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The Secret Lives of Dresses

Average Rating 4
( 71 )
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5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(29)

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(15)

2 Star

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This classic story is as comforting to read as your favorite sweatshirt!

Mimi was an lady who believed that everything had a purpose and that few things should be thrown away. She manages a vintage clothing store selling old clothes from the 20's and up. Nothing is ever considered out of date or out of style. Each piece of clothing is unique...
Mimi was an lady who believed that everything had a purpose and that few things should be thrown away. She manages a vintage clothing store selling old clothes from the 20's and up. Nothing is ever considered out of date or out of style. Each piece of clothing is uniquely designed to fit the wearer and transform them like nothing else could.

Mimi met each customer's needs unlike your typical sales person. She believed that her store was not a thrift store. She believed that customers should not feel that they are being sold something less expensive, but selling them something more special. "We have to tell them the story of what we're showing them. And then we have to show them how they can be the new heroine in the story" she would explain to her granddaughter Dora, who spent hours working in the store while doing her homework.

As Dora grew and made plans for college, Mimi made sure she had plans for the future. Dora never felt compelled to wear any of the pieces Mimi felt would compliment her. However, when Dora is called home from college to hear that Mimi has suffered a stroke, she believes she has missed out on something special.

All these years Mimi has a collection of pieces of clothing she felt were meant to be Dora's and since arriving with no bags packed, she begins to explore every piece that Mimi has so meticulously selected with her in mind. She wishes that Mimi could see her just this once in something more than sweatshirts and jeans.

When Dora decides to take over the store til Mimi recovers and in that time discovers a secret that Mimi has created in each dress that she sells. Each one comes with a timeless story that upon reading will transform the lady wearing it and show her that she truly is something special.

I received the beautiful classic novel, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean, for my honest review from Hachette Book Groups, and fell in love in a completely different way. This novel is a must read and will change the way you see ordinary things in your daily life. This one is a 5 out of 5 stars hands down! No longer when I dress will I be wearing clothes but each piece tells the story of the life they have witnessed being worn by someone special. Each has a story to tell. What does yours say?

posted by Heart2Heart on February 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A sweet read- but that's pretty much it.

I had fairly high expectations for this book that weren't really met. The first 50 pgs were very hard to get through because there were lots of unnecessary details everywhere. After that, it was an ok story,but moved slowly. Many flashbacks rather than present day scene...
I had fairly high expectations for this book that weren't really met. The first 50 pgs were very hard to get through because there were lots of unnecessary details everywhere. After that, it was an ok story,but moved slowly. Many flashbacks rather than present day scenes caused confusion. Erin McKean had good intentions and the idea had great potential, but for me the quality didn't meet this potential. It didn't really stand out to me and I wouldn't recommend it.

posted by 7473008 on April 5, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    A sweet read- but that's pretty much it.

    I had fairly high expectations for this book that weren't really met. The first 50 pgs were very hard to get through because there were lots of unnecessary details everywhere. After that, it was an ok story,but moved slowly. Many flashbacks rather than present day scenes caused confusion. Erin McKean had good intentions and the idea had great potential, but for me the quality didn't meet this potential. It didn't really stand out to me and I wouldn't recommend it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2013

    A Lovely Diversion

    While this will undoubtedly be compared to 'A Vintage Affair'--and the novels certainly share similarities--this rather light, breeze of a read does stack up nicely with that other well-written title. McKean has fashioned appealing major characters and a rather convincing 'young college graduate unsure what to with her life' scenario. My only complaints are that the actual 'lives' of the dresses--interspersed throughout the story--are not always interesting or attention-grabbing. At times those stories are so tragic (or sordid) quite honestly, I don't know that I would want the accompanying dress! What would have been nice is more of the relationship with Mimi: we get some but really fleshing that out would have been better. Overall, an easy, afternoon read--good for a diversion--and dreams of couture clothing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2013

