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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved this Book!
I loved this Book! There were no glossy pictures of the latest fashions but that turned out to be a good thing because the advice becomes timeless. I now know how to tell a quality item from a cheap item and have been able to go into stores and disregard a lable and discern an item of true quality from an item poorly made. This alone was worth its weight in gold. I am...
Published on November 4, 2003 by jdevlin

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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author with no sense of style = bad fashion advice
The author, whose own disastrous clothing choices are shown in the unintentionally hilarious back-cover photographs, is clearly not qualified to dispense fashion advice. Reading this book confirmed my suspicions that this woman has absolutely no sense of style: for example, she thinks that a navy blazer is an indispensible item in EVERYONE's closet (not in mine,...
Published on October 7, 1999


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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author with no sense of style = bad fashion advice, October 7, 1999
By A Customer
The author, whose own disastrous clothing choices are shown in the unintentionally hilarious back-cover photographs, is clearly not qualified to dispense fashion advice. Reading this book confirmed my suspicions that this woman has absolutely no sense of style: for example, she thinks that a navy blazer is an indispensible item in EVERYONE's closet (not in mine, certainly; I look for clothes that are appropriate for various occasions but NOT so achingly dull and bland), and she assumes that because SHE doesn't wear high heels, no one else should, either. She also makes the laughable remark that while matching shoes and handbags were the norm in our mothers' and grandmothers' era, they are now considered "declasse" (this is nonsense: coordinated shoes and bags are aesthetically pleasing, and often serve to pull an outfit together). And she believes that if you have only one evening handbag, it shouldn't be black or gold, but some other color (I think most women would argue that a black evening bag is certainly the most versatile choice!).
Check out the sloppy, frumpy outfits this dame is wearing on the back of the book's dust jacket, and see if you don't agree that she is the LAST person you'd want to advise you on building a wardrobe. This book is irritating, useless and a complete WASTE OF MONEY.
(P.S.: More reliable wardrobe advice can be found in the "Chic Simple" book series, particularly the "What Should I Wear?" title. Although some of the examples shown herein are questionable, the overall clothes philosophy is more sound -- and the photographs of shoes are particularly inspiring.)
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Judge this book by its cover., July 22, 2000
By A Customer
Like other reviewers of this book, I too noticed that the outfits featured on the back cover were none too appealing. They are presumably very expensive outfits, though, and serve as visual notice of the type of advice contained in the book.
The advice on "building a wardrobe" is almost non-existent (one list of 10 "must-have" items is the sum total). Most of this book is devoted to descriptions of the clothing and retail industries, with long passages describing different types of fabric. Gershman is clearly a fan of haute couture, and much space is spent describing $500 "bargains" (picked up at shops around the world). She does not spend any time discussing color choice, and her idea of accessories is Hermes scarves, Chanel earrings, and fake flowers. She recommends flying yourself to New York twice a year to do your shopping.
If money, practicality, and closet space are not issues for you, you might find this book useful. The rest of us, however, have much better books to choose from. I recommend Linda Dano's "Looking Great," a book so essential to building a good wardrobe that I find myself coming back to it again and again.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip This One..., October 5, 1999
By A Customer
The author's biggest mistake was to use her own photographs on the back cover. Were these meant to be funny? She's dressed appallingly, awesomely, awfully.
It's tedious reading, with more emphasis on the theoretical, "scientific" study of the "politics" behind retail clothing sales than I, for one, am interested in. I didn't care for her tone, either, or the crude language.
Finally, I found her requirements for building a good wardrobe to be on the expensive side - because of this I don't think most people will be able to make use of her recommendations.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great for wealthy matrons, February 15, 2004
By 
This book contains the absolute best advice if you look like Suzy, think like Suzy, and have Suzy's enormous budget for clothing. Unfortunately, her personal style is much too matronly for me, and I'm 47 years old. She allows her personal -- and rather unfortunately, dismal -- taste dictate what she masks as general advice for all. One needs to look no further than the painfully hideous photo of her on the front cover, wearing gigantic pearls that threaten to engulf her head, which is in desperate need of an updated haircut.
Some of her advice is just plain bad. A navy suit for everyone? She forgets that not everyone has her skin and hair color nor has a need to dress in ultra-conservative, business attire. No black or gold purse for evening? That's fine if you have an unlimited budget to buy one of her $1,000 bargain purses in different colors to match all of your outfits. If you don't buy different colors, then you'll forever be stuck as the woman with the purple, pink, or whatever-color-you-choose purse. She may not personally like black, but it is indisputably one of the chicest and most sophisticated colors. Keep in mind that the advice on the book is being dispensed by the person parading in the insipid outfits on the back cover.
Although she does give a good insight behind the doors of the retail fashion industry, one still needs an annual multi-thousand dollar budget to even begin to take her advice. She also assumes that the reader, besides being incredibly wealthy, needs to dress in an ultra-conservative manner which allows little room for femininity or personal style. Come to think of it, I think Suzy would be the perfect fashion consultant for Queen Elizabeth of England - their styles are almost identical. My mother is nearly 70 years old and wouldn't be caught dead in some of the elderly fashions that the author is wearing. It is remarkable that anyone could take the advice on style in this book seriously.
