I believe that some women have a better chance of filling their closets wisely, thus avoiding clutter, by gaining knowledge about how to dress and shop. Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear for Every Occasion (publication date 2010) is one of the books I would recommend to such a client. It is a funny, highly personal look at what-to-wear fashion: pants vs. dresses, when to go casual, time-honored tips, tricks and all. Look Book is indeed arranged by occasion, from job interview to New Year’s Eve Party. The occasions are grouped by themes such as “life events.”
But Garcia, the fashion director of Marie Claire magazine and a judge on Lifetime Television’s Project Runway, goes far beyond fashion. She offers opinions on everything from how to ask for a raise to surviving meeting your significant other’s parents; honors her charities of choice; and decorates her pages with irreverent, wise, timeless quotes of gifted people ranging from Amelia Earhart to Lauren Bacall. The quotes could be a book in themselves.
A reader will not, however, find guidance on how to dress. There are no formulas for accommodating body-shape, no hints about color choices. Unhappily, Garcia also engages in the common, bewildering-to-the-outsider habit of name-dropping – designers and their styles are referenced as if they are a reader’s quirky family members. And like many style editors, Garcia assumes that everyone knows the basics, concerning pattern, fabrics, etc., as she converses about options. I for one wish someone would explain bouclé. The book is not for beginners, but it is educational and entertaining.