The book, "Things a woman should know about style", written by Karen Homer, should really be renamed “Things a woman should know about classic style”, just so that everyone (namely the experimental, fun-loving and apparently “clueless” twenty-something year olds) shopping on Amazon know what sort of “style” they are psychologically getting themselves into when clicking the "buy" button. I would have no qualms with this book if the title were changed to something more accommodating to the clothing discourse specific to social-x-rays and color-phobics. If anything, it would indirectly acknowledge there’s an abundance of style’s (plural) that go skin-to-skin with the abundance of personalities (plural) that permeate and radiate through mind, body and cloth around the world.
I understand the idea of a “capsule wardrobe”, I do. Although being bland, boring and (always) black in your twenties isn’t exactly my idea of sartorial I-just-threw-on-a-pencil-skirt-and-blouse enjoyment. So, if “Things a Women Should Know About Style” is to resonate with us young and apparently “unknowing" folk, we must first understand that two key words take centre-stage in this book - affluence and timelessness - which, by-the-way, I'm willing to bet is exactly the sort of terms Ms Homer lives by. I don’t mean to offend but you can’t write a book about classic style if you haven’t actually lived several decades of it, yes? There’s a certain air of well, maturity, which is mutually constitutive to that sort of attire. And it goes without saying you pretty much need to be rolling in it to afford thousands of dollars of natural pearls bi-yearly.
So taken on that basis - the Ms Karen Homer basis - the book was not bad at all. I might have even enjoyed it if she retracted her comments about toilet water being incredibly chic. Anything with the word toilet in its title is inherently not chic, Ms Homer, you of all people should know that. I on the other hand shouldn’t because I am only twenty and by your watch haven’t really lived a full-on fashion cycle yet, but I do so go figure. Actually also, while we’re here, trouser suits are not suitable for every occasion, every second of every day, nor is minimalism style’s answer to world peace... I think all that tribal fashion at the moment has a better shot for obvious reasons (spears, voodoo dolls etcetera etcetera, see where I'm going with this? Rhetorical question). Gosh, try putting a Romance Was Born sacrificial techno goat mask-come-headgear against your "capsule wardrobe" and see how it fares.. Hmmm… Yes, not well, I presume.
That being said, Ms Homer does provide a very convincing argument about putting food before fashion… something about starving yourself all day and then downing the Perrier Jouet like it was water, which I must admit is fun, but not that fun when you swell up the size of a pregnant rhinoceros.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
"Too-tight t-shirts make your bust look like two pigs wrestling under a blanket."
"Crotchless or nipple-less underwear is taking things too far. Forget the decency question, just imagine the draughts. What would your mother say? ('Always wear clean knickers, dear, you never know when you might get runover.')"
"Big pants have a certain Berlin-stripper appeal, just make sure they are big enough. There is nothing worse than bottoms bulging over knicker-elastic."
"B-strings look great under clothes but awful in the flesh. Dental floss, wedgie or cheese-wire are apt descriptions of its comfort rating. It is depressing to pay more for five square inches of Lycra than you do for ten, nevertheless VPL is the well-dressed woman's nemesis. Grin and wear it."
"Alternatively think big: tummy-sucking waist-cinching panties, thing-slimming, bottom-lifting tights and anything with the word 'control' in its description are the guardians of the pear-shaped woman's vanity. Don't be alarmed if you are striped red and white and half your size when you take these things off. It's a bit like coming up from a deep-sea dive: you have to re-pressurise gradually."
"Never pass up an opportunity to wear a tiara."
"Pashminas should be timeless, but are still suffering from fashion overkill that hit a couple of years ago. A pashmina neatly knotted at the neck says City Trader. A pashmina untidily wound round over a denim jacket says wannabe model. A pashmina draped elegantly over the shoulders at a black tie dinner says Affluent Wife and Mother. A pashmina draped fully over the shoulders in the style of granny's shawl says Cold Fashion Editor, fed up with waiting for another bloody fashion show to start, three hours late."
(images via photobucket)