Book Review: The Truth About Style

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Recently, I read the book The Truth About Style by Stacy London of What Not to Wear fame and it really spoke to me.

For years I’ve not really loved what I had to wear, I was also not interested in investing time and money in being more fashionable because it didn’t seem like it fit with my values of being frugal, sustainable, and authentic. All of this is what Stacy London writes about in her book The Truth About Style.

Stacy shares her own story, as well as the stories of nine other representative volunteers. They talk about their lives, their relationship with their bodies, confidence, and style, and then Stacy gives a “prescription” to help re-boot their style. However, the book is about a LOT more than that, because Stacy dives into why so many women struggle with something as simple as dressing ourselves, why dressing ourselves in a way that promotes confidents and shares our authentic selves matters, and, of course, shares some tips for doing just that. Reading this book helped me articulate why my own style journey has been so transformative.

Now, the fact that I even picked up this book may surprise practically anyone who has ever known me. My interest in style and fashion has mostly been in comfort and utility. In college, where I was constantly a fish out of water on a fairly fashionable campus, one of my best friends told me she admired the fact that I dressed for comfort not style – a sort of backhanded compliment if you will.

However, it was only recently that I realized that this approach wasn’t really working for me. A few months ago, I started to realize that I had hardly any clothes that I felt really comfortable and confident in. Whenever I did find an outfit I liked, I’d wear it over and over again and then still be out of things to wear in between each laundry day. Last year, I lost about 20 pounds and so on top of not really liking any of my clothes, none of them fit.

So, I decided I needed to find my own personal style. I tried looking at fashion blogs, or at things people had pinned on pinterest, but I felt overwhelmed. I really wanted to get to something that was very authentically ME, but had no idea how to do that, or how to tell what else I needed in my wardrobe. So, I waited. I talked with people and asked questions about how they dressed, and I kept an eye out for things that I liked. I also started saving some money knowing that when I was ready to act, I was going to invest in myself and spend some money to get to a place where I, like one of my favorite bloggers, could have a closet with only 10s. Then, one of those magic-universe-talking-to-you things happened, when this post came up on Off-Beat Home and Life. The article itself had some useful nuggets, but it was the comments that blew me away. Tons of suggestions to watch What Not To Wear and check out another book by Stacy London and her co-host, Clinton Kelly for tips. These were not some fashion lovers making these suggestions, but other people like me who had felt at a loss and then found this helpful.

I started watching What Not To Wear and then COULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT TO EVERYONE. I was amazed by what a difference the clothes made not only in how a person looked but also in how they were able to communicate their personalities to the world. I also realized that a big part of my problem was that I didn’t know how to find clothes that fit and flattered my body type. So I read the book, Dress Your Best, and set up an appointment with a Nordstrom Personal Stylist. I got a new haircut and let the stylist do whatever she wanted (best haircut I’ve ever had). Since then, I’ve been learning a lot about what I do and don’t like and have started getting towards my own closet of 10’s.

But I still couldn’t understand why I felt so happy about something as simple as clothing – until I read The Truth About Style. Stacy does a great job talking about what style communicates, how it’s different from fashion, and how it can actually empower people. Then I realized – I can’t stop talking about it because I feel empowered and didn’t have the language to explain that! I highly recommend The Truth About Style to anyone interested in thinking more about style. 

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