The Lucky Shopping Manual:
Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece
by Kim France and Andrea Linett
Rating: Five out of a possible five Jimmy Choo pumps
I've seen The Lucky Shopping Manual advertised in Lucky: The Magazine About Shopping and Style for quite a while (it was published in 2003) and I always thought What could I possibly learn from this book that I don't get from the mag? So I resisted buying it despite the compellingly simple yet striking cover.
Well, I love this book. (Although it took me a few minutes to get used to not seeing a price and a website listed next to each item pictured.) It's broken up into 14 chapters (for example Skirts, Tops, Pants, Jeans, Shoes, Jackets). There are also seven "Lucky Girl" profiles (one with designer Shoshanna Lonstein who really loves to wear white) which feature peaks at choice items from the ladies' closets, and author profiles of France and Linnet.
The intro talks about why these two fashion-lovers wrote the book: "We wanted to show real women how to put together realistic, truly chic looks with clothing already hanging in their closets (or shoved in the hamper), while inspiring them to go out and shop." Mission accomplished, says Material Girl.
Each chapter in the manual features tips on fit and styling, best shapes for various body types, how to wear items in multiple seasons, what to splurge on not and to save on, and what you really need in your closet from each category. I found the fit and styling tips particularly helpful (I just spent nearly $200 having some items tailored), as well as the recurring In the Fitting Room sidebars. (Example in the Pants chapter: They advise wearing the right shoes, taking a walk, having a seat, and listening to your legs when it comes fabric feel. Simple yet helpful.)
But what I really took away from this book is the notion of editing my closet. Reading this manual made me want to sort and purge and really consider quality and fit. You see, Material Girl is a hoarder. I have lots of stuff. Lots. And there's a fraction of it I seldom if ever wear. (Does this sound familiar, fellow shoppers?) One needs a short list of essential pieces and some fun stuff to go along with them. (You can never have too many accessories.) From Lucky mag you get ideas on how to put pieces together in ways you may not have considered. From The Lucky Shopping Manual you learn what those key pieces are and how they can best fit your body. This is a book you really will want to refer to again and again and an essential purchase for your fashion book shelf. Shop on lucky girls!