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Ladies: A Guide to Fashion and Style [Hardcover]

Claudia Piras , Bernhard Roetzel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: DuMont Buchverlag GmbH & Co (27 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3832070672
  • ISBN-13: 978-3832070670
  • Product Dimensions: 26.4 x 22.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,059,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A lost chance. 30 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am familiar with the men's version of this, by the same author, which is better illustrated and has more good information in it which can be used to develop a modern wardrobe. The women's version seemed to concentrate on the history of classic fashion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - not really a guide 5 April 2003
By A Customer - Published on
There were no reviews on, but the title was too intriguing to pass up. The back cover states: "With the help of this book, any clothing problems you have will completely disappear!" I think I was hoping for a how-to guide on effortless elegance. Instead, this book is a mini-encyclopedia of 20th century fashion with a focus on high-end brands. The perspective is European (I believe the text was translated from the German) and the style icons it uses to illustrate certain concepts are the ubiquitous ones (Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Paloma Picasso, Lady Diana, Jackie Onassis, etc.). Some inclusions are questionable: classic hairstyles include Camilla Parker-Bowles' pre-makeover layered haircut; Madonna's cone-bra corset is described as "sexy". Some chapters read like a directory listing of famous retailers (the "classic lingerie for every taste" page lists famous lingerie manufacturers and their founding history).
This book won't show you how to build a wardrobe, but it will provide an overview of status symbols ("cult" handbags, shoes, etc.) and a short history of craftsmanship (e.g. how bags and silk scarves are made, what is cashmere, what is haute couture) and certain fashion elements (e.g. hosiery). The name dropping (Falke and Revlon are two brands that come up again and again in the examples) and the pretentious tone ("Even if you do not go horseback riding yourself, you need not give up on the equestrian look because your sportswear will include many clothes and accessories from this world") annoyed me, but the pictures are top-notch and illustrate the concepts very well. Though the pictures are lovely, some of the text accompanying them does not really add valuable information, e.g. "Wolford has always been celebrated for its very sophisticated artistic advertisements, some of which have won awards." Perhaps that is nice to know, but how does it help the woman looking to solve clothing problems?
I'm keeping this book for the overviews and historical information it provides on the "timeless basics of the lady's style", but I doubt it will help me to develop my own style.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ladies: companion to Gentlman's Guide 2 July 2010
By cxlxmx - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I enjoyed Roetzel's other book, Gentleman's Guide to Grooming and Style (also available as Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion). With "Ladies", he and Claudia Piras have tried to do for women what Gentleman's Guide did for men, but the effort falls short. The attempt to encompass what it means, from a sartorial perspective, to be a lady or gentleman is much easier with a man than a woman. Gentleman's Guide is clearly trained on the early 20th century English gentleman, the creature who set the standards in men's dress that continue today. Women's fashion, even for real ladies, has no such narrow scope of to fall back on. Moreover, whereas men essentially dress the same regardless of the look they are trying to achieve, there is a wide divergence in women's style between the attempt to look refined and the attempt to look sexual. So we get as examples in this book everyone from Lady Margaret Thatcher to Coco Chanel to Madonna--clearly nothing timeless and enduring to stake out a look. Of course, women have the problem of not being able to pull off at 50 the look they could at 20, which men don't necessarily have (as long as they aren't dressing in jeans and t-shirts). Also, by touching on elements such as tobacco and hunting, Gentleman's Guide has just a hint of boyish conspiracy that is necessary for its success. Artful winking conspiracy is missing from Ladies, which, judging by what's on newstands everywhere, would have needed a section on ladies' sex to be comparable, although this would have debased the book as well.

Objectly, Ladies is not done quite as well as Gentleman's Guide. The graphic design is not quite as imaginative, the text slightly less interesting, the photos appear to be more stock and magazine shots. Conceptually, the book is a mistake: whereas a large book, a sturdy tome of timeless advice, appeals to the male psyche, women by their nature will always gravitate toward fads and the periodical format to see what styles they should follow.

Probably, Ladies is better as a gift selection for a man clueless of women's wear than for a woman interested in clothes and style. Not sorry I purchased it at its price, though.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Guide 26 Sep 2013
By S. Chong-sing - Published on
This book is a fun guide to classic fashion, and offers contemporary ideas, too. The style of this book is definitely a little on the preppy side, but with fun twists! It is a great reference book, too, with details about fabrics, styles, patterns, colors and a large section on shoes and accessories!
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