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534 of 549 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2004
I am a French woman living in the US and have been looking for a book to teach my teenage daughter all the things that French women know about dressing well. This is THE book. It has everything. It covers subjects that may be covered elsewhere such as body type and flattering style, fit, how to build a wardrobe, what to invest in and what to have fun with. What I found most valuable, though, was how the author dispels the myths that fashion magazines promote. For example, she tells you how she prepares for a photoshoot and erases the myth of effortless good looks. She advocates that looking good is not about wearing the latest fashion, but knowing what makes you look good and wearing it. She outlines a basic wardrobe of timeless high quality basics that flatter and supplement with trendier and cheaper items that are fun but will not last as long in your wardrobe. This is how I dress and I can testify that it works.

I will be for ever grateful to my grandmother for teaching me to recognize when a garment fits and when it does not. Therefore, my highest mark in this book goes to the two pages explaining how to tell if a jacket fits. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

If you want just one book to teach you how to be stylish, this is the one. If you want to further explore how French women dress, look at "Chic and Slim" by Ann Baronne.
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256 of 262 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2004
In the sea of so called 'fashion experts', Farr is a real standout. Her approach to style differs greatly in that it instructs women how to honestly assess their wardrobes and logically pinpoint their individual body type. She clarifies how to flatter any figure (including plus sizes), incorporate trends and individual style, mix and match pieces, shop on a budget and avoid falling victim to common fashion mishaps. The book isn't limited to just clothing - bras, stockings accessories and tips from beauty experts are also thoroughly covered. Best of all there are pages and pages of tips, places to shop and stylist secret weapons that even the most fashion savvy girl probably doesn't know. My favorite section of the book is 'Your Tailor is Your Best Friend' which details everything from having a garment fit to having a piece custom made. Unlike other guides I have read, this book is written without condescension and truly aims to make all women feel beautiful and stylish. This book is not only an incredibly useful tool but is also a great read. Farr writes with humor and gives the reader a number of hilarious personal, real women and celebrity anecdotes.
This is without a doubt the fashion guide to buy. I have given a few copies as gifts and my friends loved it too.
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129 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2005
Perhaps the single most vital thing I learned from this book is the all important shoulder to hip ratio and definition of waist that determines what shape you are. I myself, and countless other women tend to be so obsessed with perceived huge hips that we all dress like pears and wonder why we look lopsided. As someone with shoulders in proportion to my hips and a very defined waist, I should have been dressing very differently.

What this book will tell you:

1. This book will tell you how to dress for your specific body type, including fabrics and lengths that will look best on you.

2. It will give you ideas on indispensibles, including where to buy them, where to splurge and where to skimp. It will also tell you how to go bargain hunting without looking like you did.

3. It will tell you how best to work with your tailor, what is possible, what is not.

4. I am not a plus sized woman, but if I was,this book would be a godsend in many ways. Since Farr was stylist for plus sized women as well, she does not focus on a `dress in all black ensembles to look your slimmest' as though every curvy woman is ashamed of her shape. She helps women make style choices that flatter her existing shape.

What this book won't tell you:

1. What accesories work best with what outfit- apart from the obvious that a low vamp, with a high heel and pants pegged to the heel will make your legs look longer and platforms look cheesy. It does not cover much ground with accesories except for vague generalities.

2. Most of the online resources it provides are no longer there (luxlook, americanfit etc)

3. It does not give you any detailed color advice for women. The colorsyou wear are an important part of your style quotient, and some women look sickly in black, not stylish.

Some people may find her insistence on tailoring a trifle difficult to execute, but the best dressed women are always those whose clothes fit perfectly, not the ones wearing the most expensive and luxe clothes.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2005
While I lived in France I loved shopping clothes and learned quite lots of things, especially the importance of the "fit". I was impressed by how much French women pay attention to details in fitting and lenghts. Once I was shopping with two French friends. One tried on a jacket, which looked to me fitting well. But after carefully examining the jacket in the mirror she said something like "It's very pretty but the shoulder is a bit ... " and the other friend nodded in agreement and we just left the shop. On another occasion, I tried a summer shirt. The shirt looked perfectly fine to me, but the shop clerk asked me if I was going to wear it over my trousers or tack it inside. I answered both, then she indicated without hesitation how much I should shorten it. I did and I could see it got much much better.

So I knew that fit was one of the big secrets of French girls' look and I became quite consious to buy thing that fit me, but until I read this book, I did not know where to look for exact exact fit and how to do alternations if required. Now this book answered all my questions. I have to admit that I needed to take time and concentration to understand and internalise what is written this book, but it is worth it! In addition, the book really convinced me to get rid of many things I kept for years without wearing because they do not fit me! Bravo! I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those who love and know fashion and clothes but feel they lack small something to achieve real sophistication.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2006
Hold on, I'm serious. There are plenty of picture heavy books which demonstraight to you how to and not to dress and IF you happen to look like the models in the photographs you are in luck. If you don't...well...

This book is much more wordy then your typical style guide, with general illustrations that cover the basic body types as well as the plus side equivalents. It begins with the very basic basics, which include weeding out the undersireables in your wardrobe and creating the "almighty unbroken line".

