I did a major purge of my wardrobe this weekend. You see, I've finally gotten off of my butt and decided to do something about those extra "baby" pounds I've been carrying around. (Although I must admit that I think most of those pounds are related more to my love of cheese and all things carbohydrate than any babies.) I've lost 25 pounds since May and I'm determined to get down to a healthy weight for me.
For some insane reason, I've been hanging on to all of those suits and nice clothes that no longer fit me on the off chance that I might gain weight again. (Who me? Gain weight? Never!) Suits are expensive, but c'mon, Lawyer Mama! Let go of the baggage already!
Anyway, this clothing purge was inspired by Nina Garcia's The Little Black Book of Style that I read for PBN. Nina Garcia. From Project Runway? And fashion director for Elle magazine? Yes, that Nina Garcia! Of course, I am borderline obsessed with Project Runway, so I jumped at the chance to read the book.
The book itself is a cute little black hardback with stylish silver and hot pink accents. Tres chic, of course. There are colored illustrations throughout the book by Ruben Toledo, an artist married to fashion designer Isabel Toledo. The illustrations, and the fashion ideals they depict, are fantastic, aside from the fact that all of the women illustrated are stick thin. But because I believe the drawings are intended to depict fleshed out fashion sketches, it makes sense and really adds something to the book.
Now let's talk about content. The book is a quick read; there are only six chapters. My favorites were the first three chapters, titled "Be Your Own Muse," "The Basics," and, "Inspirations." The first several chapters emphasize how a woman can be stand out with fashion instead of being a slave to the latest trends, how to build the bones of a great wardrobe, and depict the relationship between fashion, style, and art. But Ms. Garcia emphasizes that the first, and most important, accessory for every woman is confidence.
Now, I love clothes. I
can't always can never afford to buy designer clothes, but I do frequently occasionally indulge in my first love - the purchase of shoes. I'm no Imelda Marcos, but I've found that wearing an absolutely adorable pair of red pumps can invigorate a somewhat boring black suit. Ms. Garcia seemed to reinforce the idea that I'm on the right track, so I loved the book even more. I mean who doesn't like to have their completely uninformed decisions approved by a style maven?
Now this book certainly doesn't have all the answers. What I didn't like were the interviews with those in the fashion industry. They all seemed to parrot vague, amorphous answers in response to thoughtful questions, questions many women would love to have answered. At one point Ms. Garcia asks Roberto Cavalli the key to wearing animal prints. His answer? "Look for your natural inner animal magnetism. Be confident and have fun with fashion." Nope, not a real answer. I'm not really sure how to channel a leopard, but if anyone knows, please clue me in.
The Little Black Book of Style did give me some ideas about how to add some absolutely fabulous pieces to my wardrobe to make it uniquely me. Every now and then we all run across a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes that are amazing. You know the piece. People are always asking you where you got that great skirt/pair of earrings/beaded bag. When you wear it you walk taller and straighter, your hips sway a bit and you feel amazing. Ms. Garcia gives us permission to make that confidence and those amazing pieces the center of our wardrobes. After all, confidence never goes out of style.