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The Thoughtful Dresser [Kindle Edition]

Linda Grant
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'A good handbag makes the outfit. Only the rich can afford cheap shoes. The only thing worse than being skint is looking as if you're skint.'

For centuries, an interest in clothes has been dismissed as the trivial pursuit of vain empty-headed women. Yet, clothes matter, whether you are interested in fashion or not because what we choose to dress ourselves in defines our identity. For the immigrant arriving in a new country to the teenager who needs to be part of the fashion pack or the woman turning forty who must reassess her wardrobe, the truth is that how we look and what we wear, tells a story. And what a story. THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER tells us how a woman's hat saved her life in Nazi Germany, looks at the role of department stores in giving women a public place outside the home, savours the sheer joy of finding the right dress. Here is the thinking woman's guide to our relationship with what we wear: why we want to look our best and why it matters. THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER celebrates the pleasure of adornment

Product Description

Book Description

* A fascinating investigation into the relationship between people and clothes, on a human rather than design level

About the Author

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006 while THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACKS was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Vogue.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 547 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (7 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #196,270 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. She was educated at the Belvedere School (GDST), read English at the University of York, completed an M.A. in English at MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario and did further post-graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, where she lived from 1977 to 1984.

Her first book, Sexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution was published in 1993. Her first novel, The Cast Iron Shore, published in 1996, won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Remind Me Who I am Again, an account of her mother's decline into dementia and the role that memory plays in creating family history, was published in 1998 and won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year award and the Age Concern Book of the Year award. Her second novel, When I Lived in Modern Times, set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate, published in March 2000, won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize. Her novel, Still Here, published in 2002, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her non-fiction work, The People On The Street: A Writer's View of Israel, published in 2006, won the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage. Her Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Clothes On Their Backs, was published in February 2008. Linda's most recent book, The Thoughful Dresser was published in March 2009.

She has written a radio play, Paul and Yolande, which was broadcast on Radio 4 in October 2006, and a short story, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, part of a week of stories by Liverpool writers commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, broadcast in July 2007.

She has also contributed to various collections of essays. Her work is translated into French, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Czech, Russian, Polish, Turkish and Chinese.


The Clothes On Their Backs Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
Winner South Bank Show Award

The People on the Street:
A Writer's View of Israel Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage

When I Lived in Modern Times Winner, Orange Prize for Fiction 2000

Shorlisted: Jewish Quarterly Prize

Encore Prize

Remind Me Who I Am, Again Mind Book of the Year 1999

Age Concern Book of the Year 1999

The Cast Iron Shore David Higham First Novel Prize

Shortlisted Guardian Fiction Prize

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dressing down the sartorial naysayers 31 Mar. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'The Thoughtful Dresser' by Linda Grant

Novelist Linda Grant doesn't claim to be a stylist or even a fashion buff. What she enjoys, she explains, are good clothes. And shoes. And handbags.

So what she has set out to do in her new book is to explore why clothes are important - and why making an effort to think about how we dress is not wasted time.

This accessible - and in places very, very funny - book is not what you'd call a work of scholarly rigour, but Grant still manages to get across a number of messages with enjoyable ease.

She illustrates, with just a cursory look at the distant past, how humans have always cared about how they look - about how they present themselves, from the earliest adornments and tattoos. Which, as she points out, makes a nonsense of the view that fashion is only a product of capitalism and consumerism, and that shallow women are just manipulated into contemplating matters sartorial.

She also illustrates the inherent misogyny in the view that thinking or talking about clothes is an indicator of vapidity. Men base so many of their responses to women on how women look, and criticise them if they don't look `good', but also criticise the time they spend achieving that look.

As Grant points out, we have to wear clothes: a man begging on the street might have plenty of people pass by and ignore him. But if he's naked, the police will turn up pretty quickly and take him away. Clothes, in our society, are not an option. It might sound howlingly obvious, but if that's the case, why do some people consider it to be an indicator of a weak mind - or a capitalist plot - when people enjoy thinking about clothes, shopping and dressing?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it 15 Aug. 2009
By EmmyLou
I read this book in one evening and then immediately turned back to the beginning and read it again. Linda Grant articulates so many things about clothes and fashion that have floated around in my mind at one time or another, but that I've never thought to express. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much or felt such a sense of delighted recognition as I read. I've recommeded it to all my friends.

