Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life

Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life

by Tracy Tynan


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“Tracy Tynan uses the universal medium of clothing to tell the highly specific story of her bohemian British upbringing, and she does so with wit, candor, and yes—style” (Lena Dunham).

Tracy Peacock Tynan grew up in London in the 1950’s and 60s, privy to her parents’ glamorous parties and famous friends—Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Orson Welles. Cecil Beaton and Katharine Hepburn were her godparents. These stylish showbiz people were role models for Tracy, who became a clotheshorse at a young age.

Tracy’s father, Kenneth Tynan, was a powerful theater critic and writer for the Evening Standard, The Observer, and The New Yorker. Her mother was Elaine Dundy, a successful novelist and biographer, whose works have recently been revived by The New York Review of Books. Both of Tracy’s parents, particularly her father, were known as much for what they wore as what they wrote.

In her “moving, candid, and often hilarious” memoir (Wall Street Journal), Tracy recalls her father’s dandy attire and her mother’s Pucci dresses, as well as her parents’ rancorous marriage and divorce, her father’s prodigious talents and celebrity lifestyle, and her mother’s lifelong struggle with addiction. She tackles issues big and small—relationships, marriage, children, stepchildren, blended families, her parent’s decline and deaths, and her work as a costume designer—with humor, insight, and with the special joy that can only come from finding the perfect outfit. “A powerful concoction of famous names, famous fashions, and famous psychiatric disorders…Wear and Tear is just the thing for a weekend in the Hamptons” (New York Post).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501123696
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 07/11/2017
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Tracy Tynan is a costume designer and writer living in Los Angeles. Her credits include the movies The Big Easy, Blind Date, Great Balls of Fire, and Tuesdays with Morrie. Wear and Tear is her first book.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Clothing? 1

Chapter 1 The Lemon-Yellow Underpants 7

Chapter 2 My Mother's Fur Coat 11

Chapter 3 The Pearl Necklace 17

Chapter 4 The Pale Blue Chemise 25

Chapter 5 School Uniforms: Purple, Blue, and None 35

Chapter 6 The Brown Wellington Boots 45

Chapter 7 Bikinis and Water Skis 53

Chapter 8 The Apple-Green Shoes 61

Chapter 9 The White Cotton Circle-Stitched Torpedo Bra 69

Chapter 10 White Jeans and White Denim Jacket 75

Chapter 11 My Mothers Pucci Dress 85

Chapter 12 The Gold Flapper Dress 91

Chapter 13 The Silver Chain and the Poncho 97

Chapter 14 Sexeapades and the Plaid Pinafores 107

Chapter 15 Twenty-One in Ossie Clark 117

Chapter 16 The One-Size-Fits-All Clothing That Fits in a Bag 129

Chapter 17 Pierrot 137

Chapter 18 The Brown Fedora and the Gold Lamé Jeans 143

Chapter 19 The Leisure Suit and Guayabera Years 155

Chapter 20 Black Is Black: Memorials 1, 2, and 3 165

Chapter 21 The Diaries and the Gold Watch 179

Chapter 22 The Chitenge 187

Chapter 23 The T-shirt Wedding Dress 193

Chapter 24 Breathless Beginnings: The Shirt-jac 203

Chapter 25 Freebies, '50s Glamour, and Funky Smells 213

Chapter 26 The Maroon Plaid Dress 217

Chapter 27 It Helps to Be Married to the Costume Designer: The Crepe de Chine Wedding Dress 229

Chapter 28 Great Balls of Fire! The Faux-Leopard-Trim Suit 233

Chapter 29 The Pink Knitted Cap 239

Chapter 30 The Striped Silk Socks 255

Chapter 31 The Pink Quartz Heart 261

Chapter 32 The Muji T-shirt 269

Chapter 33 The Ultimate Blended Family: More Wedding Attire 279

Chapter 34 The Black Trench Coat 283

Chapter 35 Glamour Togs 291

Chapter 36 Comfort with Style 297

Acknowledgments 303

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