An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the worth of photos of old clothing? In the gorgeously packaged Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has paired short essays with beautifully sparse photos of their subject: old sweaters, shoes, jackets, and other sentimental apparel. But even more fun than the eccentric clothing is the diverse cast of creatives she’s assembled, from musicians (Roseanne Cash) to critics (Sasha Frere-Jones) to actors (Greta Gerwig) to comedians (John Hodgman) to artists who do a multitude of things (Maira Kalman). The tales are often steeped in nostalgia–a funny anecdote with a tinge of longing–but the sum of these anecdotes is something bigger, more universal. Old clothes have a particular smell, often not the same, but familiar to someone. ~ Kevin Nguyen
Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen. Other contributors include Greta Gerwig, Heidi Julavits, John Hodgman, Brandi Chastain, Marcus Samuelsson, Piper Kerman, Maira Kalman, Sasha Frere-Jones, Simon Doonan, Albert Maysles, Susan Orlean, Andy Spade, Paola Antonelli, David Carr, Andrew Kuo, and more. By turns funny, tragic, poignant, and celebratory, Worn Stories offers a revealing look at the clothes that protect us, serve as a uniform, assert our identity, or bring back the past—clothes that are encoded with the stories of our lives.