A dedicated follower of fashion
"Once there was a little girl, growing up in a split-level house in suburban Pittsburgh, who loved clothes very much too much, some would say." Twenty-seven articles drawn from 16 years at The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine add up to a very intelligent collection of writing by that little girl who grew up to be fashion journalist Holly Brubach. In lucid, no-bull prose, Brubach compellingly argues that clothes tell us a great deal about who we think we are and how the society around us has shaped those notions. Aptly describing herself as "perhaps slightly cynical but not entirely lacking in the capacity for romance," Brubach appreciates the appeal of the traditional bridal gown (which speaks to "the desire to create something absolute in a world where nothing is certain") but isn't convinced by it ("if weddings reflected all the ambiguities of married life, the bride would wear gray"). She writes entertainingly about models, particularly in a long profile of "self-proclaimed ugly duckling" Kristen McMenamy, without sounding like a gossip columnist; she discerns social significance in Ralph Lauren's vast popularity without sounding like a sociologist. Fashion writing is seldom this stimulating or this much fun. --Wendy Smith
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