...[a] captivating memoir ... Ms. Tynan has written a moving, candid and often hilarious account of her tumultuous childhood in England and New York in the 1950s and ’60s ... Clothes are the warp and weave of “Wear and Tear.” Each chapter is cleverly organized around an item of dress.
...she does not end her memoir with the neat seam of her own fulfillment. Instead, she shows how time and chance stitched together and remade the family her parents left in tatters ... As you read, you marvel at the author’s resilience; the girl with the apple-green shoes acceded to a bigger role than she had ever expected, and found that she knew how to dress the part.
The conceit of Wear and Tear is that Ms. Tynan, who was born in 1952, recounts her life through the clothes she wore in each era: private-school uniforms and bikinis and apple-green shoes and plaid pinafores and Ossie Clark dresses. This works except when it feels forced, which is about half the time ... Wear and Tear is written cleanly and well, even if it deflates a bit each time Tynan and Dundy aren’t around. 'Watching them was like watching a horror movie,' Ms. Tynan writes. When the monsters slink off, our pulse rate declines.