Is getting a grip on your style (and your wardrobe) on your goal list for the new year? Would you like to be better-dressed on your adventures? I'd love to introduce a lovely book that will help you amp your style. And, with a bit of luck you can win a free copy!
Review: Learning to Love Your Body by Learning To Dress It Well
I am a longtime reader of Already Pretty the blog by Sally McGraw and have learned so much from it -- both about dressing myself and about accepting my body. When I started reading Sally's Already Pretty book, I had I wondered: will this book bring anything new? I was pleased to see that most of the content was fresh -- even though I have read all of Sally's blog post, this book had a lot of new things to offer.
The book is wonderfully style-neutral -- it offers tools that work whatever your style, age and budget is like. You are encourage to create your own unique style: tailored to your unique body, tastes and lifestyle. There are no ready lists of must-haves, no one-size-fits-all rules to follow -- the advice is reader-centric. An extra point for the warm, friendly tone this is written in -- it makes pleasant reading and makes me feel good about myself (which can't be said for all fashion writing).
If you're interested what the steps are, to quote Sally:
"Here’s a rough outline of the steps that Already Pretty suggests: After determining your current personal style and evaluating pieces from your existing wardrobe, you’re taught to define your ideal style – a process that includes identifying personalized figure-flattery priorities. These priorities are tailored to your preferences and your unique body, and may be quite different from the style mandates parroted by fashion industry insiders. Working through this process moves you closer to your fashion aspirations, ultimately allowing you to merge your current and ideal styles through careful culling of your current wardrobe and targeted shopping for new, key pieces."Though the chapter about figure-flattery had almost nothing new for me, I was really happy to see everything in one place. I have in the past put together such a list of rules for myself, but had to pull information form a hundred different places (which took hours).
Another thing I loved are the inspirational outfit photos that illustrate the book -- images of bloggers of various shapes and sizes. I found several inspiring style blogs this way!
The book Already Pretty is based on two basic ideas:
1. You are already pretty. Sally is a body-image warrior, and throughout the book she reminds the reader to not get trapped by the "thin hourglass" ideal spoon-fed to us by the media. Her style advice helps us to achieve balance and harmony in our clothing, and not to try to mould it into the media-approved shape. The whole book is filled with self-respect and self-love, and you will never feel not thin enough or not rich enough to be stylish.
2. Understanding that you are "now" (style-wise) is crucial to developing or even changing your style. This makes absolutely sense -- the reason many of us don't manage to dress in our ideal style is because we ignore our existing style habits and preferences when envisioning that ideal style. Once you have a clear idea of your style now, you can use this information to identify and develop your ideal style. I have not seen this step being given much importance anywhere else -- but it makes so much sense!
I have worked halfway though the Already Pretty book, and so far am very pleased with the results. I have a much clearer view of what my style priorities are, and have shed a lot of clothing that doesn't work for me. Interestingly, when I started doing the exercises, I realised that I wouldn't recognise my current style if it hit me over the head. Getting to know it any analysing it has been a huge eye opener for me! (I will update this part once I've worked my way through the whole book).
One thing I'd like to change is for the action-items to be bold or to have them stand out. I often can't find them easily when I leaf though -- because obviously I cheat and read ahead of the section I'm supposed to be working on.
Bottomline: if you want a book that will guide you through a self-makeover, Already Pretty is for you! Warm, wholesome and practical.
Already Pretty Giveway!
Sally has generously agreed to give away one hardback copy of the Already Pretty book to one of you! To win, just follow the steps below. Of course, you can also buy the Already Pretty book here.
The contest is open worldwide, and the winner will be drawn at random on the 7th January 2013!