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on September 22, 2009
I have lots of style books - both Lucky manuals, the InStyle guide, Rachel Zoe's book, etc. - and Brooks's book is a good addition to the genre. She's doing something slightly different here: though she's divided the book into the standard styles (classic, bohemian, minimal, high fashion, street, and eclectic), she has lots of new things to say, and the text is more substantive than I expected. Brooks has an engaging and personal writing style; she talks about her life and includes lots of pictures of herself in different style phases. Though the book is clearly aimed at average women, Brooks is writing from the perspective of someone who works at Vogue (or is at least friends with lots of people who work at Vogue). She doesn't bother with the standard list of basics everyone should own (trench, white button-down, blah blah blah) and thankfully does not include a section on flattering different figures. She does include specific outfit ideas and advice about how to wear the items associated with particular styles. The best part of the book, though, is definitely the pictures. There are lots of fantastic photos of stylish women from the last hundred years that I had never seen before. As Brooks points out, they all still look great today. All in all, this one is worth buying, even if you have several style books already. The photos and advice are inspirational and Brooks has a likable voice.
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on November 22, 2010
I bought this book after obsessing over it for a couple days. The pictures, as have been mentioned in other reviews, are utterly gorgeous. But beyond that this is kind of a waste of money.

I wish this book didn't masquerade as a style manual as it's really all about Brooks, her journey through fashion and (as she makes quite clear) her very privileged position in the fashion world via her (very, VERY rich) familial background. Seriously, I laughed out loud when she claimed proudly that a $300 silk tank top is totally worth it because it lasts over a year. Her "thrifty" section just feels like a weak attempt to relate to us regular fashion-loving folks, and her idea of high-low mix in fashion feels more like her throwing a bone to people who can't happily splurge on $1000 pieces she got her hands on because a designer used her as a muse. I'm the last person to judge on spending exorbitant amounts of money on expensive clothing, but to present it as an everyday and perhaps NECESSARY thing for fashion lovers is kind of ridiculous.

And because it's all about her personal style, the sections are really quite limited to her personal experience. She clearly did very little, if any, research into the styles she talks about and she presents them as the end-all, be-all of acceptable style.

This book is a thinly veiled fashion autobiography, NOT a style guide, with some of the most absurd and useless style advice I've heard outside of Vogue and Elle. But hey, the pictures are lovely, as is the overall layout and design of the book. Although Brooks probably had little to do with cultivating either.
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on March 2, 2013
I bought this book figuring it would be similar to the Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style: a how to book about putting together a wardrobe. It turns out the book is way more high fashion, with a huge emphasis on designers and celebrities. Way too rich for my budget. It wasn't what I was looking for, but as a fashion art book it could be fun for someone thanks to all the great pictures.

With that in mind, I was going to give the book three stars, but I had to take one off due to an annoying theme running through the book where the author tries to convince the reader she's not rich. Seriously, she spends most of the book talking about her priviledged childhood and many designer friends, but insists she's just like everybody because when she went to college she didn't have as much money or clothes as her classmate, Diana Ross's daughter. Seriously? How does "Not as wealthy as a relative of one of the best selling musicians of all time" = "Not rich at all"? It gets very annoying, like when she shows us when her house was featured in Vogue magazine but insists she doesn't really live that way. I'm sure the author is a nice person, but she comes off as so naive that it's almost painful.
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on June 20, 2010
This book is so amazing it's pushed me to write my first Amazon review. I've collected a number of style and fashion books and was losing heart - there's only so many times I can read the same boring tips on what to wear to look thinner/taller/hide your flaws/show off your assets. Yawn.

This book is different - the author discusses style. True style - with images from now and the past to help you not just identify the different styles discussed, but to identify your own style icons (for example Brigitte Bardot? Ali McGraw?). This book is so great if you're looking to develop your own personal style, to be noticed for always looking pulled together and stylish or if you want to look like you're working with a stylist. The book also helps you to understand your own style, your personality and better ways to express the kind of person you are (or the person you feel like being that day) to everyone you pass. You'll feel like 'yourself' if what you're wearing expresses how you feel and who you are, or want to be.

The author covers off a few traditional styles - such as classic and bohemian, which she calls 'identifiable styles'. Each chapter shows examples of clothing and styling for that style. The chapter also shows you different variations of each style - for example in bohemian she covers off different kinds of bohemian - vintage bohemian, rock goddess bohemian, ethnic bohemian; to show you the different takes on each look.

She also looks into indefinable styles (such as street style, which she smartly advises people look at books like Nylon's Street Style; and high fashion).

