Thursday, August 18, 2016

LYNN STEWARD - Author Guest Post

Fashion and New York in the 70s.

As abrupt as the firing of Diana Vreeland as the editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1971, women’s clothes immediately began to reflect the seriousness of the times. And no one understood or represented the seventies’ woman better than Grace Mirabella, Vreeland’s successor. She replaced fashion-fantasy spreads of the sixties with all-American chic and girl-next-door models like Lauren Hutton. Classic, timeless styles appropriate for active and professional woman. Suits and sportswear became  known as ‘investment clothes” in quality fabrics of good taste: English tweeds, double-faced wool, Viyella, wool jersey, and cashmere. There was a craving for lasting value and tradition.

With full schedules and busy days, the new American woman chose small boutiques offering personal service, requiring department stores to re-think retailing to create the shop-within-a-shop concept.


As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.

Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.


Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.

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