Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Little Black Book of Style

Yes, it’s true, I wore three outfits in one afternoon.

1. A cool little sleeveless bathing-suit-cover-up-looking thing (that is all the rage, I swear) over dark jeans with my super cool new Superhero necklace and super pumps. With my hair pulled back in two knotted up and tucked under pigtail bun things. Very artsy. Very cool. Very much how I wanted to feel at the preschool mom’s coffee gathering. So when anyone wonders why I haven’t done my assigned scrapbook pages (from last year), it’s because I’m artsy and can’t be confined by deadlines. Not because I’m the suit working mom who thinks she’s too busy (and who doesn’t love her children enough) to do the scrapbook pages. See? Working mom image crisis averted with one simple outfit.

2. Suit.

3. Jeans and tee to have dinner at family friendly restaurant. Because suits and kids’ menus don’t mix. Ask anyone.

Even as all the costume changes were happening (just call me Cher), I felt ridiculous. And then, I thought. What would Nina do in the situation? Lucky for me I now have the answer to this (and many other) question(s) in The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia, the latest Parent Bloggers Network goodie I received in the mail.

“This book will change your life. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. Maybe it won’t change your life. But it will change your closet, which will in turn change your attitude, which can in fact change your life. So maybe it’s not a bit dramatic. You be the judge.”
- Nina Garcia

The little black book (which is literally a smallish black book) is itself as stylish as anything else on my bookshelf. So much so, I think it’s starting its own clique that the Jane Greens, Sophie Kinsellas and Candace Bushnells would all gladly give up their dust jackets to get in (while the Sylvia Plaths and Virginia Woolfs are scowling in the corner, Anne Lamott is just annoyed it doesn’t have a chapter on Northern California, and Ayn Rand thinks I’m an idiot.)

More importantly, and back to the most popular book on the shelf, it promises to help build your style confidence and awake the fashion editor in you. Nina is a fashion editor after all. So she should know.

And she apparently does.

Because what follows is the smartest, sleekest, and most inspiring look at unique looks and creative expression that I’ve seen.

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she’s beautiful."
-Sophia Loren

The first chapter is “Be Your Own Muse” which essentially made me want to channel Holly Golightly and dress with heart, soul and creative energy. I’m sure it has a different effect for everyone. Since each muse is different. And all.

The next bit talks about fashion rules. "The Basics." Some are fairly predictable. (Invest in essential staples, etc.) But some are not.

Because her ‘staples’ are fantastic and might even include a Hermes Birkin, and really, how can you argue with that crackpotastic logic? I for one can not. But despite that little distraction which sent me searching online for the best discount designer handbag websites (email me, I’ll forward them to you), the first and the overall theme to me was learn how to edit. She then goes into specifics about how to do this. I can not express how much I love this concept. As someone who lives in a house built in 1928 with a closet that is approximately 1928 millimeters wide, I completely appreciate and connect with the idea of editing. What’s more, her process is brilliant. I can’t wait to put it in action.

She then moves into “Inspirations” and gives you a number of film, music and art suggestions to get you going. Then follows that up with a Lot of “What to Wear When” ideas. And finishes off with “Insider Tricks and Tips.”

And what’s great is, it’s all packaged in a great outfit.

"One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art."
- Oscar Wilde

Love the illustrations. Love the typographic treatments. This little book of style is a little work of art. Even my art director colleagues were raving.

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, my advice is, you should invest in yourself by investing in this little book. It will lift your spirits to consume it. For yourself. For your best friend. For your other best friend. In fact, this is my staple gift I’m giving for every fantastically wonderful friend’s birthday party I’m attending over the next year or so. Seriously.

My favorite part. The book is full of smart, relevant, quirky quotes and quips from everyone you could imagine. They’re all true stand-outs, graphically and topically. And in the end, they all come back to being yourself, no matter what they say (Sting). Nina Garcia knows this, and she wears it with style.

Plus she’s obviously brilliant.

“You can never have enough high heels. You just can’t.”
- Nina Garcia

Did I mention how much I love this book?

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!! Because I love you, I'm giving one copy of this to an extremely lucky winner. Just leave a comment here between now and Sunday night at midnight CST and you're registered. And as always, I really hope you win.


And while you're in the mode, check out sk*rt's Up-and-Coming Eliza magazine giveaway. Because voting is the new black.


Corey said...

I could definitely use this book!

Lesha said...

Great contest! :)

ikkinlala said...

This sounds like a useful book.

laurie said...

i have no style anymore. i need nina.

marlene72 said...

pick me! i'd love to have this book!

CosmoPolitician said...

hmmm, does the book specify how to squeeze my size 10 back into my size 6 jeans? because THAT would be fantastic. :-)

Super Zoe said...

I want that book for the Toledo pictures! However, I cannot be selfish and ask for it. That's my job; I shouldn't need the book. Give it to someone pleading and fabulous.

(You're all fabulous! You know that right?! You are!)

Mrs. Swizzle said...

Style? My style is currently way too far into the mother of two, carpooling in a mini-van mode. I need a light at the end of the tunnel leading me out!

Great contest!

Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

I'm all about editing words. Now if only I could employ the same sense to my wardrobe! Must. Get. This. Book.

Queen Scarlett said...

I need a black book make-over. After all this is the year I'm mixing it up... and inspired by you snappy blogger ladies.

kpaull said...

I SOOOO need this book. I am having a closet crisis right now, and hope to amend some of my issues in the Big Apple soon!

Jim said...

My daughter would love this book.

Tere said...

Funny, I recently did a post about what a kickass stylist I'd make, but how badly I put myself together.

{Sigh} I could blame motherhood for my tackiness, but it's always been there.

I'm just too exhausted to notice it as much.

all about diggy said...

how does any mother with a toddler have style? anything "nice" i wear ends up full of smears of food, dirt or other unmentionables...

compulsive writer said...

I changed outfits twice today but only because I managed to splash chili on two--count them two white shirts after the mad dash home from work to whip up chili for a cook-off at my kids' high school. (In other words I should've changed first!)

Anyway, I love a good book, especially a pretty little black one.

Rockel said...

Have lost ALL sense of style staying at home with two bambinos and have NO cool influences out here in DEEP suburbia. HELP. NEED BOOK!

mamalang said...

I love Nina...would love to read the book.

olga9999 said...

I'm in so much need of a makeover that I spend more time researching how to change my look than actually doing it. LOL Does that count as very needy of that book or am I such a desperate case that not even the book would make this frog into a princess?

Thanks for the giveaway in anycase, and best wishes.:O)

Blue Orchid Designs said...

this book looks awesome, thanks for sharing. I will have to pick it up!

Jewels said...

I think we could all use this... and love the title