What Shall I Read? (THIS BOOK)

by Erin on September 3, 2009


What Shall I Wear?

What Shall I Wear? is probably one of the most seminal books in fashion, at least for me. I'd rank it right up there with Fashion is Spinach, and that's saying something.

It was supposed to be released today, but Amazon is already showing it's out of stock — I'd order it now to be sure of getting one! Copies of earlier editions sell for well over US$100.

This is what McCardell had to say about her designs:

"For me, it's America—it looks and feels like America. It's freedom, it's democracy, it's casualness, it's good health. Clothes can say all that."

The whole book is inspiring. I heartily recommend it.

Weirdly, we only have one pattern tagged "Claire McCardell" on the wiki. Hmm. I'll have to see what we can do about that!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Simeone September 3, 2009 at 10:22 am

Oh, dear, this now makes Number 513 on my Amazon Wish List . . . !

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Packrat September 3, 2009 at 10:31 am

Random, but why is she slouching? Someone should have smacked her between her shoulder blades. Just saying.

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the_lazymilliner September 3, 2009 at 10:48 am

Shes slouching toward Gomorrah, Packrat. Btw, I tried to find this book in the Chicago Public Librarys online catalog. Nothing! Drats.

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lucitebox September 3, 2009 at 10:56 am

Its not that easy to find this book anymore. When I was looking, every time it came up on eBay, I got outbid! I give up. Send me the re-issue. Stat. (Seriously–how many books are on my wish list? Geez.)

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Susannah September 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

Yes, her posture is insane. I wish someone would write a history of fashionable posture and deportment because those round-shouldered Victorian belles are pretty messed up too.

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Joni September 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

The cover illustration reminds me of why I dont like that style of sleeve. Armpit peephole = not a good look.Thanks for the heads-up on the book, Erin… its going on my must-read! list. Along with about eleventy-billion others. (Id have more time for reading if I wasnt sewing. I blame the Conspiracy.)

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tcarole September 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I think the slouching must be so that she can end up on this blog: http://brokendollpose.tumblr.com/

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CathyB September 3, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Not in Erins new county library system, either.

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Latter-Day Flapper September 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Your November 11, 2008 entry is also a McCardell, but it is not tagged as such.

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Melanie September 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm

My back hurts just looking at her! Guess this is one reason vintage clothing can fit so oddly.

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Ms. B @ Millie Deel September 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Frim what Ive seen almost all of the models stances where like that back then. They would pitch their pelvis forward and curve their shoulders forward. Have no idea why. Thanks for posting about this, Im off to order it now. It looks like its available again!

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Chromatic Rat September 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Hey, I see that Powells Books has the new edition on order and not yet sold out:http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781585679706

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Beth B September 3, 2009 at 6:42 pm

That posture is what was called the debutante slouch. Tres chic in its day.

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Chantelle September 3, 2009 at 8:25 pm

The debutante slouch? Did young ladies actually go to school to learn it as part of learning to sit and walk correctly?When I first saw it I thought it had something to do with her underpinnings.

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Lisa @ the Vintage Fashion Library September 3, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I actually just picked up a book about Claire McCardell today at the library. They have this book too, but its a reference book, darn it, and doesnt circulate. Id have to go downtown to get it. Must order the new one.

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Some Like it Vintage.com September 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Wow, would love, love, love to get my hands on that book!

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Theresa September 4, 2009 at 7:47 am

I love the pattern that is on the wiki. Her slouch is no worse than the wieid way Paris Hilton always poses in pictures.

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dulcet September 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

Lisa–whats the title of that other book you got?

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nomm is ... September 6, 2009 at 4:23 am

Thank you for the link to Fashion is Spinach – simply perfect reading for my upcoming holiday.

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sheryl nd September 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

Ummm….My Baker Taylor book vendor account says that the book has been cancelled! My Ingrams BWI vendor accounts dont mention that, so Im hoping its not true.

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Lizzie September 13, 2009 at 7:49 am

Ive been looking for this book forever too, and I know that someday Ill find an original on the shelves of my local used bookstore. In the meantime, Ive ordered this one, just because.

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Ms. B @ Millie Deel October 20, 2009 at 11:08 am

I just got the cancellation email from Amazon for this. They dont know if they will ever be getting any more in. There is one used copy available for $999.99 however!!!! Disappointment!!!

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