Friday, September 07, 2007

Book review: The Little Black Book of Style

Dear Nina Garcia,

Let's just get this out of the way: I'm in awe of you. As Fashion Director of ELLE magazine and a judge on Project Runway, you define fabulousness. You ooze it.

So when Parent Bloggers Network invited me to preview your new book, The Little Black Book of Style, I salivated. I knew that if I could absorb just one-one hundredth of your fashion savvy, I would be--by far--the coolest mom on the block.

It wasn't long before your cute little hardback (adorably illustrated by Ruben Toledo) arrived in the mail, I knew right away it would fit perfectly in one of today's It bags. The problem is, I don't own an It bag.

You see, Nina, I don't need inspiration, I need direction. Fashion fundamentals. Reading your little black book is like taking French composition before passing French 101. Like trying to master the high dive before learning how to swim. Since I don't have the time or inclination to read the fashion magazine prerequisites for this guide book, I am completely out of my depth.

Sure, you drill us on a few basics, but they're so elementary even I've heard them before: invest in a great little black dress, a cashmere sweater and a white button-up shirt. Don't buy something just because it's on sale. Spend more on a few timeless pieces. Got it. But between working in an industry where image matters and dealing with the reality of being a mom to two very young children, I need you to spell out exactly what should be in my wardrobe. And I'll be passing on the fur, thank you very much.

I want a book that takes the "Girlfriend, here's what you need for your flat ass and poochy belly," attitude of What Not to Wear and pairs it with the catalog-like shopping sense of Lucky magazine (the Lucky of a few years ago, before they went all $500 pants on me). Oh, and can we keep the price-points at an H&M level? Cool.

I want you to take me shopping, Nina. Show me what will disguise my figure flaws, wash out spit-up and chocolate ice cream stains and require little to no ironing. Take my credit card and charge a few key pieces I can mix and match to create a week or two's worth of outfits. Don't tell me Michael Kors thinks every woman should own a pair of crocodile stilettos. Help me pick out a fabulous pair of Michael Kors trousers.

I don't trust my instincts, and a book full of mini interviews with fashion designers and a guide to finding style inspiration from famous films isn't going to get me to start. The Little Black Book of Style is the perfect primer for someone who's already halfway there, a glam gal with money burning a hole in her clutch. That said, reading your book as got me feeling that I need to inject a little bit of fabulousness into my daily looks. So today I changed out jeans and a tee shirt and put on a cute little nursing-friendly aqua dress. And I paired it with... a classic white button-up shirt.

Want to win my copy of
The Little Black Book? Leave a comment telling me about your greatest fashion faux pas. Really want to win big? (We're talking $250 Coach bag big!) Participate in today's Parent Bloggers Network Blog Blast by blogging about the one item in your closet you are most ashamed of.