Simply put: Do your clothes really fit and flatter? They should. But how do you know for sure you're getting a good fit? Considering the number of women who wear the wrong sized bra everyday, a lot of us are a little clueless or afraid to find out what are actual measurements are, but whatever numbers are, there are good and bad looks and good and bad fits. This book can help you find yours.

Several excellent tips are presented, including a complete disreguard for what the number on the tag says, since manufacturers are at best guessing what those numbers mean anyway. Tips on finding a professional tailor are included and what he/she can do for you as well as how affordable tailoring service can be.

Start with clothes that fit you REALLY fit you, in styles that flatter what you like and conceal what you don't. The most wonderful message in this book: When clothes don't fit women tend to think there is something wrong with their bodies, they never think there is something wrong with the clothes. That advice alone has made my occasional shopping trips more enjoyable.

It's simple, but it works..if you are fashionably challenged or a diva extradonaire, this is a great resource on creating your own look.
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80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2006
I have to agree with some previous reviewers' comments:

1. The D, E, and F body types should be sections listed under A, B and C, as they are for plus sized versions of A-C, just as she does for petites. She could have used the space to address some of the following concerns.

2. She only lists 3 possible body types: heavier on bottom, equal size top and bottom, or heavier on top. But realistically, some people are flat-chested C's, or basically a B but with C shoulders, or some other combination, as another reviewer pointed out. She could have used the extra space to point out how to combine aspects of the style suggestions for cross-over types, so we could mix and match instead of having to go through it with a fine-toothed comb to figure it out ourselves (and hope we get it right!).

3. There are NO pictures to go along with her clothes. Her drawings aren't even labeled. For a book about fashion and style, there is too little information in this department. What if you don't know what something's name is? Pictures are a MUST.

4. I am so fed up with books telling women to get black clothes. Not everyone looks good in black. Some real information about color should be essential, and how to figure out what colors look good on you, if you can't afford a consultation. For this I recommend Dressing Smart in the New Millennium by JoAnna Nicholson.

5. For a "stylist" she doesn't really tell you how to develop a personal style. She assumes you are confused by fashion magazines and all the trendy clothes you see in the stores. Really, style is, yes, knowing what shapes, textures and colors look good on you, and buying things you like, but you can't just put them together any which way and look good, or have your clothes send the message you hope they are sending. That's where most people need help. She doesn't explain what a pulled-together look is or how to achieve one. For this, check out My Personal Style ([...]

6. In relation to the above, there is no "basic wardrobe scheme" or any sense of what pieces one needs to buy, or which are the most important. She just describes which types of pants, skirts, dresses, etc. would look good on your body type if you are lucky enough to fit into one of her descriptions. I like books that help you make a mix-and-match wardrobe that can serve you for all different situations simply by changing accessories, with the fewest pieces possible. I don't see anything like that here.

Aside from those comments (which, looking at it now, seems like an awful lot wrong with it!), the rest is fine, if a bit common-sense. I like all the inside-scoop type details, information about fit, and that (as another reviewer said) she writes as though she's talking to you in person, and you are an important client.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2005
I just bought this book yesterday, mostly based on the reviews I read here. What I find odd are the previous reviews that complain about the author's so-called emphasis on high end brands. More than once Ms. Farr says to use designer brands as research and a reference. e.g the bottom of page 84 to 85.

On page 86 she says. "Paying attention to...the details...means you are better equipped to find...pieces in your price range and size range."

I love this book. I couldn't put it down all evening. It takes a realistic and systematic approach to looking your best. I love how she peppers the book with little tricks like how to determine how short your skirt can be before going over to the tarty side.

I would would recommend this book to anyone who wants to thin out and upgrade their wardrobe. No one book can give you everything you need but "The Pocket Stylist" provides a rock solid foundation. This book will probably become an anchor in my style library.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book about 8 or 9 months ago, and I've found it to be a great resource. In one of the initial chapters, Farr has you take very simple body measurements to determine what kind of body shape you have. Subsequent chapters give detailed guidelines on how to dress and look great depending on your shape. I already suspected some of the information she gave, but it was nice to have a systematic explanation of what looks good and why -- and to have really detailed lists of what to buy and what to stay away from! She also includes plus-sized figures, which means that this book is really useful for a wide range of shapes and sizes.

As some reviewers have mentioned, she does tend to assume that the reader has unlimited resources and can afford designer brands and custom-made clothes. She also does not include pictures or photos of clothes, as other reviewers also mentioned. Overall, though, there is enough practical, useful information in here to more than make up for these weaknesses.

I've gone back to this book again and again for ideas, and really love it! The book is small enough to take with you when out shopping, but I actually wrote down a list of my do's and don't's on a 3x5 card and just keep it in my purse for when I'm out shopping. Highly recommended book!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This book blows away "What Not to Wear" and is so much more comprehensive. What's more, it's small enough to tuck into a tote bag and take into the fitting room. It's the best investment I've made in my appearance in some time.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2004
I'm a forty-six year old woman returning to the work world. This book has saved me a lot of time and a lot of money.
Ms. Farr is very specific in her recommendations. She lists brand names, stores and catalogs and what they have to offer women of each size and shape. Even shoes are judged based on their ability to flatter a particular body type.
The Pocket Stylist really does reveal insider secrets. (The clothes on catalog models will NEVER look the same to me.)
Thanks to The Pocket Stylist I will never again waste money on clothes that don't flatter me. The book IS my clothes shopping list.
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