I loved the mix of fashion history, the stories of designers and Grant's reminiscences about clothes loved and lost. Ah, the perfect shoes, they come along so rarely...

Essential reading for all intelligent women who have ever been made to feel frivolous or guilty for caring about clothes. The story of Catherine Hill will put paid to that for once and for all. I can't wait for her book to be published.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read - recommended 30 Aug. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this take on fashion and clothing, as written by a novelist rather than a journalist. Although I disagree with many of her conclusions (I believe in being highly ethical and ecologically responsible about clothing, above all), I recognised much of what she had to say - about the pleasure given by certain garments, about facing one's ageing self in the mirror, about carelessly discarding that perfect garment, not realising that you will never again find anything so lovely. I read this pretty much cover to cover in a single day, but plan to return to it soon and bookmark it. Recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars One woman's view but not mine 1 Mar. 2015
By EdiLon
I found this book engrossing and bewildering in equal measure. It's an easy read and whilst I ageed with the cental premise of taking pleasure in life where you can and the indomitable human spirit I found it difficult to identify with the author. I like a well made outfit or a pretty dress but I am not so obsessed by clothes as to understand the writer's passion for them. I also disagreed with so many of her statements about women that I began to doubt myself. She says for example of all women "We are hardly ever naked. We almost never look at ourselves in the mirror undressed. At least not after the age of twenty. We don't know what we look like". Well I'm more than twenty years older than twenty and I know exactly what I look like because I see myself naked every day without any particular concern. Am I so strange? She goes onto say "When we set out to buy new clothes we are taking along not only an interest in fashion but also an internal hell of insecurity of self-loathing about a body that is to be clothed" - no we don't or at least I don't! Should I? The same with the high heeled shoe. I can see that a well made high heeled shoe might be a thing of beauty to look at but I also know I won't feel good wearing it. I will be grumpy and irritable because my mind will not be on anything interesting someone is saying or on what I am reading, seeing or working on but on the pain in my feet. I can't be alone in this surely? So all in all I found it an interesting insight into another woman's mind - one who actually likes shopping and buying things but I found it irritating that it claimed to speak for all women. Not me. Some of us take our pleasures in other things.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An accidental gift 14 Dec. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A friend lent me this book, and I loved it so mich I had to buy my own copy. That NEVER happens - but Linda Grant is a writer unlike most others. And I love clothes - reading about them is like vicarious clothes-shopping, without the sort feet and extraordinary bad temper.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethical dressing!
What an excellent and sensible book. Great reading. Buy it!
Published 8 months ago by AJ's Mum
5.0 out of 5 stars A guilt free pleasure
I could easily have read this in one sitting. I hung on every word. It sets changes in women's fashion into social and historical and social context but the love of her subject... Read more
Published 14 months ago by mary raftery
1.0 out of 5 stars Uhh
It is quite boring & seems quite shallow to begin with, if you really force yourself (i do since it is part of my course) it is ok. It has a few funny moments and interesting facts
Published on 5 Sept. 2011 by Rochelle92
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 stars!
This book should get 6 stars - it is one of the very few intelligent books about fashion, and also manages to be very witty. Read more
Published on 2 Mar. 2011 by rexclick
4.0 out of 5 stars quirky book
This book looks at clothes from an unusual angle which appealed to me. A little weak in some areas but I think most women who are interested in clothes would enjoy most of it.
Published on 26 Feb. 2010 by lurcher-fan
1.0 out of 5 stars Too little substance
The title gives very little clue as to the theme of the book: Possibilities include analysis of well-dressers, samples of these people, reasons for dressing well, & how to dress... Read more
Published on 17 May 2009 by E. Chao
5.0 out of 5 stars Linda Grant
A really fantastic book reviewing the necessity of the importance of clothes for a well-dressed person.
Published on 4 April 2009 by Jen
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