The Secret Lives of Dresses

The Secret Lives of Dresses

3.59 (4,909 ratings by Goodreads)
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Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary. Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit. While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop? When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 25.4mm | 294.83g
  • Time Warner Trade Publishing
  • Warner Books Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 044655572X
  • 9780446555722
  • 63,292

Review quote

"Pleasantly effervescent debut." -Kirkus Reviewsshow more

About Erin McKean

Erin McKean is the blogger behind A Dress A Day, the inspiration for this novel. Her writing has been featured in many media outlets from The NY Times Magazine to Foreign Affairs. She currently works as the editor of VERBATIM, and was previously at more

Rating details

4,909 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 18% (906)
4 37% (1,792)
3 33% (1,635)
2 10% (476)
1 2% (100)

Our customer reviews

Dora has lived with her grandmother Mimi, since the age of one when her parents were killed in a freak accident. Dora is in college, but really she has no idea what she wants to do with her life, she chose her college based on the fact that they offered her a scholarship. When a planned summer job falls thru, an on campus coffee shop job falls in her lap. She is kind of crushing on her boss Gary, a grad student, but since he flirts with everyone she isn't sure how he feels about her. When Dora gets a call from back home informing her that her grandmother Mimi has suffered a stroke, she drops everything and heads home, not even taking time to pack. Mimi runs a vintage clothing store and has always brought home dresses from her store for Dora, hoping that Dora would one day wear them. Due to the severity of Mimi's condition Dora needs to step in and take over the running of the clothing store.One of the neatest things Dora discovers is that her grandmother had been giving some of the dresses in her store personal histories and passing them on to the customer when they purchased the dress. When Conrad, a friend of her grandmothers who is also a contractor renovating the apartments above the shop starts popping in Dora finds a friend as well as a strong shoulder to lean on. Dora finally comes to the realization that she want to run Mimi's shop permanetly but dreaded relatives swoop in and want to change everything. I can't say enough good things about this story! I loved Dora, she starts out as a girl with no true direction in her life, but when her grandmother needs her she doesn't hesitate.While her backstory was sad, I didn't feel sorry for her because she had Mimi and Gabby. I liked how Gabby was described as some kind of relation by marriage, which sounds so southern to me. The histories of the dresses were amazing, I could actually visualize the people that were touched for a bit by the garments as the histories were revealed. I must say I was totally blown away with the ending of the story. When it is revealed who actually wrote the history of the dresses, Dora finally gets a few pieces of her history as well! If your looking for a good story set in a small town that has romance, along with a few quirky characters, that will tug at your heartstrings but also give you a couple of laughs and ultimatly give you a satisfying ending you definatly need to check out this book! I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest more
by Brenda Casto
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