REVIEW | Dressed in Dreams by Tanisha C. Ford

“Each time we stand before our closet to pick out our clothes, we make a series of choices about how we want to appear before the world. This is just as true for people who claim not to care about clothes as it is for self-proclaimed fashionistas. It’s because we recognize that the way we adorn ourselves communicates something about who we are and where we come from.”

Dressed in Dreams: a Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion by Tanisha C. Ford has easily been one of my favorite reads so far this year. Part history lesson in style, part coming-of-age tale, Dressed in Dreams lures readers into the world of a Midwestern Black Girl defining herself one wardrobe choice at a time.


The title bearing the words “love letter” is so fitting, as Ford shares an ode to the Jheri Curl, makes honorable mention of the Dopemans, head-nods baggy jeans, and gives three snaps for the beloved bamboo earrings. Each reference of course, is accompanied by a personal story that shaped Ford’s identity as a black woman in some way. And while devouring each story, I was reminded of how much of who we are is observed through our garments.

I enjoyed this book so much. Ford knew how fashion shaped our lives and how we as black people use fashion as a form of self-expression in the most creative ways. I smiled as I read each essay, reminiscing on my own fashion stories and how the thought of my skating rink attire at 15 brought back so many memories. And while the author and I may not have had the exact same experiences, I could relate to many of the sentiments she expressed. Every pair of doorknockers I’ve purchased, every pair of baggy POLO jeans I was passed down, and every hairstyle I tried throughout the years helped me realize the woman I wanted to be and gave me the power to control the version of myself I proudly displayed.

Thank you Tanisha C. Ford for sharing your stories with us. Special thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for a copy of this read in exchange for an honest review. To purchase a copy of your own, be sure to click the link here.

Have you read Dressed in Dreams by Tanisha C. Ford yet?
What's one garment you own that perfectly describes you as a person?
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