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The Lucky Shopping Manual: Building and Improving Your Wardrobe Piece by Piece Turtleback – Bargain Price, November 10, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Strikingly similar to InStyle magazine's recent Secrets of Style, this chunky little book purports to lay out the basics of dressing. Indeed, the editors make looking fashionable seem as easy as pie. Their book goes through all aspects of a woman's wardrobe, from overcoats to undergarments, and suggests must-haves. For example, they say that to build an outerwear closet, a woman should have one overcoat, one warm parka, one spring jacket, one fall coat and one raincoat-and "if you live in Minnesota," they say, invest in "some fun coats," too. With sassy humor, the editors counsel readers on how to wear a twin-set without looking like "the dowager aunt" and suggest solutions to fashion challenges, like making casual pants look office-appropriate. They also share mini-profiles of "Lucky Girls," including designer Shoshanna Lonstein and Lucky's West Coast editor, Marlien Rentmeester. Like the magazine it's modeled on, this tome is frivolous, instructive and fun.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lucky Editor-in-Chief Kim France has had an extensive career in publishing, which has included positions at New York magazine, Spin, and Sassy. Her articles have appeared in many other national magazines. Creative Director Andrea Linett served in the fashion departments of Sassy and Harper's Bazaar before joining Lucky as fashion director in 2000. Melcher Media is an award-winning book producer based in New York City.
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There are a handful of useful tips, but there is no guidance on building an actual wardrobe. There are recommendations on what to own, but they jump back between the slightly stingy (only six tops to wear to work) to the extravagant (I don't need multiple cocktail/evening dresses and I don't need multiple coats).
Update: I finished the book, and can highly recommend it as there are thousands of great tips on dressing and cosmetics.
There are some caveats you should be aware of. This book doesn't account for modern shopping trends and considering it was first published in 2003, there is going to be some disparity between what was considered in back then and what is considered in now. For example, the authors consider ballet flats to be difficult to wear but they are super hot right now in 2012. There is almost no discussion about tights or leggings and some of us could use some help in that department. Accessories are also very lightly mentioned in the book. There is a chapter on bags and shoes but nothing on jewelry, although some examples are given throughout the book. And as some other reviewers mentioned, the bra fitting advice is wrong.
Despite those issues, this book is fabulous. Each chapter starts with a page of photographs of the variations of that item. In the first chapter, Skirts, there are photographs depicting different types of skirt such as pleated, pencil, plaid, tiered, asymmetrical, a-line, and so on. It's great to have a visual of what those terms mean (I never knew what a pencil skirt was!). The authors then give you fit and styling tips, illustrating how best to flatter your body and what to avoid when wearing that particular item. There are illustrations (not photographs) that tell you what to wear if you want to highlight or take attention away from certain parts of your body.
The best part for me is what follows, a visual list of how many and of how many items you need to build your closet. In the Skirts chapter it says to have two all-season work skirts, one day-to-night skirt, two summer work skirts, one denim skirt and two summer work skirts. Some chapters give additional suggestions based on your lifestyle or style preferences. Next the authors show you how a piece can be worn in different seasons or from weekday to weekend, day to evening. There are also suggestions for how to vamp up your style and try something new (the suggestions here may be out of fashion but the essence is the same). They follow up with an illustration of how not to wear the piece and how to remedy the look you are going for.
At the end of each chapter there is a page called Fitting Room, which describes what to look for when you're buying the item in a store. Suggestions like walking around in the piece, sitting down, fastening all the buttons, etc... these are things to be mindful of when purchasing items for your wardrobe. I know I like to just pick things off the rack and head to the counter to purchase for them but it's nice to be reminded that one should pay attention to fit and movement of the pieces.
Overall I really like the book. It's visually pleasing to look through and it's a fairly quick read as well. The authors do include a list of twenty items we should splurge on and they are all classic pieces that everyone should have in their closet. Also note, some of the books have different covers but the contents are the same. I have the one with the gorgeous red Rafe bag on the cover and love it. So yes, be mindful that the fashion may be outdated in parts but the advice and the classic pieces highlighted in the book are a mainstay. If you want to build a wardrobe, you need this book!
The pictures are what really make this book special--pictures of underwear, shoes, different kinds of tops, purses (although no ideas for a good-looking backpack-style purse that some of us more practical types favor), etc. The book is a little heavy to drag around with you to the store, but you could trace outlines of the styles you need on some paper and put that in your bag to shop with.
There are lots of pictures showing how to dress to accentuate the positive aspects of your figure as well. They could have been drawn a little more clearly--one in particular showing that you should not wear ballet flats with a short skirt didn't seem to really reflect that, as the legs in the picture did not look any chunkier than in the "correct" picture with the higher heels. Other pictures had that same type of flaw--some should have been shown in profile, rather than face-forward, to show the correction.
Overall, 4 and half stars. I did think that the author went a bit overboard as far as how many clothing items to own--what she recommends seems to require having entire summer and winter closets when you add it all together.... Also, black clothes were mentioned a lot (as in "little black dress"), and not everyone should wear black, so what do those people do? The "travel packing" section was pretty good, but, IMHO, didn't do enough in the "mix and match" department--for those who wish to travel light and not check baggage, that is important.
Well worth having in your own personal library if you hate clothes shopping, or buying as a gift for a similar-minded friend.