The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time

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Overview

The dress is the last bit of femininity in our closets; it's the only item of clothing which (most) men and women don't share. Wearing a dress is a powerful way for women to express themselves—and every style conveys a different message. Inspired by the Eleanor Estes' children's classic The Hundred Dresses, Erin McKean's classic-to-be by the same title, with chic illustrations by Donna Mehalko, is a definitive look at the dresses, vintage and modern, that make an inarguable ...

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The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time

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Overview

The dress is the last bit of femininity in our closets; it's the only item of clothing which (most) men and women don't share. Wearing a dress is a powerful way for women to express themselves—and every style conveys a different message. Inspired by the Eleanor Estes' children's classic The Hundred Dresses, Erin McKean's classic-to-be by the same title, with chic illustrations by Donna Mehalko, is a definitive look at the dresses, vintage and modern, that make an inarguable statement about the woman who wears them.

Each evocatively illustrated entry identifies one of a hundred different dresses accompanied by a witty and informative look at the history of that particular style, famous wearers (if applicable), and what message, subtle or overt, is conveyed by the dress. Notes on where such a style could be observed and accessories of the wearer are also included.

Featured are The Wench; The Sari; The Vreeland; The Wrap; The Austen; The Beckham; The Siren (any style, as long as it's red); The Chanel Ingenue; The Caftan; The Guinivere; The Jackie; The Slip Dress; The Biohazard (any dress dangerous to bystanders or the wearer: think Lady Gaga); and scores more. The book also includes a suggested reading list of fashion books, dresses from literature, and an index.

Part style commentary, part fashion blueprint, part clever field guide, The Hundred Dresses will ensure that no woman (or man) ever underestimates the power of the dress.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"A woman's dress," opined Sophia Loren, "should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view." Thanks to the genius of designers, we can now see dresses in a pleasing multiplicity of ways. And now thanks to the care and expertise of dress a day.com keeper Erin McKean, we can contemplate at leisure one hundred dress styles that have reverberated in our culture. Her selections, which encompass influences from Jane Austen to Lady Gaga, are certain to instigate memory and quite possibly controversy.

Publishers Weekly
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 “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)
From the Publisher
“A refreshing sashay through the history and pop culture of the dress.” –Chicago Tribune

 

In a zippy manner, McKean distills the history of each style, names famous wearers, states the message of each dress, and suggests suitable accessories for it. Mehalko’s illustrations accomplish a lot with a splash of color and just a few lines.” –Boston Globe

 

“Chock-full of fashion lore and visual inspiration, this alphabetized collection of 100 unforgettable silhouettes—from "The Mary Quant" to "The Chanel Jersey Dress" to, yes, "The Jersey Shore"—is catnip for fashion-history buffs.” –Elle.com

 

“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. It’s a joy to look at and to read.” –Ilene Beckerman, author of Love, Loss, and What I Wore

 

 “[A] chic and comprehensive guide to all things dresses. A must-read fashionistas everywhere.” –Glam.com

 

"In Erin McKean's frock-filled world, dresses are no mere body coverings but are the uniforms for secret lives. 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 The Sewing Bible

 

“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 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 . . . . In all its delightful chattiness, the book has something intelligent to say about fashion as representation and nostalgia.” –Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608199761
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/11/2013
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 556,124
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Read an Excerpt

The Hundred Dresses

The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time


By ERIN MCKEAN, DONNA MEHALKO

BLOOMSBURY

Copyright © 2013 Erin McKean
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60819-976-1


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

THE ADDICTED TO LOVE


WE'VE ALL SEEN THE 1986 video: Robert Palmer, in a simple white shirt and black tie, clutches a microphone for dear life while five terrifying women in high-necked, long-sleeved (and slightly sheer, much to the delight of MTV-watching teenage boys everywhere) black minidresses surround him and dance robotically while pretending to play instruments.

The Addicted to Love dress is any dress that essentially sets out to turn you into a prop, a backdrop, stage dressing, or scenery, especially if it does so in a hyper-sexualized way. Modern rap videos employ the same methods (only with much less fabric), and it can be argued that the bridesmaid's dress is a tamer version of this phenomenon.

The Addicted to Love differs from a uniform—a uniform is intended to encourage team spirit and fellow feeling in addition to providing a consistent appearance to outsiders. The Addicted to Love, in all its variants, is concerned with the audience only. No one seems to be worried about a unit cohesion problem among backup dancers.

When you're wearing the Addicted to Love, either by choice or by coercion, it's best to give yourself fully over to it. Wear it like a costume (which, of course, it is) and throw yourself into the role, whether it's fembot, handmaiden, conference-booth staffer, or video vixen. If you can cultivate a fine appreciation of absurdity, that will help tremendously.


ACCESSORIES: Sheer black stockings and stiletto heels, slicked-back hair, dramatic smoky-eye makeup, and shiny red lipstick on a mouth that never smiles.

RELATED: The Bandage dress.

