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on 14 October 2008
Nina Garcia sure knows what she's talking about. She gives the best definition of style in this little book beautifully illustrated by Ruben Toledo. She provides a solid foundation that will help you to develop your very own style though the hard work is left to you (and there's a lot that has been left aside eg colours and bodyshapes).

It may take some time but once you've figured it out, it's one of the most exciting journeys of life. What I particularly liked in this book is the link to art and all the unexpected places where you can find inspiration. The secret lays in a few words: Make it your own.

The things I liked least about the book is chapter 4 called 'what to wear when' that I found somehow useless because most of us already have a sound idea of what to wear when going to a wedding or a job interview, this is just common sense that didn't need a full chapter in my opinion. I would have expected more development on what to wear according to the seasons or the weather as I often find switching from one to the other a bit challenging.

The chapter containing the basics are fairly known already and despite I agree the little black dress is a must, black is not a colour that suits everybody as well as for ballet flats. So I'd say don't follow everything in the book to the letter but give yourself a good look in the mirror and decide whether some of these basics are for you or not. You may find other basics that totally work for you (as for myself it's tights, boots and berets). Some contradictions too: She mentions that it's not about money (which is true) though she makes many references to top designers throughout the book. As much as I appreciate luxury, we all know that the majority of us will never be able to afford these unless they save for months if not years.
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on 1 May 2017
A bit predictable and old fashioned
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on 18 December 2007
I found this book really helpful, My wardrobe was full of clothes that didnt do anything for me, I never knew what to put on in the morning, I got confused between style and fashion and just put on my safe clothes instead. This book helps you to bring out your own style and its so easy. I had the ultimate compliment from my husband, he said I looked good but it didnt look like I'd tried at all. I've been trying to do that for years (I'm 42!!)
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on 2 November 2012
I didn't have the highest hopes for this book, but it really did help me to define my own personal style. I found, after reading it, that there is one simple rule I need to follow: look at what Nina says, and then do the opposite.

To be fair, if you live in Manhattan, red patent stiletto heels and a camel coloured trench-coat probably look tres chic. But in the east end of London, it will only make you look like a prostitute.

Pretty much everything in this book will make you look like a hooker if you live a less than glam existence. Because style is about context. Seeing a camel trench coat and red patent heels on a rainy london night, on the number 38 bus, with the flickering fluorescent light is going to suck all the class out of your get up. It doesn't help that the get up is about as stale as the smell of fried chicken in the air. Really, if ever there was a book that would teach you to buy clothes that wear you, this is it. For all her harping on about rule breaking and unusual looking women, it's clear than Nina subscribes to one type of style only: rich, thin, new yorker, with shiny shetland pony hair. And frankly, I can't take seriously anyone who exhorts women to own as many pairs of high heels as possible. Heels are not for walking in. They are for being murdered in. I prefer my shoes to AID in my ability to move around, not hinder it.

Ladies! Do not buy this book. Get on to pinterest and make a mood board. Or copy Frida Kahlo. Frida Kahlo doesn't need context: she IS context. And she always wore flats.
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on 26 February 2010
How did this book get such good reviews ? She keeps telling us to be 'individuals' then it's full of designers advice along with people I have never heard of.She recommends we all have a Hermes bag & diamonds - plus, heaven forbid, a fur coat. I'm over sixty but I don't want to look like my mother thank you.
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on 21 February 2010
I was pretty disappointed with this book, it just repeated things I have read in simillar books. The tips are also all focused on how to look stylish if you are over 40, not at all for a younger audience. I feel it also lacks direction in creating your own style, and how to integrate fashion into your look. This book is fine if you think beige trousers and turtle neck are the epitome of chic.
That said it did have an interesting chapter on stylish films to take influence from, and some short celebrity / designer interviews - although I certainly wouldnt call them 'insider tips'.
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on 6 April 2013
i am pleased that I did not purchase this book and that I have read the copy at my local library. This is not worth more than £2.00! There is nothing new or ground breaking in it. If you often read fashion magazines the info that you find in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar & co is much more comprehensive than what you can find in this book. From the 10 staples to how to be your own muse - boring. The only part that I liked is the chapter on how to get inspiration from the old movies. Again. nothing mind blowing but at least a little bit different. Do not waste your money and get a copy at the local library instead if you want to have a look at this very sad book.
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on 26 September 2008
I found this book amazing, and plan on reading it a second time, this time carrying out research on the way. The underlying message is wear what you want as the most stylish item is your self-confidence. When reading the book's 'setting the scene', it makes you wish you were a witness to Nina's life as it sounds so exotic and indulgent, and makes you just keep on reading.

The clothing items you are advised to invest in are classic items that you always promise yourself you will buy, but in the end you let your head run away with the latest trends and go for the pair of rainbow platform shoes instead of the black cashmere cardy. This book gives reasons as to why you should believe in the basics, the crisp white shirt, the black cashmere. The only downfall is that it has the most beautiful drawings of chic ladies, but when the book describes items of clothing such as Jackie O's jeans, it doesn't show a picture of what is being referred to. But in all, love it, and it is taking pride of place on my bookcase.
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on 8 November 2011
I downloaded this when it was free and there is nothing new here at all, just a lot of designer names, & beige, black & white seem to be the order of the day- but quality items of course. Fashion magazines would tell you all this but it saves having to buy more than one of them .
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on 10 November 2014
There are benefits to being a fast reader, and one of them is not having spent too much time on this rip-off book. It's nominally 142 pages; each chapter begins with a double-sided illustration, and end with another one which may be single-sided instead of double. So, a MINIMUM 18 pages of curiously 1950s style illustrations. And what else?
Films from which to draw style inspiration - 3 Audrey Hepburn movies, and nothing more recent than "In the Mood for Love" - set in 1962 Hong Kong. Hmmm. Plus 3 movies about hookers. No Greta Garbo, no Lauren Bacall, not even any Bette Davis.
Nina recommends fur with the words "Peta be damned" (without mentioning their dictum about fur adding 20 years and 20 pounds) and she has an odd affection for leopard-print, red stilettos, and trenchcoats.
There was a fantastic line in an episode of "Roseanne" some long time ago - "I want to look like the kind of hooker you'd have to save up for". Follow Nina's tips, and you might look like the kind you could pay for with Nectar points.
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