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Customer Review

70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but goes overboard on how many clothes you really need., August 5, 2005
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This review is from: Ready To Wear: An Expert's Guide to Choosing and Using Your Wardrobe (Paperback)
This is a 3.5 star book. 5-stars if you live/work in an area where people pay more attention to your clothes than how well you do your job and/or you go to a lot of formal functions. 1-2 stars if you are a work/stay-at-home parent looking to upgrade your wardrobe a bit.

Good points: Clear descriptions of types of dress for various situations, including business casual (always a tricky one). Clear steps on how to "shop in your closet" and reorganize it. Some good forms in the back to help you keep track of what you have and what you need to shop for. Pictures of some clothing styles, types of shoes, etc., all line drawings, there are no color photos in the book anywhere. Good plan for what to do when you're at the store, and what to look for in good dressing rooms. Lots of suggestions for accessories, as well as what to keep in your office for the occasional clothing emergency.

Bad points: Not enough on seasonal dressing for your climate--she assumes that everyone has (or should have) 4 full seasons' worth of clothes. Ahem(!) In for example, Southern California, you pretty much have dry season and wet season. Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest, you need some clothing for cold weather, but hardly a "season's" worth, and so on. And trenchcoats are great for cities with sidewalks, or where you drive up in a car and get dropped of at the curb and never touch dirt or grass. For people in climates where it only occasionally gets cold, one or two coats and perhaps a nice wrap is plenty.

Occasional silly rules like "no straw hats after Labor Day" which perhaps apply to New York and points north (the author lives in Boston), where it gets cold in the autumn, but not in Southern California, or other states where summer-type weather extends well into November. She also doesn't like athletic shoes with business wear while commuting. It apparently doesn't occur to her that perhaps people wear them for comfort (because they have to stand for an hour or longer on the train or bus) and safety (never know when you might have to run from a mugger). Very few formal/work shoes are truly comfortable and safe to run in (or even walk fast). When they make such things, people will buy them, until then, it is athletic shoes.

Relies too much on black as the basis of a wardrobe. Black is great on many people, but by no means everyone. She says people "don't remember" black. If you wear any color to excess, people will remember it.

I didn't see her advice so much as "dated"; instead, it seemed very "back east" and corporate-oriented, and it helped if you have tons of money to spend.

She insists that everyone needs at least one suit. If you do not work in any outside job, "business casual" will carry you through everything except a true formal occasion. You're much better off spending money on quality separates. She is very into "power dressing" and it gets annoying after a while if you're the type of person who pays attention to the person, not the clothing.

Bottom line, a good book if you live back east, or in your very large cities where at least some people pay attention to fashion. For the rest of us, some good sound info, but you have to wade through some annoying attitudes to get to it. And there are mistakes in the index. A good companion book would be Does This Make Me Look Fat? by Leah Feldon, which has more and better line drawings and better ideas for what to look for to make the most of your figure, whatever size it is.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 10, 2014 10:33:50 AM PDT
I had the book for years till I tossed it in our move to a small apartment, and I couldn't agree more with your analysis. It is a good book for a very limited market, and if you don't fit that profile, this book isn't a great buy.
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