I would, however, recommend this book to anyone whose idea of fashion includes adding color to a burlap bag. But then again, Suzy's idea of wearing huge fake flowers and baseball-sized pearls may or may not be an improvement. The target audience for this book is extremely limited and should be noted.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good bargain hunting techniques, poor wardrobe advice, March 4, 2002
By 
"schipperkebayan" (Portland, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
I really enjoyed reading the first half of the book. The author shares a lot of insider info about how apparel industries work, some of which I never heard of elsewhere. For example, she says that usually items you see on catalogs are 40 to 50 percent marked up (overpriced), which confirmed my belief in buying only from the overstock/sale section of a few well-reputed mail order merchants and never paying full price, except for very rare occasions. As a person who hate those fashion magazines full of unreachably priced designer dresses and their "Buy'em now, or you're a loser" sales pitches, I found this book very useful and informative---until I came to the latter half. From there, it went downhill. It became clear that she had no interests at all in those personal color theories by Carole Jackson, author of "Color Be Beautiful" and her colleagues that have influenced so much on how to dress ourselves wisely since the 80's.... Contrary to Ms.Gershman's advice, there is no one-ane-only set of must-haves for every one of us when it comes to clothes. Your wardrobe will look a whole lot better if it evolves around your own color groups....
I think Gershman missed her targeted readers completely, especially in the latter half of the book. Just look at those ridiculous prices frequently quoted in this book. She brags that a $400 handbag for travel is a bargain (perhaps only because it was marked down from nearly $1000?) and uses it as a back-up of her more expensive handbags. Now you get the idea...Besides, I find some of her word choices are disturbing and far from sophisticated. I really doubt the editor was paying close attention; otherwise it could not have filled with all those...jobs!
Although the latter part is worth only one star, the first half is good (I'll give it generous five stars), as I already said. I consider... this book is as well-spent as taking a non-credit Saturday class at my local community college. Considering half of those two-hour classes on self-help topics are wastes of time and money.... But you could have done much better going to the library first.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved this Book!, November 4, 2003
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"jdevlin" (Paradise, California United States) - See all my reviews
I loved this Book! There were no glossy pictures of the latest fashions but that turned out to be a good thing because the advice becomes timeless. I now know how to tell a quality item from a cheap item and have been able to go into stores and disregard a lable and discern an item of true quality from an item poorly made. This alone was worth its weight in gold. I am an avid thrift store shopper and cannot believe the beautiful items I have found there. Yesterday I pulled an Armani dress out of a jumble of clothing merely because I examined the stitching and fabric and knew I had a quality item. The lable was the last thing I looked at. However, it was no surprise that it turned out to be an Armani because the structure of the garment told me it was quality first. My copy is quickly becoming dog eared. If you do not have unlimited funds to spend on clothing do yourself a favor and buy this book so you can make the most of the money you do have available.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start to wardrobe basics, June 19, 2003
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This is a good basic start up guide to women who need help in refining their wardrobe, learn about fabrics, etc. The author shares her personal ideas on what to buy and when. Included in this book are tips on:
**style
**retail secrets
**wardrobe building
**basics
**accessories
**trends
Her suggestions are a little impractical for those not in a business environment (one of her tips is to buy 1 suit per season). She bases her wardrobe on jackets/blazers and suits/skirts. This may not be practical for the younger, more casual urban girl. But for those wanting to look more polished and put together, this book can give you a good start.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a quick read - but don't buy it, February 21, 2003
By A Customer
Do read the first half which is about the working of the fashion/ clothing/footwear industries - it'll help you decide what to make of anything full price at a fancy department store. The book also has sound advise on how to estimate what you should really be paying for things at retailers, discounters, outlets, etc
Skip the part where she gives wardrobe advice though - complete waste of time for anyone who cannot afford $ 1000 handbags !
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide, February 1, 2000
By A Customer
I found Suzy Gershman's book very informative and enlightening in the ways of the fashion industry. Some of her advice is excellent: trying on a collection of clothing BEFORE it goes on sale to see what pieces look good and would be worth buying - tbis is exactly the time-saving advice I need. Other pointers are geared less toward the typical reader - for example, buying incredibly expensive handbags and then never using them, so they remain in pristine condition, is just not an option for many women. But no "How-to" guide is meant to be followed to the letter, and many of the author's tips and fashion "musts" are going to find a way into my wardrobe. After reading this book I feel that I a) know what to look for in clothes in terms of both quality and style, and b) can make informed choices to spend my money more wisely. I liked this book so much, I have recommended it to my style-conscious friends and plan on buying my own copy. (Note to disgruntled reviewers: there's always the library!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's practice what we preach, May 23, 1999
By A Customer
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It's a good thing I bought this book through Amazon, because if I had taken one look at the garrish attire on the back cover, there would have been no sale. While the advice is handy, it's pretty much a regurgitation of everything mentionned in any other book on how to dress. If this is the first book you're purchasing on the subject, go ahead and buy it. Buy if you already have anything from the Chic Simple line or Elsa Klensch, you've already heard it.
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Best Dressed: The Born to Shop Lady's Secrets for Building a Wardrobe
Best Dressed: The Born to Shop Lady's Secrets for Building a Wardrobe by Suzy Gershman (Hardcover - January 1, 1999)
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