Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I'm Reading: How to Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi

I bought this book a few months back at a Half Price Books Outlet (meaning it cost like $2) and at the time I was deep into Project Runway: All Stars, watching Isaac Mizrahi on TV every week. Then I read one of Tim Gunn's books, where he speaks not too highly of Isaac, so I sort of set the book aside until now.

The beginning of the book discusses all the normal things you'll read in any book on style. Embrace your body, have confidence, dress appropriately and spend your money wisely. Then there is a questionnaire to make you start thinking about your own style: what five items can't you live without? what's the one item you wear again and again? etc. All of that part was kind of boring to me (I've simply read it too often), but the next section took real women and their answers to the questionnaire, and they were given makeovers to help with one specific style issue.

The makeover portion was fun (who doesn't love makeovers?). The style problems ranged from moms in a sea of endless denim, to women stuck in a rut of black clothes without color, to older women looking to stay young and vibrant. The makeover pages were full of mood boards, Isaac's specific clothing ideas, and tips for achieving a specific look.

One concept Isaac talked about a lot was "just looking". Going to a store to try on lots and lots and lots of items. Seriously, there was a photo of the studio where they shot the pictures for the book, and it was INSANE how much clothing they had to try on these ladies. How can you know what you like/what looks good unless you try different things? I put this thought into practice last week on a trip to a local consignment store. I was there to find some leggings and sandals, but while browsing I saw a denim skirt that I liked. I've never owned a denim skirt, finding them a tad dowdy, but I thought hey, why not? I was going to go into the dressing room anyway. And you know what? It looked awful. It DID look dowdy, and it made my already flat tushy look even worse. But now I know! My instincts were right on that one. And now my own fashion sense is that much more refined.

The final section of the book went over items that Isaac considers "must-have's" like different types of shoes, jewelry, and even bras (with insight provided by his female staff!). If you know you need to update your wardrobe but aren't sure where to start, this section is a great resource.

I enjoyed this book, seeing the transformations and finding inspiration. There were great follow-up questions with the ladies talking about how their lives have changed, just by changing their clothes. It reminded me to take those few extra minutes getting dressed, and what a difference it will make to my day.

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