cover image Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion

Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion

Tanisha C. Ford. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-17353-9

Ford, a professor of history and Africana Studies, follows up 2015’s Liberated Threads with this thoughtful memoir in which “clothes are never just garments.” She traces her journey from industrial Fort Wayne, Ind., through boarding school on the East Coast (where she had to balance the baggy jeans she loved and the Mary Janes the preppy kids were wearing) and a year of college in Atlanta (where the lure of knee-high boots eventually surrendered to the desire to move back to Indiana, where her young son was living with her parents), to a protest of the death of Michael Brown (where hoodies, which were utilitarian for the factory workers of Fort Wayne and fashionable for their kids, became political) and a Louis Vuitton store on Fifth Avenue in New York. The dashiki runs through it all, beginning as a symbol of her parents’ individualism in the 1970s and continuing as a shorthand for their dreams for her. Ford sprinkles in the history and politics of the styles she highlights as well as a deep affection for her mother, the first style icon she knew. Her knowledge of fashion and her love for the women who influenced her style makes this appealing for anyone who’s ever loved a piece of clothing. Agent: Tanya McKinnon, McKinnon McIntyre. (June)