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September 14, 2007

The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia

I love clothes and fashion. J’adore Chanel and all things sparkly and Manolo. An afternoon reading Elle is one well spent in my mind. Except that these days? I’m struggling and you would not know that I own some vintage Mizrahi unless I slapped you with it and that is after I have excavated it from the depths of my ravaged closet. After the birth of my daughter, a new body, and now working from home I have been feeling a bit lost fashion-wise. My closet tells me so too. It’s disorganized and my days are spent in shorts and uninspired tank tops. Not a drop of tribal beads, turquoise or a daring shoe can be found. Then like manna from heaven PBN sent me this book. Nina Garcia’s (yes, the one of Project Runway and Elle fame)Little Black Book of Style.

The Little Black Book is not about buying more stuff. It is not trying to sell you on any one designer or style. It is about fashion freedom and following your instincts. Reading it reaffirmed what I already knew about my sense of self and style. It inspired me to clean out my closet and figure out what I need and don’t need, including that pair of Hush Puppies. What a cathartic afternoon that was! Who knew I owned two pink pashminas, one still in its box, and so many formal gowns. And do I really need to be holding on to those two identical ill-fitting suits that have dust on the shoulders? The answer is NO!

Garcia’s tome reinvigorated me to own my look and trust my instincts. For example, I love turtlenecks and I look good them. They suit me. I love wearing black too and you know what? There isn’t one thing wrong with that. Trusting my instincts and wearing these items always gives me confidence. This book reminded me that what I learned from my mother and grandmothers was right. I need to keep that knowledge at the forefront of my mind when I dress and when I shop. Otherwise I end up with items like a fuchsia baby doll dress that was clearly an impulse buy.

The Little Black book holds all the fashion basics in an easy to follow way. The checklist is exactly what I have always known and had fallen away from. The bits of history on designers and the decades of fashion are pure fun! The thick glossy pages chocked full of beautiful illustrations by Ruben Toledo propel you to keep reading. It is a quick read and entirely enjoyable. I felt as if my thirst was finally quenched when I finished it. It is consistently full of sensible information while not bogging the reader down.

The Little Black Book of Style is not about being model thin or always following the most current trends. It is about truly discovering what you love and works for you. Own that! Free yourself! Have fun with the whole fashion thing and always remember to rock that signature look of yours hard! Stand up straight, shoulders back and smile! C’est magnifique!

This review is brought to you by the wonderful people at PBN where lots more reviews can be found and Harper Collins.