Need a Dress? Author Erin Mckean Has About 100



Erin McKeanAuthor Erin McKean has a thing about dresses, in particular, for iconic dress styles. That’s why she has recently released her new book on the topic, “THE HUNDRED DRESSES: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time (Bloomsbury).”

Says Erin, “I spend way, way too much time thinking about dresses — not just how they look, but how they make their wearers feel. After blogging about dresses for so many years (since 2005, which is like the Pleistocene, in blogger time) I wanted to collect all my favorite dress ‘types’ in one place. And of course, the Eleanor Estes book has always been a favorite, so I wanted to pay it a bit of homage with the title.”

The Breakfast at TiffanysErin recounts how the project itself took about six months of work, and 1 year of planning with the illustrator, Donna Mehalko. Apparently this was not too long. Says Donna, “For me this was a dream project. I happily researched and worked on the drawings for the book over the course of a year. I researched by sourcing as many  images  in books, magazines and online that I could find that related to the list of dresses Erin had given me.  My goal was to illustrate the dresses, but also, I  wanted to capture a person I thought would wear each dress. Her attitude and gesture.” She adds, “It was our editor Nancy Miller’s idea to use illustrations for the book. Illustrations allowed for specificity but not necessarily an exact depiction of any dress. I think there is some room for the reader’s imagination.”


The Classic Party Dress

The dresses have a variety of names, ranging from the Bandage to the Sack, the Baby-doll to the Siren; the Wench; the Sari; the Vreeland; the Wrap; the Austen; the Beckham; the Chanel; the Ingenue; the Caftan; the Jackie; the Slip Dress; and the Biohazard. On the naming protocol, Mckean says, “The dresses named themselves. That was one of the tests for iconicity — if I couldn’t describe the dress in a few words and have someone (preferably someone who wasn’t a dress-lover) know what it was, then it wasn’t really an iconic dress. It’s funny — Jennifer Lopez has probably worn thousands of dresses in her career, but when I said ‘The J.Lo dress’ people knew instantly that I meant the green plunging number from the Grammys! And when I say ‘the Space Empress’ people can picture that, too.”

The Bond GirlDespite her large variety of choices, the style she personally wears most often is dirndl-style dress (close-fitting bodice and full skirt). “I’m also a huge fan of the June Cleaver. I like a big full skirt — easy to move in, and you can wear them while riding a bike.”




The Flashdance