By Fareeha Qay­oom

I

was just look­ing for a good book to read at Read­ings the other day, when I came across Mizrahi’s book, “How to have style.” This was a pure impulse buy. Luck­ily for me, it was not all that expen­sive. Only PKR 250. Gotham Books, Octo­ber 2008 edi­tion. I am a sucker for self-help books. I read them like other peo­ple read nov­els. :)

how to have style book coverNowa­days, I am going through a phase – I am col­lect­ing books on style advice and shop­ping. I also bought “The Lucky’s Guide to Mas­ter­ing any Style, how to wear iconic looks and make them your own,” by Kim France and Andrea Linett. (PKR 450 – Gotham Books – Oct 2008 edi­tion) at the same time. Another impulse buy. How­ever, I didn’t buy Lucky’s guide for read­ing. I bought it because it was a com­pan­ion to another Lucky Guide – The Lucky Shop­ping Man­ual. Besides, it’s a look book and I enjoy going through the pho­tos. It reminds me of my child­hood – my mom used to buy me paper doll books that had com­plete paper wardrobes intact that you could take out, mix and match and dress your paper dolls in. It was such a fun activ­ity so Lucky’s guides and Trinny and Susannah’s shop­ping guides fall in that cat­e­gory for me. They are not for read­ing fun – they are for plea­sure of look­ing through them.

Mizrahi’s book on the other hand can be read too. It’s funny. Read­able. Not very long. You can prob­a­bly fin­ish it in one sit­ting. I know I did. It’s full of fash­ion advice and shop­ping dos and don’ts. It chron­i­cles the prob­lems of 12 real women of vary­ing ages and their wardrobe issues and how Mizrahi deals with them by giv­ing them a make-over and help­ing them buy stuff that suits their needs, bud­gets and lifestyles. You also have the added fun of see­ing their trans­for­ma­tion from a drab, dull to bright, happy con­fi­dent women in three pages flat.

Some excerpts of Mizrahi’s advice – “Be Inspired.” “Be com­fort­able in your own skin, that’s the first rule.” “It’s always bet­ter to play up your best fea­tures. In Manning’s case, her lush full lips filled in with a bright red lip­stick and her gor­geous eye­brows are the fea­tures to empha­size. I love a red lip.” “To cre­ate your own style, think about your­self and take plea­sure when shop­ping. When most peo­ple go shop­ping, the imme­di­ate response is to get it over with. ‘Okay, I’ll take it’ is too often the reac­tion, with­out giv­ing any thought as to why you’re buy­ing that par­tic­u­lar item. Instead, stop and ask your­self, ‘where does this dress/handbag/sweater fit in my life?’ If you don’t have a good rea­son for buy­ing it, put it back.” “Never skimp on toi­letries when you travel. Home is where the toi­letries are.” “Style is 95 per­cent con­fi­dence (and 30 per­cent acces­sories).”  “Color is the great­est lux­ury of all. You don’t buy color the way you buy black or beige. It’s a spe­cial day when you buy pink or jade green.” “Remem­ber this: No one is look­ing at your imper­fec­tions; they’re all too busy wor­ry­ing about their own.” And my favorite — “Qual­ity ver­sus quan­tity – if you learn noth­ing else from this book, take away this one all-important les­son: teach your­self to buy less stuff. Spend more money on a few excep­tional, high qual­ity items that you will wear again and again – cash­mere sweaters, a clas­sic trench coat, and a time­less dress. Save up for those half-carat $900 diamond-and-platinum studs. Or put your daily $4 for cap­puc­cino in an enve­lope marked “Coach Bag.” (Do the math: $4 mul­ti­plied by 5 days mul­ti­plied by 4 weeks equals $80 – times 5 months equals $400). Qual­ity wins over quan­tity every time.”

Not a bad book for an impulse buy. A good fun read. Go for it if you see it at Read­ings. ■


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Book Review: Isaac Mizrahi’s How to have style, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rat­ing