This book is great for if you're looking to define your style, or to style your looks beyond the basics of looking 'good' to looking 'styled' and 'stylish'.
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on September 24, 2009
I'm shocked at how good this book is. There are so many personal style/ inspiration books out there, that repeat the same information over and over again ("basics", "LBDs", etc.), and I have been disappointed in most of them ("Who What Wear", "Style Clinic", etc.) However, this book has great photographs from various decades (rare in most style books), does not assume you have no idea how fashionably dress, and is organized in a simple, easy to follow format. Don't let the simple cover, and terrible "inside view" on Amazon fool you- there's a wealth of info inside this book.
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on January 29, 2012
I enjoyed looking at all of the photos in this book, but I can't say I learned that much. The book is written almost too subjectively that there is a lack of real style advice for most readers. For example, Amanda goes into her childhood memories of fashion, about her parent's fashion, etc. and it's not that helpful or applicable for the reader. I wish there was more balance of personal stories with objective advice for all readers looking to improve their fashion style. It felt like more of a memoir than helpful style advice. Again, I enjoyed the photos, so it's worth buying, but overall I rate it a 3 star.
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on October 28, 2009
As a colour and image consultant (I'm also a decorator) I own a lot of books on style, fashion, body shapes etc. I totally agree with A.K. that so much is repeated in most books, that it is rare to find anything of value in them. Most writers start out with the goal of inspiring women - but merely descend into lists of wear this/don't wear that. BUT this book is a CORKER! It fills in the gaps, joins the dots, makes that gigantic leap from theory to very do-able practical in a way I have never seen before. And it is INSPIRING!! I felt so excited when I started this book - it is unique and will speak to you no matter where you are in your style journey. It also covers unique styles of dress. As the book quotes, style doesn't just happen - you need to study it. This book is the perfect text - and a highly readable and up-to-the-minute one at that.
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on December 19, 2011
This book is unique and will speak to you no matter where you are in your style journey. The information in this book applies to all women and is timeless in its approach.

This book is great for if you're looking to define your style, or to style your looks beyond the basics of looking 'good' to looking 'styled' and 'stylish'.

The author discusses a few traditional styles - such as classic and bohemian, which she calls 'identifiable styles'. Each chapter shows examples of clothing and styling for that style. The chapter also shows different variations of each style - for example in bohemian she covers off different kinds of bohemian - vintage bohemian, rock goddess bohemian, ethnic bohemian; to show you the different takes on each look.

There's a wealth of info inside this book. I often think of the information in this book as I prepare for my day.
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on January 21, 2012
Yeah, go to the library. It's definitely a fun book to look through, a pretty book, and if you are really into high fashion and photography and Vogue and all that, you might like to own it. But for us ordinary mortals who would like to "Define and Refine Your Personal Style" - the book's subtitle - it's useless.

I found The Color of Style by David Zyla to be similar. He does costume design for daytime television. He could have written a fascinating memoir about how he developed styles for particular actresses and the characters they played, but instead he tried to offer advice for normal women and fell flat on his face.The Color of Style: A Fashion Expert Helps You Find Colors that Attract Love, Enhance Your Power, Restore Your Energy, Make a Lasting Impression, and Show the World Who Y

If I dressed in ways recommended by these books I would be deeply in debt. And here in Pittsburgh, especially in the "upper-lower" class neighborhood I live in, where people are just getting by, people would say "Who the hell does she think she is."
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on March 17, 2010
I must say that this book is useful and fun. It is a personal tome on the evolution of the author's style, and she opens her closet and photo albums and fashion scrapbooks to show us what she's discovered along the way. I read it thinking of my own style refining and playing and experimenting and laughed along with her admissions of fashion faux pas, recalling my own. The book feels like a fashion and life scrapbook that anyone who loves fashion might keep--photos clipped from magazines, books spanning many fashion decades, of anything visually inspiring, and of dynamic women wearing clothing that obviously makes them feel beautiful. I find Amanda Brooks' book a kind of condensed reference guide for weekly fashion inspiration reminders.

Another thing that makes this book usable is its size and heft. It's a well-made soft-covered book with high quality paper stock and very nice graphic design. It feels good in the hand, and provides many hours of pleasurable reading. The writing is unhurried and funny at times, and she's spot on about where to find great fashion treasures (grandmother's closet, vintage, world markets, boyfriend's closet, etc), what to scrimp on and what to splurge on, how to look for a garment's tailoring quality, but not about fake fur, or novelty socks (sorry! I love my carefully curated collection of Paul Smith, striped and animal print socks which I wear discreetly underneath boots and long pants--my little secret.). Her industry knowledge comes through, as do her connections to designers and access to copious amounts of beautiful designer clothing, which she attempts, not all that convincingly, to downplay by talking about budget and restraint and careful editing.

What I do appreciate about the tone of the book is that it's written by an adult woman who is looking back on her own fashion discoveries and charmed life (so far--she's still just in her 30's--lots more learning to do, right?), as if she's talking to a girlfriend. It's not didactic, unlike so many fashion how-to books. Any thoughtful reader is going to take or leave elements of a book she reads, as she is going to do about what she wears. This is the book for the woman who knows and trusts her own style already--she's just looking for even more inspiration and co-conspiracy.
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