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The Hundred Dresses

New or Used: $28.20
New or Used: $28.20

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A stylishly illustrated and informative A to Z of the 100 iconic dresses--from The Bandage to The Sack, The Baby-doll to The Siren, and everything between--that have made their mark on the world.

About the Author

Erin McKean is the author of the bestselling novel The Secret Lives of Dresses, inspired by her popular blog, A Dress a Day (, which features vintage clothes and patterns. A lexicographer by day and the founder of, she has been published widely, including in the New York Times Magazine and the Boston Globe. She lives in Burlingame, California.


This glorious book sews together a story for every style and makes you look at your own wardrobe anew and wonder what adventures you should be having with your own dresses. -- Ruth Singer, author of Sew It Up and The Sewing Bible
Celebrities, movie stars, literary and historic figures, you and I wear them, wore them, or want them. This wonderfully illustrated book of iconic dresses is told with wit and wisdom...a joy to look at and to read. -- Ilene Beckerman, author of Love, Loss, and What I Wore
What a supremely witty, highly informative, and great-looking book this is! It made me want to be a woman. -- Henry Alford, author of "Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?": A Modern Guide to Manners
Like a wonderfully illustrated bird-watcher's guide, but to frocks, The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time is a whimsical and inspirational taxonomy: from the J Lo, via the Space Empress to the Vreeland. * The Sunday Telegraph *
In this book Erin McKean, with a little help from talented illustrator Donna Mehalko, details one hundred dresses that she deems the most iconic styles of our time ... Information on background, accessories, related items and the people who made it famous accompany each dress in the book, and there is a healthy dose of humour too. -- Jennifer Schembri * My Creative Diva *
[This book] is a wittily written guide to the most iconic styles of our time. Each dress is well illustrated and Erin's pithy descriptions are fun ... In addition you get an accessories guide, a worn by whom and names of designers of such dresses. This is the formula for the book, Erin's crisp observations keep the book going ... I'll never look at clothes the same ever again. -- Karen Platt * Yarns and Fabrics *

Like any 100-best list, a book of iconic dresses invites potential quibbles with its selection criteria. Yet McKean and illustrator Mehalko have created a book so charming that any critic is completely disarmed. One of the dresses has to be the infamous curtain dress worn by Scarlett O'Hara, but McKean insightfully notes that "[t]he defining characteristic of the Scarlett O'Hara is not the fabric of the dress but the determination of the wearer." Mehalko's illustrations, which have an equal partnership with the text, evoke the whimsy of a Cher headdress that reminds us of the Oscar moment without being too specific. McKean defines some clear categories: single-moment dresses (The Mondrian, The J-Lo), universal dress shapes (The Sack, the Baby Doll Dress, dress "types"), and fashion moments that have become categories: "The Dorothy Dress is any dress in which you find yourself having an unexpected adventure." "The Pretty Woman dress is any dress that serves both to hide one's origins and to bring out some essential truth of character." In all its delightful chattiness, the book has something intelligent to say about fashion as representation and nostalgia. As McKean writes: "You can use this book . to help you decide what stories you want to embody." 4-color illus. throughout. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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