Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fashion Forward -- The Little Black Book of Style

Many years ago, when the hubby and I were "Dinkys", we traveled to places like Rome and Paris, Milan and Versailles. The cities were amazing, the food exquisite. But I was completely entranced with the Italian and French women. They take their fashion SERIOUSLY over there. And it never occurred to me before then that maybe my belt should match my shoes. Or that one's purse and coat play as big a part in creating a certain "look" as the rest of the attire.

I came back from those trips smarter and inspired. And it showed in my wardrobe. But then I got pregnant and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I traded my Ann Taylor suits for Target track pants and Donna Karan blouses for cheap t-shirts.
I've stayed with this super casual uniform for years. But then came the literary kick in the butt from Nina Garcia in the form of "The Little Black Book of Style."

Nina grew up with a fashion-obsessed, sophisticated mother who knew herself and her style well. Nina is also a fashion director for Elle Magazine and is a fashion judge on Project Runway. In short? She knows her stuff.

What I liked:

The book is a quick read. Nina addresses fashion issues in a breezy and humorous way. The overall voice in the book is fun and friendly. Think fashion talk over lunch with your most fabulous girlfriend.

Her overall message? One doesn't have to spend a fortune in order to create a great look. Buy classic, quality clothing that you can use for years. Then splurge on the occasional "love at first sight, I HAVE to buy this because its so amazing" items. Also, use accessories to create drama. And don't forget to buy good quality, pretty, pretty shoes too! ( She even goes into "toe cleavage". This resulted in me buying a super sexy pair of red heels which the hubby LOVES.)

The biggest helpers for me? The chapter on "How to dress when there is a dress code area". (details what sort of attire is expected in various social settings) and how to "edit" your wardrobe.

There are darling illustrations by Ruben Toledo interspersed within the pages as well as inspirational quotes from style icons and designers. But I did find myself wishing she'd give us some examples of what looks fabulous and what doesn't. I dress fairly conservatively and have a difficult time (when it comes to myself) differentiating a "Wow" from "Over the top" look.

Overall, the book is a fun read. And I've got several friends who can't wait for me to finish this review so they too can learn from the formidable Nina.

This review was written on behalf of Parent Bloggers Network. Check out their site for a list of other reviews.

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