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Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm Paperback – March 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Later Printing edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811834514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811834513
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.4 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Kate Minola on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this as research for a novel. That being said, there are only a few things that are dated in this book in my opinion-- things like how to make liquid shampoo and rinse it out if you don't have access to unlimited running water, how to use deodorant with dress shields, a balanced diet should include salt, and much advice on how to choose hats. I expected as much. I expected quite a lot more batting eyes and staying mousy-quiet to catch a man, to be honest, considering the time period.

Herein lies the surprise: the emphasis in this book is on how to be a classy individualist without being a stuffy bore. The authors carefully take into account that all women aren't the same, and shouldn't be. They even admit it might be advantageous for a working woman to swear in the office to get things done. What a couple of saucy dames these women are!

The first section encourages women to come up with a personal and practical style without sucking out the fun. They ignore the rules in fashion magazines (which appear to be the same rules in fashion mags today) and present everything you might need to know head-to-toe with simple rules.

For example, the placement and angle of your rouge is not as important as making sure it blends in gradually with your natural color. The only rule for hair is "Does it look like it would be pleasant to touch?" And my favorite, "If being on a diet makes you jumpy and irritable, it probably isn't worth your effort. Everyone prefers a few extra pounds to a shrewish disposition." Bravo!

Similarly, the second part, about charming others, uses this simple rule for etiquette: "The only bad manners are those which are unkind or which contribute to another person's discomfort." There. Emily Post in one line.
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165 of 173 people found the following review helpful By April Blake VINE VOICE on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
The first half of this book is absolutely antiquated in its beauty and fashion tips, but these are the shallower aspects of charm and are expected to be more or less ephemeral. If you pay attention to the title, Better Than Beauty: A Guide to Charm, it's clear that the authors did not set out to be the once and forever final word on beauty and fashion. Also, if you can get past the advice that changing one's undies every other day is acceptable, you'll still find a lot of timeless advice on how to choose clothes, makeup and hairstyles that flatter you.

You'll find real wisdom in Part 2 of this book, however. This is the portion of the Guide to Charm that speaks to the aspects of culture that transcend clothing, makeup and hair styles. This is where you're going to find advice on how to ACT to get along better. The authors highlight the importance of putting yourself in the place of the people you interact with: treat them the way you want to be treated. Sound familiar? Some of you will still find this advice dated, and that's fine. This book is not for you then. But for those of you who know you can get contemporary fashion and beauty advice elsewhere, but want a friendly reminder on how to be charming on the inside, not artificial, pick up this book and go straight to Part 2. You'll find that real charm never goes out of style.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Gwen Chabot Muir on April 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
At a young age I found a beauty and lifestyles manual from the 1930s/1940s in my local public library. Sadly that title is no longer in the stacks. "Better Than Beauty: A Guide to Charm" is a wonderful substitute. To the modern eye, the advice on fashion and exercise may seem out of date. But some basic facts will never change. A well groomed lady is always a welcome creature.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is such a sweet book and very interesting. It is old fashioned of course but the advice contained is as relevant as ever. Advice such as don't try and be a performer and remain interested in other people without focusing on eclipsing them is never going to go out of style. The essence of charm, according to this book, is really to mind your manners but also be yourself and be considerate of others. A lot of the beauty advice as well is still relevant too. A lovely read for a Sunday afternoon.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By here now on July 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was originally published in 1938 and then again in 2002, but 90%-95% of this book's knowledge can still be applied today, proving that class never goes out of style. It is a fun read that reminds you of this fact with nice real life examples. You can obviously tell when some info may not apply. But most of the info is basic manner/etiquette type stuff.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By L. Ethridge on June 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
Before you purchase this book, you may want to know it was first published in 1938. I didn't know this when I bought it, but I am glad I did.

Some of the advice is outdated, such as tips for getting the shampoo out of your hair when you have a limited water supply, and the short section on hats and gloves.

I am suprised at how pertinent this information is to today. It is a timeless book of practical advice that your wouldn't find in a book of style. It covers style, and goes beyond.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kate Jayne on February 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Even though some of the wisdom in this book is out of date (like washing hair once a week), there is still plenty of great advice. I loved reading this and have even put some of the advice to work (with great results). If you want to learn how to be a lady of class and charm this is a must read! Not only will you learn a lot, you will laugh at the authors' subtle wit. Definately a great book!
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