cover image Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown: Notes from a Single Girl's Closet

Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown: Notes from a Single Girl's Closet

Adena Halpern, Author . Gotham $25 (245p) ISBN 978-1-59240-221-2

Halpern, a 30-something writer for Marie Claire , rehashes her life's pinnacles and pitfalls, epitomized by the clothing that marks seminal moments. Target undies constitute her covert economic side; the Vera Wang is her "breakup" gown, worn in solitude to buoy her spirits. Between these two extremes, each garment in Halpern's sartorial spectrum hooks to a stage in her life—from the Madonna-inspired do-rag that wowed her suburban high school to the hideous Lycra flower dresses in pre-Barneys Los Angeles, an omen that she's erred in moving there after attending college in New York. "Fashionista, I am not," she claims, but six-inch platforms, Fair Isle sweaters and Dolphin shorts induce torrents of memories relived in vivid, intimate detail. Prone to shopping benders, Halpern fixates on clothes to a frightening degree; her biggest romantic challenge is never to repeat a date outfit. Yet she has serious wit up her sleeve, belying her shallow posturing. Her shrewd eye for the image culture and its throttlehold over women, herself included, touches on the pressures of perfection. At times, Halpern overstates her points with an endless parade of anecdotal outfits. But her bubbly, sisterly writing glosses over any downers, freeing readers to bask in wardrobe nostalgia. (July)