LITERATURE

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

St. Martin’s. Jun. 2019. 256p. illus. ISBN 9781250173539. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250173546. MEMOIR
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Ford’s newest work (after Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul) is not your typical memoir. While chronicling her life growing up with “Dashiki” parents in a “Dickies town,” the author relates her story to the cultural and sociopolitical importance of African American style. According to Ford, one’s wardrobe can speak volumes to one’s pride in their culture. For instance, wearing a dashiki can signify black militancy or recognition of African customs. It can also be a practical choice of clothing, adaptable to the environment while being chic (e.g., hair styles). This is especially apparent during Ford’s formative years in Indiana and, later, attending a boarding school in the northeast. Indeed, Ford’s recollections of living in a segregated Midwestern neighborhood comprise the strongest passages, employing her family, friends, and community as examples of transitions in black style. Chapters delving into adulthood, motherhood, and identity continue the balancing act of style and history established at the beginning of the work.
VERDICT A winning look at black girl fashion and a solid addition for all collections

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