The Thoughtful Dresser.

Two weeks ago, I was on a plane.

We were getting ready for lift-off and I couldn’t have any electronics out – canceling out my Blackberry, iPod and laptop (which made me feel very disconnected).

In the pocket of the chair in front of me – was the airline’s magazine.  I had the choice of either staring outside the window and watching the ground grow smaller as the plane ascended (which makes me nauseous), or turn my attention to the magazine – the safer bet. So naturally, I chose the magazine to avoid use of the vomit bag.

As I flipped through the issue, I turned to page 72, the Must Read section, where featured content of “a great new book”  spread over 10 pages. The title of said “great new book” was The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping and Why Clothes Matter by Linda Grant – a celebrated British writer – due out on April 20th.

The excerpt was from the first chapter of the book – and just as I read the first couple of  lines: “Twelve years ago I saw a red high-heeled shoe from an earlier era. Glorious, scarlet, insouciant, it blazed away amid the rubber soles and strong cotton shoelaces as if to say, ‘Take me dancing!'” – I was hooked. I read the entire content featured in the magazine – and I only wanted more.

I also had to share with you all the brilliance of this book -and upon landing, I cleverly slipped the magazine into my carry-on and walked off the plane. Sneaky – yet beyond clever.

There were too many favorite passages to choose from – but I felt that this one best exemplified what the book is about:

“For a long time I have been trying to get to the bottom of this relationship we have with our clothes and why we love or hate them and what they mean to us and how we are linked to them in all their intimacy with our own bodies.  I have been thinking these thoughts not as a fashion historian or as someone capable of making pronouncements about style, or who can explain how Alexander McQueen cuts a jacket or how to put together a look.  I once went to the Paris collections and gazed in incomprehension at the Dior show, the models lifting their feet like hooves, galloping along the runway at top speed like racehorses, and had to wait until the next day to buy the International Herald Tribune and have it all explained to me by fashion journalist Suzy Menkes. The pleasure of Dior show – my own name in beautiful copperplate inscribed on a card actually glued to my numbered seat, the massed photographers with their lenses glittering under the lights, the intense beauty of the clothes – all suffused me with profound wonder, like a man who has been looking at the stars in his background through a pair of binoculars and is suddenly allowed to gaze at the universe through the Hubble telescope.  But I didn’t actually understand anything. I am not a fashion writer, just an amateur enthusiast.”

It was only till I reached my hotel room, and unpacked my bag when I realized that on the side of the magazine, it stated, in bold lettering no less:


So I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was..



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