It’s a new month and time for a new topic. This month our topic is: Fashion!
One of the first books I ever bought for myself, through a program at my elementary school was The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter. I am still enchanted by the beautiful language and imagery of the mice sewing an exquisite vest at night to help the elderly tailor. I love the language of fashion – “twists of thread” and “cherry-coloured silk” and “gold-laced waistcoats” and buttonholes with stitches so tiny “they looked as if they had been made by little mice!” I’m sure Beatrix Potter inspired my love of words and details and encouraged a great respect for craftsmanship. And so this month we celebrate the world of fashion in its many forms.
For historical fiction, try The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott about a young seamstress to a fashion designer who survives the sinking of the Titanic. I loved The Gown by Jennifer Robson which details the lives of the women who embroidered Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth’s wedding dress. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini is based on the true story of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a woman who was born a slave, bought her freedom and became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress.
For contemporary fiction, you can’t beat the snark in The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger about the cut-throat world of fashion magazines. For something a little less ruthless, go for The Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff about a woman running a shop that specializes in vintage dresses.
The high cost of fashion can be found in books such as Triangle: the Fire that Changed America by Dave Von Drehle which recounts the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, one of the worst industrial accidents in US history that led to laws requiring safer working conditions. Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline looks at “the high price of cheap fashion”. If you’d like to step away from “fast fashion” The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees helps you build a wardrobe of clothes you love and want to wear. And Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh teaches visible mending and just how beautiful it can be.
I’m going to read Nine Women, One Dress by Jane Rosen about one perfect little black dress and how it affects the lives of nine different women.
Do you see something you’d like to read? Be sure to stop at any of the Davenport Library locations and check out our displays for even more ideas!