    You won't look at your wardrobe the same way again. While the pl

    You won't look at your wardrobe the same way again. While the plot and characters are as predictable as a Hallmark channel movie, the book does help change the reader's view of the world just a little. Vintage dresses in the book tell their own stories about the women who have worn them. It is a charming variation on the old saw "if the walls had ears".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Ender

    He sighs, then finds the reasoning in her words. "You're right. I'm sorry l couldn't stay longer." He leaves the box with the carved wooden ring in it on the couch, along with a new carving. The new carving is a scene of intricately carved trees, with Ender and Alice sitting together on a log, holding hands. Inscribed in the base is a single word, 'Remember'. Looking back one last time, he whispers, "Goodbye, and best of luck." He turns away and vanishes, an iridescent dragonfly's wing fluttering to the ground the only indication that he had even been there.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2011

    Good-hesitate to recommend

    My hesitation to recommend this book because I found the character Maux to be too vulgar for my taste. She uses profanity as easily as if it is her language. Fortunately she is not featured as a main character. The rest of the book I found charming. I loved the relationship of the Grandmother and granddaughter. The ending was very endearing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    Okay!

    I had been wanting to read this book for a while, and finally read it when a friend suggested it saying it was great! So, my expectations for the book were really high. The beginning is a little confusing and it does start out really slow. The first 70 pages were hard to get through. However, it did pick up the pace and by the middle of the book I was intrigued. The concept of Secret Lives of Dresses is such a great idea, but it was lacking in delivery. I feel that McKean could have done many things to enhance the story. Overall it was just okay. It's a good book to read if you are in between books.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Good read

    Very light read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Three Out of Five

    The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean is the story of a woman's internal journey to find herself, after being adrift for most of her life.

    Dora Winston is walking through her life with no discernable goal for her future. She's in college on a scholarship, but, although she's close to graduation, she doesn't have a major. She figures she'll go to graduate school.it's as good a choice for a next step as any. Plus, it has the added advantage of Gary. Gary is her boss at the campus coffee shop where she works, and Dora has a major crush on him. Gary says he's not allowed to date underclassmen, so Dora bides her time until she will be a graduate student, and free to date Gary. Meanwhile, she watches Gary move from girl to girl.

    Tragedy strikes when her grandmother, Mimi, has a stroke, and is in a coma with not much hope. Mimi raised Dora as her own after Dora's parents, Mimi's son and daughter-in-law, are killed in a car accident. A lot of mystery shrouds the past, and Mimi won't talk with Dora about her parents. In typical Dora fashion, she doesn't push the issue, but she has a lot of questions that are left unanswered.

    While Mimi is in the coma, Dora decides that she will run her vintage clothing shop. Dora spent much of her childhood there surrounded by the beautiful outfits of days gone by. However, Dora's lack of enthusiasm for life extends to her wardrobe, and she is usually found in dumpy sweatshirts and jeans. But after rushing from campus to Mimi's bedside, Dora left with the clothes on her back. This leaves the extensive closet full of outfits, coordinated from top to bottom, that Mimi's been saving for Dora as her only source of clothing to wear. The clothing becomes important in Dora's journey.

    While waiting on her first buying customer, Dora discovers that some of the dresses in the store have a "secret life." The secret lives are intensely personal, sometimes dark, and sometime happy snippets told from the point of view of the article of clothing. This discovery shocks Dora. Mimi never told Dora she did this, and this is a side of Mimi that Dora didn't know existed.

    Mimi's best friend, housemate, and childhood staple Gabby, along with part time store worker Maux help Dora on her journey to discover herself. Contractor Conrad provides a foil to Gary and aids in Dora reexamining what she wants out of life. A wicked aunt, clueless uncle, and ditzy cousin just may be what Dora needs to kick herself to stand up for what she wants.

    This was a good book that could have been a lot better. I give it three out of five stars. It often felt as though Dora's ennui was seeping out of the pages of the book, which made it difficult to read at times.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    A good read!

    A delightful story, quick read, a bit predictable but the characters were enchanting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    just finished

    this was a okay read based out of winston salem nc. it was a nice book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 18, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2013

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    Posted April 29, 2012

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    Posted June 6, 2011

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