A good handbag makes the outfit. Only the rich can afford cheap shoes. The only thing worse than being skint is looking as if you're skint.'
For centuries, an interest in clothes has been dismissed as the trivial pursuit of vain empty-headed women. Yet, clothes matter, whether you are interested in fashion or not because what we choose to dress ourselves in defines our identity. For the immigrant arriving in a new country to the teenager who needs to be part of the fashion pack or the woman turning forty who must reassess her wardrobe, the truth is that how we look and what we wear, tells a story. And what a story. THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER tells us how a woman's hat saved her life in Nazi Germany, looks at the role of department stores in giving women a public place outside the home, savours the sheer joy of finding the right dress. Here is the thinking woman's guide to our relationship with what we wear: why we want to look our best and why it matters. THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER celebrates the pleasure of adornment
Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006, and was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2002 for Still Here. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award.