Delighted to be sharing my review today as part of the Blog Tour for the fabulous CLOTHES.AND OTHER THINGS THAT MATTER by ALEXANDRA SHULMAN. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of RandomThingsTours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
ABOUT THE BOOK
In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity. By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the ex Editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.
PUBLISHED BY CASSELL
PRAISE FOR CLOTHES… AND OTHER THINGS THAT MATTER
Book of the Week – OBSERVER
‘A must-read memoir for even those beyond the fashion set.’ — EVENING STANDARD
Best books of the year – FINANCIAL TIMES
Best memoirs of the year – DAILY MAIL
‘Self-deprecating and stylish, this is sure to become a classic.’ — VANITY FAIR
‘Warm, thought-provoking and honest.’ – VICTORIA HISLOP
‘What do clothes really mean? If there’s anyone who can answer that question, it’s former British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman. The little black dress, the white shirt, the bikini – they all get their moment in the spotlight, as Shulman considers their role in her life and in ours – prompting funny, forceful meditations on topics ranging from celebrity and body image to love and failure. When we choose what to wear, she says, we’re not only revealing our personal histories, we’re also shaping our futures. Because, while they might not exactly make us, clothes do help determine where life takes us. Revealing and self-deprecating, the book glints with shrewd social observation and intriguing snippets of fashion history.’ – PORTER
‘Such a great read – so open and honest and funny. I devoured it in one sitting.’ — KIRSTY WARK
‘Clever, emotionally intelligent, revelling in style without making us yearn to shop.’ — THE TIMES
‘Scintillating reading.’ — THE SPECTATOR
‘Thoughtful, wry and candid.’ — MAIL ON SUNDAY‘
In three dozen tidy, perceptive essays, the former editor-in-chief of British Vogue explores the semiotics of clothes and her relationship with bikinis and boiler suits,white shirts and Chanel jackets (“the epitome of status dress for the successful magazine executive,” she writes). A handy read for those wanting a deeper understanding of modern dress.’ – FINANCIAL TIMES
‘Alexandra Shulman’s style is unaffected, immediate and hilariously dry. She’s brilliant at observing everyday feelings in a joy-sparking turn of phrase – but better still she has made me feel so much better about owning too many clothes. Instead of doing a ruthless edit I find myself curating my own private exhibition – inside my wardrobe hang not just clothes, not just stories but my own autobiography.’ – HELENA BONHAM CARTER
‘Shulman weaves memory, history and anecdote with observations about working life. An early mentor tells her that no matter how few the words “you have to tell a story”, and this advice makes for compelling reading.’ – TLS
Best summer reading – GUARDIAN
‘Shulman’s wardrobe might be larger than many of our own, but it holds the same mix of memories, online splurges, the hits and misses as well as the vortex we all get sucked into while shopping for a new life-changing item. I’m also with her on the quest to find the right pink lipstick, which thus far has proved elusive.’ – THE GLOSS
‘Beautiful, nostalgic, wry, clever company.’ – SOPHIE DAHL
‘It’s funny, honest and in typical Shulman style mixes high and low effortlessly. We don’t know many people who can write about bras, Donald Tusk and Madeleine Albright all in the same sentence.’ — A LITTLE BIRD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016.
I expected this to be a stylish read, and I haven’t been disappointed! It’s a wonderful mix of looking back over a life devoted to fashion, and all those memories that just a single item of clothing can evoke in us all!
I found myself smiling so many times as Alexandra looks back at different items of clothing over the years that have meant so much to her, and the world of fashion from the humble little black dress, to the white shirt, t-shirts, handbags and bras! There’s so much that made me think back to my own life through clothes I’ve worn – the successes and failures! – and I loved just how relatable her style of writing was!
She uses items of clothing to represent how different items define us at different stages in our lives, and the emotional bonds we build up over an item that carries memories of our own, and that of those closest to us. And how 2020 has made us look at clothing and fashion so differently!! Will we ever be able to break out of our comfort clothing style now?!
I loved the glimpses into her working life and found that part really interesting to see her journey progressed and how clothes became even more important to her to make a statement and the responsibility she had when working in fashion. She shares many stories of famous people she has worked with and met, and how even she finds clothes shopping can be a wonderful experience or a completely deflating one!!
This is one of those books that I think will connect with so many of us! It has brought back so many memories to me while reading and how styles have changed over the years – some good, some bad!! – and I just found it to be such a treat to read and highly recommend it!