I'd bring you my own version of Love, Loss, and What I Wore.  (Please excuse the picture-of-a-picture quality....I'm low-tech.)

First, we have kindergarten graduation, 1980:

I remember this little outfit....not wearing it, but I remember it hanging up in my closet.  The buttons were ice cream cones, maybe that's why I liked the outfit so much (I've always been a sweet-tooth).  I've cropped out my long-ago friends because I don't know if they'd appreciate being on my blog unannounced!

Turnabout dance, sophomore year of high school (I think) - 1990:

I really loved this dress because of the deep teal color and open back.  I had shoes dyed to match.  This was my first dance I attended in high school, and was such a big deal.  I went with a boy named Jason, and we double dated with my best friend and her boyfriend (who happened to be Jason's best friend).  Here, I'm standing in front of our old house on Bosco Avenue, where my family and I lived from the time when I was 2 or 3 until I left home for good after college graduation.  The setting of many of my dreams takes place in this house, for some reason.

Wedding day, 1998:

Oh, it took me forever to choose a wedding dress!  The problem was, I really loved every one I tried on.  I picked this very traditional style because 1) peer pressure - I knew my husband-to-be and my mother preferred this style, 2) I thought my skinny arms looked best in it and 3) I found this dress at a local bridal store on their last day of business, so needless to say, I got a great deal.  I liked it, but if DH and I were getting married again today, I would choose something totally different (as well as a different wedding location - France probably).  I will add that those flowers weighed a ton - I would definitely get a smaller bouquet if I were to do it all again.  I'd choose the same guy, though!

You can't help but think about some of the pivotal outfits of your life when you read this book.  This teeny-tiny tome might only take you 15-20 minutes to read, but it will have you reflecting (and rummaging through your closet) for a long time afterwards.


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