WORN BY: The models in the original video were Julia Bolino, Kathy Davies, Mak Gilchrist, Patty Kelly, and Julie Pankhurst. (Also referenced by Beyoncé and her Single Ladies, although they were much more foreground than background.)
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Hundred Dresses by ERIN MCKEAN. Copyright © 2013 by Erin McKean. Excerpted by permission of BLOOMSBURY.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

INTRODUCTION....................     1     

1 THE ADDICTED TO LOVE....................     5     

2 THE AIRSHIP HOSTESS....................     7     

3 THE AMISH....................     9     

4 THE ANNE SHIRLEY....................     11     

5 THE ARTIST'S SMOCK....................     13     

6 THE AUSTEN....................     15     

7 THE BABY DOLL....................     17     

8 THE BANDAGE DRESS....................     19     

9 THE BEAUXHEMIAN....................     21     

10 THE BIOHAZARD....................     23     

11 THE BOND GIRL....................     25     

12 THE BOUQUET....................     27     

13 THE BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S....................     29     

14 THE BUBBLE DRESS....................     31     

15 THE CAFTAN....................     33     

16 THE CHANEL INGÉNUE....................     35     

17 THE CHANEL JERSEY DRESS....................     37     

18 THE CHEONGSAM....................     39     

19 THE CHER....................     41     

20 THE CLASSIC BRIDE....................     43     

21 THE CLASSIC PARTY DRESS....................     45     

22 THE COUNTRY MUSIC STAR....................     47     

23 THE COWGIRL....................     49     

24 THE CUPCAKE BRIDE....................     51     

25 THE DEBUTANTE....................     53     

26 THE DEPRESSION HOUSEWIFE....................     55     

27 THE DIRNDL....................     57     

28 THE DISNEY....................     59     

29 THE DOROTHY....................     61     

30 THE DRESS FOR SUCCESS....................     63     

31 THE DURO....................     65     

32 THE DYNASTY....................     67     

33 THE FACE....................     69     

34 THE FIRST OSCAR....................     71     

35 THE FLAMENCO....................     73     

36 THE FLAPPER....................     75     

37 THE FLASHDANCE....................     77     

38 THE FLOWER CHILD BRIDE....................     79     

39 THE FORTUNY....................     81     

40 THE GARDEN PARTY....................     83     

41 THE GRECIAN GOWN....................     85     

42 THE GUINEVERE....................     87     

43 THE GYPSY....................     89     

44 THE HAMILL....................     91     

45 THE HOSTESS/PATIO DRESS....................     93     

46 THE HUIPIL....................     95     

47 THE INVISIBLE DRESS....................     97     

48 THE IS-IT-A-SHIRT?....................     99     

49 THE J-LO....................     101     

50 THE JACKIE....................     103     

51 THE JAPANESE FASHION....................     105     

51 THE JERSEY SHORE....................     107     

53 THE JUMPER....................     109     

54 THE JUNE CLEAVER....................     111     

55 THE KIMONO....................     113     

56 THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER....................     115     

57 THE LEATHER DRESS....................     117     

58 THE LET'S GO ICE DANCING!....................     119     

59 THE LOLITA....................     121     

60 THE MADAME X....................     123     

61 THE MAE WEST/JOAN HOLLOWAY....................     125     

62 THE MARILYN....................     127     

63 THE MARY QUANT....................     129     

64 THE MATERNITY....................     131     

65 THE MISS HAVISHAM....................     133     

66 THE MODERN BRIDE....................     135     

67 THE MONDRIAN....................     137     

68 THE MOURET....................     139     

69 THE NOVEMBER RAIN....................     141     

70 THE PEGGY OLSON....................     143     

71 THE POLO DRESS....................     145     

72 THE PRETTY WOMAN....................     147     

73 THE QUEEN ELIZABETH I....................     149     

74 THE QUEEN ELIZABETH II....................     151     

75 THE ROSIE'S DAY OFF....................     153     

76 THE SACK....................     155     

77 THE SAFARI....................     157     

78 THE SARI....................     159     

79 THE SCARLETT O'HARA....................     161     

80 THE SHIRTDRESS....................     163     

81 THE SIREN....................     165     

82 THE SLIP DRESS....................     167     

83 THE SPACE AGE....................     169     

84 THE SPACE EMPRESS....................     171     

85 THE SQUARE DANCING....................     173     

86 THE STEAMPUNK....................     175     

87 THE STEWARDESS....................     177     

88 THE STUNT DRESS....................     179     

89 THE SWAN....................     181     

90 THE T-SHIRT DRESS....................     183     

91 THE TENNIS DRESS....................     185     

92 THE TIMES SQUARE....................     187     

93 THE TITANIC....................     189     

94 THE TURTLENECK-HOODED COWL DRESS....................     191     

95 THE VIONNET....................     193     

96 THE VREELAND....................     195     

97 THE WENCH....................     197     

98 THE WOMEN....................     199     

99 THE WRAP DRESS....................     201     

100 THE XENA....................     203     

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................     205     

ONE HUNDRED BOOKS ABOUT DRESSES....................     206     


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    Great book

    This book shows that it doesnt matter who you are. As long as you you are friendly and kind to everyone.

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