By Fareeha Qayoom
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.
Nowadays, 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. ■