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Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady Paperback – April 6, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—This guide provides wise yet hip advice on how an "extremely modern" young woman can be a lady and avoid being a "tramp," but it is so much more. Can she learn how to travel overseas or attend social events in style? Check. Can she learn to plan a wonderful dinner party, complete with correct place settings? Check. Can she learn how to avoid the wrong guy, drinking too much, cigarettes, or drugs without being a nerd? Check. Can she learn proper social customs and etiquette, and how to be a great friend? Check. She can also gain sound advice about these and myriad other important elements of life, including sensible dressing, successfully handling relationships, being knowledgeable about the world, and making good personal choices. Quotes from famous people savvy about the ins and outs of each subject addressed, plus catchy color photos and pertinent captions, add interest and flavor to the extremely upbeat and thought-provoking chapters. Humorous "self-tests" and their results reinforce the points being made. Although the content is sometimes mature and aimed at older teens and 20-somethings, with its references to such things as going to bars and clubs, legal drinking situations, or dealing with overindulgences, girls who are a bit younger can still benefit from reading this book by being better prepared to make good decisions both now and later.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Blasberg's compiled everything he's learned from Hollywood, fashion, and high society in Classy, a guide to becoming a true lady." --ELLE
"Fashion writer...Derek Blasberg has taken note of both good and bad behavior while hanging with a high-profile set." --New York Magazine
"What's a gal to do in this age of tacky pseudo-celebrity? Enter...Blasberg, whose new book...may just be the saving grace." --Teen Vogue
"Dispenses advice on everything from table manners to tattoos in cheeky essays...A thoroughly modern guide to living like a lady." --VanityFair.com
Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, if you read the premise above, sit for 5 minutes, and think about what YOU would write if you were the author of such a book, you'd be right on target. Everything in the book is quite predictable and even pedestrian. Tips for shopping online? Research to make sure the store is legit. Don't respond to unsolicited e-mails asking for your personal information. Doesn't everyone pretty much know this? Blasberg also provides a handy little chart that illustrates the logos of some luxury brands (e.g., Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, etc.), cautioning people to read the bag labels carefully so you don't end up buying a "Prado" instead of a Prada. Really? He even has a section on drugs (basically, don't do them) and cigarettes (don't smoke; they're bad for you, too). Don't get me wrong, his advice is sound, but it's nothing you didn't know already via common sense: don't be mean to servers because they could retaliate by spitting in your food; don't be rude to the people cleaning your hotel room because they could do horrible things to your toothbrush; don't send naked photos of yourself because they could end up all over the internet; don't pole-dance at a party because you're not Kate Moss; ad infinitum.
I hope the book would make up for the lack of insight on the advice department by adding some illuminating commentary on the elite he hangs with. Why is Kate Moss and similar people exempt from the rules (besides the simple declaration that she's a supermodel)? But, alas, nothing. The book is good eye candy, though. There are some funny pictures with a model demonstrating what's classy (a classic bag, boots, well-groomed hair) and what's not (thongs exposed under Juicy pants, Uggs, messy hair), but these are more for entertainment than for your edification; you could get the same kind of pictures by reading a few issues of MARIE CLAIRE.
I recommend this book for a bare-bones etiquette primer for a teenager who has absolute no common sense whatsoever. Nil. None. I mean, if you know a teenager who doesn't understand that her naked pictures could possibly end up on the internet once her two-week-old relationship expires, get her this book. If she doesn't know that posting her full address and phone number on Facebook is unwise, buy her this book. If she doesn't know that belching loudly, showing her thong, and dry humping that cute guy at grandma's dinner party might be a bad idea, then, by all means, by her this book.
On a positive note, if you feel you need a very basic starter list for books, art pieces, photographers, and films you feel you "should" know about but don't, you can find that here. It's not comprehensive at all, but Blasberg does include several note-worthy people and titles that will get any newbie off to a good start.
I really, really wanted to like this book. The author is interesting, the layout is great, and the pictures pique your interest. But it turned out to be filled with fluff. It's like reading air most of the time. This book reads more like those advice columns they have in OK! MAGAZINE (which offers such sage wisdom like, 'If it's hot, drink some ice tea to cool you down...put it in a nice cup and pretend you're on vacation at a resort'). Blasberg validates his sections by pointing out how his celebrity friends do this or that without adding any fruitful explanations. For example, he has an elite friend who is an absolute banshee to people in the service industry. All he can offer is to tell you not to do that. It'd be much more interesting if he elaborated on why he hangs around with such rude people. If he had owned up to this and had written how he hangs with these people because he sees an advantage in doing so, then at least he could give us a useful section about networking from his unique point of view. It would be pertinent to this day and age, where so many people worship celebrities in spite of their flaws. I'd flip through this at a bookstore for the pictures, but I wouldn't recommend taking it home. Chances are, you already know the advice bestowed within.