Monday, October 15, 2007

Style Book Review

Dress Your Best
by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London
(Three Rivers Press)

Rating: Four out of a possible five Jimmy Choo pumps

I've been trying my best not to shop lately--we've just had a vacation and an out-of-town wedding and Cheapy is concerned about this size of our impending credit card bills. I've been doing OK so far--with the exception of the Stuart Weitzman boots below which were un-pass-up-able and a 50% off dress at Macy's the other day. Oh, and a vintage mink wrap from eBay for less than $30, because every woman should have some mink, but I decided a whole coat is rather vulgar, while a stole is elegant and could keep me warm at the movies.

Anyway, in the interest of trying not to shop too much I decided to do some reading about style instead and, of course, share my opinions with you, fellow shoppers, in a new recurring Material Girl feature, the Style Book Review.

The first book on my list is Dress Your Best, by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London of TLC's What Not To Wear. I will here publicly admit that if I was pinned down, I would have to say that What Not to Wear is my favorite show if the definition of favorite show is: 1) The show I spend the most hours each week watching; and 2) The show I generally pick first on the DVR list if I'm home alone, even before Sex and the City reruns and possibly before the latest episode of Gossip Girl. (Material Girl is a sucker for makeovers.)

I didn't have high expectations for this book because often books based on TV shows suck. I was pleasantly surprised, however. It's set up in sections for Women and Men, and features an array of body shapes and three heights under each type (petite, average, and tall). Sections for women include Bigger on Top, Bigger on the Bottom, A Little Extra in the Middle, Curvy, Not Curvy, and Extra Curvy (their way of saying plus size) . Each body type features a model and each model gets three looks--work, weekend, evening. I was a little bummed when I saw the dressing-for-26-body-types set up, because I figured only 7 or so of the 250 plus pages would apply to me. I read my section first (Curvy, Petite) and got a few good tidbits, such as tips on jacket length and that I can wear emerald green (who knew). Each section offers some good tips for everyone, however, in the form of call-out boxes on every page offering Universal Tips. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Don't be afraid to mix patterns like florals and animal prints, but don't let either over power your outfit. (Material Girl loves pattern mixing as long as it's not drunken pattern mixing.)
  • For a new twist on an old shoe, add shoe clips. (Material Girl smells an eBay search--that's so my-mom-at-the-prom!)
  • Go crazy for evening. Mix your metallics! (Material Girl has been waiting for permission to do this.)
Overall, the book offers that same tell-it-like-it-is voice as the show. The photography is very nice. And it's a bonus that you can get some tips for improving the look of the man in your life. (Cheapy, that means you.) Another bonus is a good 5-page illustrated glossary (which could easily be twice as long, and I wish it was). This is a fabulous book to keep in the bathroom--because why not get some style tips while you're, ehem, sitting there.

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