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on April 12, 2010
At first glance the book might seem a bit subjective. Like one of the reviewers has said it's all about ME. I went to the book store after reading the reviews and got the same impression after flipping through the pages of the book for the first time but I ordered it anyway for entertainment purposes. I mean, if I am willing to read someone's memoirs or biography about their life or work accomplishments, why not read someone's fashion history, especially someone as stylish as Amanda Brooks.

But I have to say, the book turned out to be much more than I expected and I did pick up plenty of inspirations from there.

Especially i enjoyed the part where Amanda gives advice on how to find your style. Some find it irritating how often Amanda changed her look and style, but isn't it the best way to find who you really are? How can you ever truly know unless you've tried nearly everything outthere? For some style comes naturally, during the first couple of decades of life, but for others it takes a lot of soul searching and a lot of changes.

Amanda recommends go through books and magazines and make cut outs of what you found the most appealing. Out of those images one can create a fashion book where you could see how your style and taste evolves over time. Will you like the same thing a year from now, 5 years from now etc.

According to Amanda, there are 6 style types, 3 definable: Classic, Bohemian, and Minimal and 3 undefinable: High Fashion, Street, and Eclectic. She describes different periods of her life when she identified with each one of the above, illustrating it with photoes of herself, people she knew and various celebrities, whom, she believed, reflected particular style the best.

I wouldn't say it's a story of Amanda's life, more like a guide to finding your own style, illustrated by exaples from her life and her experiences.

Last part of the book talks about types of shopping: Basic, cheap Chic, Designer and Vintage. Unlike other books, this book tells us that our basics do not have to be classic, but more of a reflection of our particular style. If basic item is a t-shirt, it does not have to be classic black or white t-shirt, it could be ripped or torn etc., whatever suits one's particular style and personality.

I must say, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely keep it in my style library.
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on December 11, 2017
This dreadful book is 287 pages of whiny ramblings by a pretentious, rich, uber privileged "style expert." In EVERY PAGE she drones on and on about her fabulous life, fabulous stuff and famous friends. Blah blah blah. ME ME ME. Absolutely ridiculous.
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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 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.
109 people found this helpful
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on May 23, 2016
I love Amanda's blog and this was a good read...Unlike most of the style and fashion type books I own, I don't tend to pick this one up as often as others. I think it was a great launching place for Amanda's writing and work though, and look forward to adding additional books to my collection by her. I highly recommend Always Pack a Party Dress if looking for a really fun, well written, book by this author.
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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 April 23, 2017
This is one of my favorite style books -- and I love style books. The author presents a holistic picture of owning one's own style instead of prescribing what one should wear to a certain place or at a certain age. I love the approach she takes. One's style does not always remain constant. This is represented beautifully in the book. Though she's a big name in her own right, she's also down to earth. I am constantly looking back through and gaining little pieces of inspiration from her own life & examples from various iconic figures.
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on March 16, 2015
As a fashion consultant I really enjoy that book. It is really no nonsense and it's very inspiring selection of images and fashion advice from very personal experience. This book does not intimidate you or does not try to convince you that great style can be only achieved when you have the financial means. The other way round, it shows you that it is really up to your creativity and learning from mistakes you make. Amanda Brooks' book is really a lot of fun and she offers great resources in terms of further reads or movies to watch that can make your style even better. I highly recommend it!
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on March 2, 2015
I wanted to give this a one star review because the shipper claimed it was in excellent condition and it came with food stains all over it. GROSS.
It was disgusting.

As for the content, it is OK, didn't really speak to defining your own style but rather more showing pictures of celebrities and naming their styles anf giving recommendations of books on how to get that style.
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on December 19, 2017
This book truly helps anyone define or confirm their personal style. It is an enjoyable an easy read yet challenges one to reach for the stars! Great pics and easy to flip about in the chapters, if desired.
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